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.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 21: A Christmas treat from Mercedes

My dream.........


......Santa looking over the Mercedes line up to select a choice ride for yours truly and knowing that I'm a discerning car guy, the big bearded fellow will chose wisely. Oh, if life were only like that. Any Mercedes that I'd be buying would be thru my own sweat and tears, or something like that. But Merry Christmas from Mercedes Benz, as they realize most of the rest of you are in the same boat.

Let's take a quick look back in time.........


Mercedes brought out the A Class many years ago, so that just about anyone with Honda Accord or Toyota Camry money could aspire to this prestigious nameplate. Of course, the Honda and Toyota were better choices, as this original bargain basement Benz was universally considered to be garbage. Ok, maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but let's just call it junk. But, and this is the big "but", you could be driving a Mercedes without breaking the bank. We never saw it over here, since Mercedes still felt we wanted the high end stuff from them. Oh, and we wouldn't buy no stinking hatchback!

Eventually the A Class became respectable........


Looks like the GLA doesn't it? Close but no cigar, remember we don't buy hatches (well maybe we Canadians do, but not south of our border), so Benz, gave us the pumped up AWD version and sold it to us as an entry level suv. Now, that we bought!

Still, it was a little pricey on our Honda budget, so this is where Santa Mercedes now steps in and gives us plebs hope for a three pointed star in our driveway. Thinking we might buy a Mercedes sedan instead of a pricier suv, they are looking into their gift sack and coming out with a neat little treat for next year, a lovely looking CLS look alike A Class.......



This is brand spanking new for 2019. A down market Benz that resembles an upmarket Benz. You need never tell those no car knowledge neighbours, that this baby cost less than their Accord Touring, but heck, they'll never know. Let them think you won big at the casino. Or, that maybe you are successful and not the cesspool diver, that they think you are.

Wander into your Benz dealer this Christmas and put down your deposit. Also, take along a Christmas card, as those folks in Germany would appreciate that, after all they don't get to be Santa Claus every year.

Christmas is right around the corner and so is my time off, so I wish you all the best for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for reading. Let's meet back here on the 5th.

Until next time.......


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 19: Demon - heavy breathing exercise

300 HP. Three hundred horsepower. Once upon a time that was a big deal. I have that much in my Maxima and its only claim to fame is that it will crack a six second 0-60 time. Big deal, an EcoBoost F-150 will that that as well. My '76 Corvette had 180 HP, my '87 Camaro IROC had 185, while my '95 Z-28 had a monstrous 285. My, how times have changed.

And have they ever changed. Dodge rolled the dice with the Hellcat, featuring a huge 707 HP power rating. Figured they would only sell about twenty five hundred. Well, that figure was soon eclipsed and this motor keeps on  rockin', while finding its way into a Jeep and a Dodge suv. Then this happened........


 Take one Hellcat, add additions like fender flares and a rather large hood scoop and give it a hugely powerful 840 HP engine. Lord have mercy! Most powerful production car on the planet and the wet dream of testosterone filled kids everywhere. Oh, and also delete the back seat and the front passenger seat. You see where this is going? Dodge figures there is only one place for this beast and that is the quarter mile. But they haven't forgotten the everyday driver, so for a little coin, you can add a front and rear seat. How little, you ask? $1.00. Got that? One dollar for each seat.

 Look for the red devil on the front fender, to differentiate this ride from the garden variety Hellcat.


Only three hundred coming to Canada and we snagged one for a very good client, so let's check out the other differences on the one sitting down the hall from my office. First the hood.......


 ......and those fender flares........


......and finally those wild tires........


Note.......no tread, except for those two worm trails thru the rubber. Rainy day? No problem. Call in sick, since this baby ain't going anywhere, anytime soon. There is one more big difference, but unfortunately you'll have to take my word for it. The sound. When this drag strip bound terror lights up, it sounds like a NASCAR stocker at idle. Wonderful.  

With all this power the Demon can do what no other production can, pull a wheelie...........


Now, here is where it gets interesting. Built for the track, this car is illegal as it sits, since the NHRA insists (and rightly so) that any car capable of this feat must have a roll cage. Easy fix and you can rocket down the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds at 140 miles per hour. Go faster than 150 MPH, and they'll make you add a parachute. And this right off the showroom floor and for only a few bucks over $100 grand. Gosh we live in great times.

Got the coin and a desire to act like John Force? Then check out your bank account and call your local Dodge dealer fast, as these performance anomalies won't last.


Until next time........


Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15: Automotive oddities

When someone and in this case it's me, lives and breathes cars, new, old, luxury, performance, economy, street or racing, one comes across some things that seem a little unusual or in my mind are worth blogging about (it obviously doesn't take much). Shall we begin?

How about this new car...........




What we have here in descending order is the new Opel, the new Vauxhall, the new Buick and finally the new Holden. Oops, that's wrong, the second car is the Holden and the last car is the Vauxhall. Who knew? As you can see (take my word for it), they are exactly the same car, just sold in different areas with one significant difference......the badge in the centre of the front grille. Sure, you might see some other front fascia variations, but that's only because I'm showing different models in each range. I can understand the same car under a different name being used in North America or down under, in Australia (Holden), but less understandable in Europe, where the Vauxhall and Opel run across one another on a regular basis. Marketing? Automotive Oddity?

I build model cars, have hundreds of them. Some dustier than others. Wouldn't a tiny car wash be a great idea?

Of course, it would and I'm not the only one with this idea. Nissan uses theirs on a regular basis to test the longevity of different paint colours. Hundreds, thousands of swipes by those whirling brushes will in short order separate the durables from the pretenders. I gotta get me one of those. Calling Nissan this morning.

Beautiful limousine. Used by potentates, oligarchs, tin pot dictators, Elvis Presley and even popes, this Mercedes 600 Pullman exemplifies what a luxury limousine should be. Much better than all those ubiquitous stretches. Nothing odd about this is there?


Try to name a vehicle that hasn't been stretched. Now name a purpose built limo that has been made into a coupe. I could be waiting here until next Christmas and you'd still not have an answer, unless of course, you knew about this Automotive Oddity..........



Looks great and what creative genius would have thought about going the other way with this limo?

And finally, when it comes to electric cars it seems that anything goes. Make it and hope the world will embrace your strangeness. Why the hell not, it's worked many times before. And now a Ugandan firm hopes to bring mass automobile production to their African country with the Kiira EV.........


Quirky? Of course. Saleable? Not so sure. An Automotive Oddity? Absolutely.

Any Automotive Oddities on your radar? Think about it over the holidays and get back to me in January.

Until next time........

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December 12: Stingray ZR1!!!

We know that the new and first midengined Corvette will be revealed at the Detroit auto show (to be precise, the North American International Auto Show) next month. If you've been scouring the web, you'll have seen spy photos and possibly the real car on Corvette Forum. But if you are a casual car person, you might have worked yourself into a frenzy, when you saw this Stingray and figured that Chevy was going in another direction with the new Corvette. Relax, it's from a different company.

2018 Suzuki Wagon R Stingray
Moving right along, the big news before the really big news is Corvette's latest ZR1. Latest, because this model shows itself only occasionally as part of the Vette line up. Originally intro'd back in 1970 for a two year run, this potent model helped to give the seventeen year old some added street cred.........


Then back on the shelf it went, as the malaise era of the Corvette started. An era when the biggest motored model (I had one) back in 1976 turned a torrid 0-60 time of just over ten seconds! Get your head around that figure for a moment. I think a well oiled bicycle might match that number these days.

Fast forward to 1990 and things had improved, so time for a second crack at the ZR1 legend........


Now, this model had real power for its time and a different back end to differentiate it from the common everyday Vette. Before it was officially released, I was driving on a side road just north of Toronto and pulled up beside one with Michigan plates. A Chevy engineer out for a weekend jaunt? Whatever, that was my thrill for the year ('nuff said about my quiet life). Another short run for the model, as it was shelved again in 1995.

Patience pays off for Corvette fans, as this range topper was once again introduced in 2009 with the tire smoking enthusiasm of a mighty powerful 650 HP engine..........


Something to spit in the face of tree huggers everywhere. Competition? Sure, but much more expensive and not nearly as practical........


As perfectly suited to composed street driving, as it was to being a track beast. This new legend was yet again shelved after 2013. No new ZR1 appeared when the Corvette was redone for 2014, but Vette fans are infinitely patient.

Waiting, waiting, waiting until last month's Dubai Auto Show. Dubai? Well, I guess that says it all as to Corvette being (or wanting to be) an international brand. Here we go again with the front engined Vette's swan song(?), the 2019 ZR1......



Time for a few cliches? Big, beautiful, bold and with a rear wing big enough to seat the entire family around for Christmas dinner. Best of all, it's packing 755 HP, 715 ft lbs of tire shredding torque and just look at those tires.........


Of course, if you can afford this monster, you can afford to burn off some of Michelin's finest. So how much? Being a Corvette, this baby is affordable and tens of thousands less than a comparable (performance wise) exotic. Start saving as the coupe is a paltry $119k, while the convertible ramps the $ up to $123k. All US dollars, of course, but even in our lower valued Canadian coin, it is a supercar bargain.

Colour? Make mine Introduction Orange or whatever they call this eye grabber. And Santa, please don't get this mixed up with that lowly Suzuki, when you are planning my Christmas presents.

Until next time.......


Friday, December 8, 2017

December 8: GAC - here comes another one


"GA8 is with lively interior and elegant driving room of Chinese style, bringing the advantage of 2900mm wheelbase and 5m ultra-large bodywork into fullest play"

That's what the ad says, so it must be true. This is the GAC (Guangzhou Auto Group) GS8, a luxury sedan from what appears to be an amazing company. Amazing, you say? Look, this company started only a few years ago in 2008 and they are about to out do Elon Musk's Tesla. No, GAC's are not electric(yet), but these new guys on the block are successfully putting out over 500,000 cars per year with a one million planned by 2020. And now they have their sights set on Europe and North America within the next two years, with a possibility of a North American factory. Recently I wrote about another eastern brand setting up shop here (Ssanysong), so the heated competition will get even hotter.

The GA8 is probably a nice car, but as you know, sedans don't cut it these days. Everybody wants an suv, so what can we expect form GAC? How about this nice little anonymous GS5.......

Yep, I agree, nothing special here, but it's a start and folks seem to love anything remotely resembling an suv. This is where things start to get interesting, as the next suv is much more contemporary........


This GS4 even features the currently trendy floating roof. What's not to like about this compact suv and with a pleasantly lower price, after all it's from China?

Want more, "What's not to like?" Then check out the this mission statement..........

"Make excellent cars for the loved ones and let the world be full of love."

How can you top that? I'd buy a GAC for this and this reason only. Oh and one more thing, they sell all the cars and suvs under the Trumpchi brand. Trumpchi? Any one taking bets on that changing before these vehicles hit our shores? But maybe not, as it would undoubtedly appeal to the Great Narcissist and would possibly avoid those, hinted at, punitive duties.

Moving right along, let's see the top of the line large suv, the GS8..........



Contemporary to the hilt. And again with that floating roof feature.

Fun fact.........for the fifth year running, this brand has topped the JD Power reliability index for highest quality in a Chinese car company. Anyone who laughed about the quality of a Chinese car a few years ago, better starting wiping that egg off their face.

Now before you think it's all sweetness and light with this brand, there is still the oddball vehicle, that the Pacific rim car companies seem to delight in producing. GAC's candidate for this award is this concept,
the i-Lounge.......


Maybe just leave this one on the dock when loading up those other Trumpchi's for our market.

Chuckle over those slightly off translations, but don't underestimate this company when it finally arrives here. Good designs. Good quality. Good prices. And a great mission statement. What's not to love?

Until next time.......



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December 5: Urus - domestic cattle?

Hot. Wild. Sexy. Looking at this picture you can think of all sorts of much more imaginative descriptions. How about wanton or willing or wicked? I bet they all fit, since this is one of the wildest cars ever created, the iconic Lamborghini Countach. Oh, and that lady from this 1983 Car & Driver magazine cover? She's quite nice as well. Sunday school teacher, perhaps?

Countach. The wild child that started a line of crazy cars, all named after fighting bulls. So, what can we expect next from this brand? Before we get into that, you might remember a big and brutal 4x4 that Lambo did for the Italian military. Long before the Hummer and arguably stranger, the LM002........


Not what anyone would expect from this supercar company, but like the Hummer, a few made their way into civilian use. Saw them infrequently in Toronto and they were as unusual in real life as they appear in photos.

But that was then and now is now. What was unusual and unexpected back then, is now expected. Hard to think of any company (Ferrari so far) that hasn't stepped up to the plate and knocked one out of the park with an suv. So, Lambo is no different and now its much teased sport ute has been unveiled before a fawning and wealthy clientele. All creases and angles, like the cars, behold the Urus.......



A fighting bull name? Not quite, as "urus" is a derivative of the old name for domestic cattle. Now there is a switch for this company. Does mean that this Urus is tame?  Surely you jest. This is Lamborghini, the company known for in your face design and performance. To begin with, this new suv will run with a 641 HP powerhouse. Just what is needed to get to the ski slopes before the runs close for the day.

Park your Aventador for the inclement weather and mount this sweet ride. Be one of only a few in your 'hood. Price? A bargain at around $200k USD and I'm not being facetious when I say that. This looks like a volume product to me, when certain Porsche Cayennes and Range Rovers are close to that number and are quite common on our streets. And they aren't Lamborghini's.

Picture yourself easing into this jet fighter cockpit with your friends strapped comfortably in their seats, as you prepare to take off for your favorite restaurant. But because this is an suv and sort of capable off road, you don't mind going up on the sidewalk, but carefully as not to damage those, oh so costly, 22" rims.


A Lamborghini suv? Who could have imagined this only a few short years ago? If this is your kind of ride, then thank Porsche for thinking outside the box when they brought out the Cayenne, the start of a small suv line that handily outsells those ubiquitous 911's.


Think the Italian military will want a Urus or three done up in battlefield camo? Maybe not, but I guarantee that there will be at least one painted white and green for a certain middle eastern police force.

From wild two seater rides to a wild (soccer mom?) suv, you've come a long way Lambo..........


Until next time.......



Friday, December 1, 2017

December 1: Electrifying VW

Smoky old VW and their amazing diesels. Hitting emissions targets that no one felt would be possible with Otto Diesel's legendary engine. Here's a company that built its reputation on the smelly and noisy old diesel. And you know what? They almost had us convinced that this was the motor of the future, until we found out that they spent more of their valuable time trying to fool the tests, than trying to solve the unsolvable.

Now the sun is setting on the VW diesel and those storage lots full of thousands upon thousands of unsellable Vdubs.........


What's a company caught out like this to do? Well, folks, VW didn't get to be the biggest car manufacturer on our little blue planet, by being completely dumb. No diesels, no problem. Seems like the world is looking to electric cars, so let's hook up our old Bavarian horse to that bandwagon. Recently VW has announced that by 2030 they will have eighty electric cars in the line up. In fact, they want every car line in their vast range to include an electric model. Impressive? Optimistic?

This might be another reason that Tesla is going to run into problems and that is that they won't be the only guys in town, apart from a few other electrics scattered around the various car manufacturers. No sir, VW is committing to an approximately eighty four billion dollar investment over the next few years. Get you head around that number if you can. VW is dead serious.

The first salvo in this electric war will be these three vehicles.........



.......a retro van, a small hatch and a sporty suv type. Not a bad start. The little van should appeal to young hipsters and nostalgic oldies alike, while the small hatch will make its mark in Europe and if they can make it as lovable as the Golf, well, watch out. Now to the real sales builder, in my somewhat humble opinion, the suv type vehicle, shown as a concept called the i.d.crozz (catchy?). Drop this on an suv lovin' North American public and stand back.

Great looking from every angle..........



........and to counter the Tesla X's gullwing back doors, VW has added a slider, which might be a first for anything other than a van.

If the diesel debacle was a mere hiccup to VW, although a rather costly one, the new electric strategy should push them speedily ahead. An interesting note is that VW hardly suffered sales wise from this cheating scandal. So mix in a huge respected car company, a enormous investment, an interesting product line and watch Tesla shrivel as VW grows. It will be an interesting battle.

Until next time........