About Me

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 25: Creemore old car show - nostalgia

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be or something like that. But old car nostalgia is what it used to be and that is a great way to pass the time bringing back old memories about a certain car or wishing you had old memories about that car. Either way, this blog about the Creemore old car show will feature those golden oldies from my youth, so bear with me and possibly bring back a bit of your past.........

As you know, I make scale models and have been doing it since 1960, when this Pontiac was new.......


What was unique about this car was that is customized almost exactly like the old plastic scale models were. Nothing too extreme, just add a rear tire mount, custom tail lights, side pipes, fender skirts and spot lights. With those few kit accessories, one ended up with what was in their mind, a full on custom. And being white, it emulated, how many of us built our models, just white plastic and a painted interior. Seems like yesterday, assuming yesterday was 1960.

Every old car show needs its Bug, but this one had an unusual add on. Any guesses?


Yes, you in the back row..........a vintage air conditioning unit? Absolutely. Well done. No doubt you were not born yesterday or the day before.

Back to those pastel shades of days gone by........



Can you picture rolling up to your favorite restaurant in a new BMW done up in any of these shades? Not unless it was custom paint or a wrap. How did we get so boring with black, grey, silver and white in many variations? Like a new Mercedes with five black variations, two silvers, two greys and a white. Wow!

Wouldn't this colour work?


No? Then this one for sure, on one of the great oldies from the '50's, looking like nothing else on the road........


Handling? Nothing like today, but this old tank of a Hudson was the scourge of the NASCAR tracks in its day. Would I kid you?

Then there were the oddities, at least in restrospect, starting with that great screw up, the Edsel with its horse collar front end.......



......and then moving along to another famous snout, on this old Studebaker.......


Those stylists loved their airplanes, as all this one needs is a propeller. And then, moving along to the rear end, like on this reverse slant rear windowed Mercury........


Called a "breeze way", since it rolled down and cleared out the interior of that insidious cigarette smoke, that the passengers were sure to be exhaling back in the day.

Some popular Ford products, at least to me. First off, that huge sportster(?), created for the family man who thought he was something else, the 1969 Mercury Marauder X-100. Even with a 429 (look it up), this beast struggled to be quick.....


Then a couple of '63 Galaxies..........



The second one carries the slant roof created for those high speed NASCAR tracks, where the squared off version had a distinct disadvantage. Back then, they weren't exactly sure about vehicular aerodynamics, but they had a pretty good idea of what worked and what didn't.

Remember a time from days gone by when not all the cars looked alike? From 1965, I present the knife edged, straight as a Baptist preacher, Ford Galaxie........


.........and the flowing Coke bottle shaped Chev Impala........


No one would ever mix these two up, even in a parking lot at night. Different times.

And to finish off, my favorite.........


Why? First off, I love the four door hardtop (no centre pillar) design and this '55 Olds featured the first year for this feature. GM started it and it became all the rage for the next twenty years. Most of the old four doors were junked, as collectors sought out the sportier two doors, so these are quite rare. Also making it unusual, was that it has every option except air conditioning. Power antenna, seats, windows and Magic Eye made this top of the line 98 one exceptional car. Magic Eye? It automatically dimmed the headlights, when it preceived an oncoming car. Cool, eh? Top it off with that paint scheme and back to the 1950's here I come.

I wouldn't be at this show without an invite from our ex-Toronto friends. Look closely and you'll see them along with my wife. No prizes, so don't strain yourself to find them.

Until next time........



Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21: Those crazy bumper stickers

 Ok, so you are cruising along minding your own business, driving as recklessly as you possibly can, endangering the lives of all those around you, when in front of you suddenly appears a car with this informative sticker in the back window. Immediately you slow down and become the safest driver, very protective of the precious cargo in the vehicle ahead of you.

Sure. Very likely. Listen folks, how many of us change our driving style because of this dumb sign? I remember the late, great Brock Yates, imagining his response to this with a sign that said, "No baby on board, so give it your best shot!". Or how about this one, which is slightly less acerbic.......


Ever think that this next one, might be more effective than those two and be scary enough to shock the other road warriors into some righteous driving and protect that little bundle of joy tucked safely into their child seat?


Just two examples of those thought provoking(?) signs, that many folks slap onto the rear end of their vehicle. And in most cases, immediately identifying them as someone you'd rather not meet over tea and crumpets.

Following along on the family graphic theme, how about those dumb family decals, that have found a home on the back of minivans for the past few years? At least this fellow from that Mormon state, is factual with his family schematic.......


Ok, I'll admit that there are a few that actually might be considered clever and not looked down upon by bumper sticker snobs like moi........



Or the Stephen Wright type of sticker, that says, "Be yourself - but not too much." Or this darker type.....


Or those folks who call a spade a shovel and tell it exactly like it is........


But why bother to state the obvious?

And of course, there are those who are conflicted and can't decide, which might explain why this is on a forty year old station wagon.........


There they are, not wanting to offend a single, solitary soul. Or alternatively, have everyone mad at them.

And then there are those other folks who use the bumper sticker to hold together the piece of crap, that they are driving or maybe just distract others from noticing the sad vehicular state, that they have gotten themselves into.......


All sorts of bumper stickers from clever to extremely scary to just plain insulting. But the funniest one of all, in my opinion, which is the only one that counts in this blog, is this one that was seen multiple times over the past year........


Humorous and humourless in the extreme. Oh, it's great to be Canadian.

So there you have it folks, a brief opinion piece on the state of our vehicles' bumper statements. And remember, next time you see a Baby on Board sign, tailgate the hell out of them!

Until next time.......



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 18: Creemore old car show - muscle galore

Summer. A great time to take a drive in the countryside outside of Toronto or even better to visit friends, who live in that countryside. Now, if those friends suggest going to a little town, which is having an old car show on the main street, well folks, that is just about the perfect mix. So last Saturday found us in Creemore (of the beer fame), walking down the Ontario-town cute main street taking in old cars.

Now, what old car show doesn't have a raffle to support some local charity, like Save the Squirrel or the Chipmunk Relief Fund? Creemore's show was no different, although you can see from this pic, that this old timer had surpassed his level of competency.........


It shouldn't be that hard, grandpa. Now on to the good stuff........


Hated this '70 Torino back in the day, but all these years later, love that bulky and bloated design. Make it orange, top it off with a Cobra Jet 429, Hurst four speed and it's just about perfect. Rare? Well, it's not a Chevy or a Mopar, so by comparison, yes, it is.

By the way, this show had more variety than I've experienced in most old car shows, but for today (yes, there will be other blogs), I'll focus on the old muscle cars. Muscle like this very clean looking 1968 Barracuda......


Again, a perfect combo of motor, Torque Thrust wheels, a 4 speed and a huge powerplant. How about 750 HP and 750 ft lbs of torque. This car was beautifuuly done, but never challenge this insane beast at a stoplight. Gas mileage? What is that?

Wish those owners would stay by their cars, so inquisitive people like me could ask them thought provoking questions. Questions like, was this early '90's Mustang an ex-police car? It sure looked the part, done up in all black with poverty caps and a 5 speed manual. Just like many of the American state police cars back in the day. In that era of low power, this was one of the few cars that could take down a speeder quickly.


You like Mopar? Want variety? Ok, here is a mishapen '62 Plymouth owned since 1970 and packing a 440........

















.......followed up by another 440 equipped Dodge Dart, made to duplicate the factory race cars of the late sixties, but as a sedan, not those famous two door hardtops.......


..........and on to the always popular and an auction darling, the 1970 Barracuda.......

















...... in that perfect 1970 shade, Lime Green Metallic. Want that colour today? Order a new Challenger, since they have a few tribute colours on their palette. They even have monstrous motors to go with those outrageous colours. Shades of the muscle car era.

Another rare Ford, this time a '68 Cougar XR-7 GT. Don't see many Cougars, not like the ubiquitous Mustang, and certainly not this ungraded hot rod model........


So, what was your favorite, Barry? Tough question, easy answer. I had two favs, but as I'm focussing on muscle today, this is the one I'd have liked to drive home.........


Always loved the US only 1965 Plymouth Belvedere, so this ultra rare 426 equipped convertible (one of eight made) hit all my buttons......


Obviously a well shown car, since the owner had mirrors set up all around, so we could see the undercarriage (now, who really cares about that?). Trailered to the show, since it was running drag slicks and they sure wouldn't rock if a spot of rain occurred.

Ah, the good ol' Summertime. Great cars in a great venue. Stay tuned for more Creemore coverage.

Until next time......



Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14: Dodge Viper - dead again

Wow what a concept car.......


A true blue hot blooded sportscar from Dodge, the maker of those boring K car based front wheel drive sedans and those "missed the boat" pick-up trucks. But way back in the late '80's, this car showed up on the Dodge stand at the auto show in Detroit. Nice idea, but based on what the company was churning out, a real pipe dream. This car was about as likely to end up on the showroom floor as a high quality car from Hyundai. See the irony here?

Anyway, a few short years later this was the result of the audience reaction and no doubt a few opinion polls.........


Amazing! Almost identical to the concept car, right down to the fact that it didn't have a roof (or at least a very good one). So, if one is any sort of a car person, you'll know the Viper success story. One big truck engine with a gorgeous body wrapped around it. Kinda like if you opened up Julia Roberts and found Martha Stewart inside, if you get my drift.

Hand built in a Detroit factory dedicated to this crazy concept........



Over the years the Viper became a "real" car, but its owners always liked the fact that it was a bit primative and a bit raw. Maybe not the everyday driver that a Corvette or a Porsche was, no matter how big a heart either of those two had. Viper loyalty became legend, with many owners owing multiples. Some with even more than that........


Yes, this is really the Viper stable of a Texas couple. Everything is bigger in Texas, even Viper collections apparently. Give me one good reason why one would need this many Vipers? I mean, wouldn't twenty or thirty have been enough? "I think I'll wash the cars today", becomes a retirement project.

Over time several milestones were reached, with each one being celebrated by the approximately eighty people that it took to handbuild every single one..........


The Viper also proved to be a runner and for several years throttled the Corvette teams.........


One thing we all learn, is that time doesn't stand still. Eventually the Viper started to get whipped on the track and although it was never meant to be a volume seller, it also got whipped on the sales floor. Finally, Dodge saw the light (or the dark) and in 2010 pulled the plug on the Viper.

Of course, all those loyal Viper owners raised hell and let Dodge know that they wanted a new Viper. They would buy them. They would make the model great again. So, drinking the Kool-Aid, Dodge brought the Viper back in 2013 to this kind of sales success........


Notice anything? Considering the extremely capable Corvette was selling around forty thousand a year, yearly Viper sales were less than one week's worth of Vette production. Profit minded FCA couldn't see the reason for prolonging the agony and once again a plumber was sent in this year to pull the plug.

And of course, as each milestone had been celebrated, so was the Viper's death knell.......


Once again the Viper is dead and according to the head guy at FCA, never to be resurrected, no matter how many more Vipers that couple in Texas wants. Screw 'em, Sergio, they can start collecting Challengers.

What's next for Viper? Will it become the darling of the collector car auctions, like the Cobra? Will that couple in Texas become billionaires? Will Superformance start making replicas? Will Trump do something smart? Oops, wrong blog.


But, one thing is certain as Viper drives off into the sunset...........


........it took a gutsy decsion to make this car back in the early '90's, especially considering the source. And it will take much more than guts to ever have another Viper roll out of a Dodge production facility.

R.I.P. wild child.

Until next time......



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 11: Fiat quality?

Time heals all wounds. Now, there is a famous old saying and in many cases it's correct, although I think fifty years from now, Donald Trump will still be viewed as a presidential joke. In the car business, you could apply this saying to Hyundai, who started out in North America breaking the hearts of all those Pony owners. People who loved their inexpensive little rides, only to watch them fall apart before their eyes. Oh, the shame! Flash forward to the present day and Hyundai is a company known for very good quality and strong sales. Time heals all wounds. And now their sister company, Kia has topped a very influential list, the JD Power Initial Quality survey.


This is a survey covering all the vehicles sold in North America by brand and Kia rose above all the others to stand on the pedestal of production line goodness.

So back to that old saying, time heals all wounds............and remember one of the reasons why Fiat packed up the last car they were selling in North America and went back to Italy.........


Yes, I can still see it now, standing on our shores waving good-bye before leaving us for years and years, until that cute as a bug (not a Beetle), little Fiat 500 stumbled into our midst.........
........and everyone forgot about all those Fiat quality issues from those many years ago, running to their closest dealer with money in hand. Apparently short term memory is not just something afflecting the elderly.

Time heals all wounds. You got that right.

So why would I bring that up today? Think about it, if you have the top of the heap, you must also have the bottom. In terms of that JD Power survey, what do you think lies at the very bottom? If you said, Fiat, your morning coffee is on me. Yep, good old Fiat it seems, didn't learn an enduring truth, looks sell, but poor quality kills those sales.

One caveat here, I'm guessing that the new 124 sportscar will have better quality than the other Fiats, since afterall it is in reality a Mazda, but if it's being made in Italy. Well, your guess is as good as mine.


Think of another Fiat company product, the Alfa Romeo and remember the last ones sold over here.......


Gone and probably forgotten, as they were, like their Fiat brethren, just not as good as they should have been. Time heals all wounds? I guess so, since the press has welcomed the new Giulia with open arms and great reviews........


I always thought (and have written about it in this blog) that the Alfa brand's new launch in North America was much ado about nothing. I just didn't think that there were thousands upon thousands of folks waiting on the docks for this car to arrive. Early sales have bore this out in spades. Now something else has reared its very ugly head......QUALITY.

During a recent comparison test with a Bimmer and a Mercedes, the Giulia stopped dead on the track and wouldn't restart. Over the years, I've read thousands of these comparisons and never have I ever read about this sort of thing happening. Alfa quality? Maybe another oxymoron and maybe another of those things that Fiat should have ironed out before getting all excited about starting up again on our shores.

Time heals all wounds, but will it do it twice?

Until next time......