About Me

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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.

Friday, April 28, 2017

April 28: Who will be first?



Who will be first? Ever since the car was invented, there have been accidents and I even think it's been documented about who crashed the very first one. Now there's something to put on your resume. Nowadays with millions of accidents under our belts, there is no special prize for having the first one, but, and this is where I begin to wonder, if there is a prize or something most of us don't know about. Why?

Simple. Pick any hot new car and there seems to be a race to see who gets it into its first major accident. The next race is to see who can go viral with a pic of that bonehead's faux pas. Don't believe me? Let me present this first photo as exhibit #1.......


Those of you with a sharp eye, will see that this is what remains of a brand spanking new Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio gently rolled in North or South Carolina recently. It was also recently sold at a salvage auction, so I guess someone really wanted those chrome exhaust tips. Lord knows, nothing else is undamaged.

Exhibit #2........


Another brand new model and another major shunt, this time to a still rare Acura NSX. So, what do we have here? $50k worth of damage or am I light by a ton? Either way, there must be a secret society, whose members can afford to purchase these high powered rides and compete amongst themselves to see who can go viral with the first big hit.

Exhibit #3.......


Yes, a shiny, new Lambo, that a society member in Russia demolished shortly after it introduction. Now, let's be clear, the rules obviously state that the member has to live thru the accident in order to qualify. To die in the attempt to be the first, defeats the whole idea of being embarassed virally.

Exhibit #4.........



This one was a tie. Two members with million dollar La Ferrari's went viral at almost the same time. What to do in case of a tie? Good question, as the rules aren't exactly clear on this point. Maybe the precise way the car crashed might affect the judging or how many people were there to view your stupid move. Worth looking into.

Exhibit #5.......


No question in my mind that this was the prize winner, as the lucky owner actually managed to separate the front and back of his Lambo and still walk away with their passenger. Exiting cooly thru those scissor doors, shaking off that annoying airbag dust, as they calmly chat with the witnesses. Bonus points for aplomb.

So my friends, you are no doubt wishing you had the coin to join this exclusive club, but demolishing your new Hyundai wouldn't even go viral in your own 'hood.

Question of the day? What new model will be the next one to show up on CarScoops? If we are taking bets, put mine on the ultra rare and new Ford GT........


So far the only action is this stop for speeding and they were test vehicles, so they don't count. But, even as you read this blog, someone, somewhere is planning their big moment in this supercar and praying that there will be enough cell phones handy to capture the result.

Stay tuned.

Until next time......


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 25: Greek oddities - part 2

Ah, Greece, that land of antiquities, wonderful scenery and extremely friendly people. And, if one is a car person, then there are also a few oddities, that they'll find in Greece as well as other parts of Europe. But our recent trip was to Greece, so let's take a stroll thru some of the cars, recent and otherwise that I ran across.

This older silver Nissan Micra was available in Canada, but with a tiny car like this, who would have thought of a cabrio version and one with a costly folding hardtop, at that. Well, for some reason Nissan did and I saw a handful on our trip. Not a great looking sedan and definitely an odd looking drop top.



A year or so ago, I wrote about what I thought would be the new for 2017 Passat, since they had just released an updated version in Europe and we in North America, usually follow about a year later, as is VW's normal modus operandi. Well, this didn't happen, as we still have a rather long in the tooth Passat, well overdue for an update. If my guess had been accurate, we might see something very similar to this in our VW showrooms......


Now, anyone with any sort of eyesight, will see that this is not a Passat. Good eye. Indeed, it is a Skoda, a VW company, but this updated Octavia, seen in Athens, parallels the Passat, so it is logical to assume our Passat could have looked like this. But, when is our "old" Passat going to get its new clothes?

Here's another oldie.......



And of course, you know that this was the ground breaking Citroen of the 1950's and 60's. Way ahead of its time, but this recent model shows how this brand was not able to maintain that progressive style, which made it famous. More recently their unusual, but very cool, Cactus models have once again picked up a different (and maybe groundbreaking) vibe, but as an suv.

And cute little cars were everywhere, like this purple Peugeot 108, seen high on the caldera in Fira, Santorini......


Early in the season, so in the morning temps were a touch nippy (check out how that beautiful blond is attired), until the sun warmed things up to a very pleasant 20 degrees Celsius. I'm sure that would keep this model's fabric top closed until mid-day.

And speaking of little cars.........


......there were lots of these Opel Corsa's running around with blocked off back side windows. This in effect transforms them into little trucklets, as you can see from these two belonging to an electronics company. Neat and economical work vehicles. How come we don't see something like this in Canada?

Over here the Audi range keeps getting broader, as smaller and more varied models are added to their range. One model we don't see and I'm not really sure we ever will, is the A1.........


This almost miniature sized cabrio is no longer available anywhere (maybe too close to the A3 cab?), but there are still a few roaming around Europe. Tidy design and a bit smaller than a Honda Civic, although about double the cost. Check out the nameplate before you complain.

Now to a car for which I have low expectations in North America, the Alfa Romeo, in this case the MiTo.......


In Europe this car comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, not just the midsize sedan and upcoming suv. Oops, I forgot about their sportscar, which is selling like hot coffee at the beach in Summer (you figure it out). Guaranteed, these junior models will never see our side of the Atlantic.

A twofer.........


In one nice shot in Crete, a older BMW 1 series and an older Opel cabrio. Typical of Greece, most of the cars were of the older variety, with few newer ones. Something to do with their economy, would be where the smart money would place their bets.

And, now to wrap it up and to make a connection with my part 1 blog on Greece, the ubitquitous smart car, but in the four door version, which like the cheaper Alfa's we will never see over here........


.......and with four doors, this is almost not a "smart" car anymore. And what about the smart sportcar? How "smart" is that?

Greece, the land of antiquities, many of which are still rolling along those mountainous roads. Those mountainous roads with stunning scenery, that lead to wonderful restaurants, old ruins and for the car person, a parking lot full of unique European machinery. Put it on your bucket list.

Until next time.......


Friday, April 21, 2017

April 21: New Jeep Wagoneer?


Here it is in all its glory, the new for 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Wagoneer, just introduced at this week's Shanghai Auto Show. Yes sir, this is the BIG Jeep that the suv lovin' world has been waiting for with anticipation bordering on rabid. Rumoured for so long and now thewraps are off.

Now, before any of you rush off to your local Jeep dealer, deposit money in hand, asking them about this new model, of which they will have no idea (naturally), let me give you a few more very important details. Yes, this concept is of a seven passenger Jeep and yes, there have been rumours of a new Wagoneer for some time now, and yes, this one will definitely be built. But this Jeep Yuntu (another interesting name) will be a China only model. So we are told. China only? Wasn't too long ago that wording would bring a chuckle or two.

Look at its design language........


From the front to the back, it is right in line with the very latest models from this somewhat revered brand. For example, check out the look of this new Compass.......



You can definitely see the family resemblance, as you can with the Renegade and the Cherokee. So putting two and two together and coming up with five, I think the Yuntu concept has a good shot of giving us a preview of the next Grand Cherokee scheduled for a couple of years from now. And possibly, a preview of the much anticapted and longed for Wagoneer.

Remember the last one? Of course you do.......


It left the scene with not too many tears shed, but as we all know, these days everyone worships at the shrine of the suv and those ancient twenty five year old memories are all good ones. In the Wagoneer's case they must be terrific, since any one in good condition sells for the same or more than it did back in the day. There is at least one company stateside, that specializes in reconditioning these old beasts of burden.

Curious to know how this whole Jeep station wagon thing started? Glad you asked.......


And from those humble beginnings arose the brand, that is probaby as well known worldwide today as is Coca-Cola, hence the Yuntu's intro at the Shanghai Auto Show. Now, all we have to do is wait and see whether my prediction about the styling is bang on or me talking thru my hat. Aw, by the time the new models come out, you'll have forgotten about this blog anyway.

Until next time......



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 18: Greek oddities, part 1


This is certainly what one thinks of, when one thinks of Greece and we certainly gave this a lot of thought, as we sat on our terrace in Santorini and enjoyed this magnificent vista. But your car guy enjoys more than the antiquities and stunning views, when he and his beloved wife travel through Europe. Those roads hold a multitude of interesting vehicles, that we don't and won't get over here. There are also scenes that are, shall we say, a touch unusual. So let's take a wander thru some of the Greek oddities that caught your blogger's eye.

Such as this flock of smart cars seen on Crete........


Keep in mind that the economy in Greece is on the skids and that might better explain why there were these tiny two seaters everywhere. More than I've seen anywhere else in Europe or definitely over here. Four in one easy to get shot. Go figure. It must warm the heart of Mercedes' management, when they travel in that area.

And, of course, there were the ubitquitous Mercedes cabs, all in silver this time and ranging from old, but never decrepit, to brand spanking new. If you look closely, this line up has examples of both.......


In Europe, those Benz taxis are nothing new, but one seldom sees a BMW being used in this way. And for sure, one never sees an M5, old or otherwise with a taxi sign, like this one.........


With most vehicles being diesels, I wonder how this driver can make any money feeding that big throbbing V8? Sure, he might get there a little quicker, but probably not, considering the crazy traffic. Maybe the EU is channeling some extra coin to these guys?

No parking available, no problem, just pull in and leave your car. Only don't try to leave this seaside lot outside of Athens, a little before the others parked near you. This scene was repeated everywhere. No space, no problem. Oh to be Greek!


As you know, Greece has its economic troubles. My favorite line was asking other Europeans we met, if they had come to Greece to see their tax dollars at work (wry smiles were forthcoming). Outside of Mexico, I have never seen so many old cars in such miserable condition, but still being used for daily transportation. This old something or other was parked near our hotel in Heraklion, Crete.......


And don't let that nearly flat tire fool you, as this could be on the road in a few minutes, joining other heaps in similar condition or worse. I've also never seen so many old car graveyards, as I did over there. Whether on the mainland or on the islands, it made little difference. There would be one after another on the outskirts of any town or city. Even non car people noticed it.

All our cities' police forces have buses to transport their officers in bulk to special events, but usually they are not protected like this one in Heraklion........


Nothing special was going on, but the local constabulary had rolled out this wired up bus near a busy traffic circle in the middle of town. Expecting trouble or just hanging out, either way no sticks or stones were going to damage those windows.

When was the last time you saw one of these old Benz C230 coupes in your 'hood? Probably quite a while ago, since they haven't been part of Mercedes line up anywhere for over ten years.


But in Greece I saw them everywhere, along with the old style SLK roadsters. No new ones, but more of the old ones than one would normally see in a bad Fast & Furious dream (and those dreams were always bad). This was an unusually pristine example, as most were limping along, as befitted their age and condition.

Now to finish off, recognize this?


Not surprised you don't, as this is a real rarity anywhere outside of Japan. Seen on Naxos island, this old luxury mobile is a Toyota Crown. This was the type of car the wealthy would drive in its home country. Never exported to North America and I didn't think Europe, but one left hand drive model found its way to this Greek island. Poor pic, I know, but just managed to catch it, as I was watching an inter island ferry depart.

Car person or not, if you have never been fortunate enough to visit Greece, I highly recommend you put it on your bucket list. The history, the stunning scenery, the food and most of all its wonderful people made this one of our most memorable holidays.

The ruins at Delphi
Now back to the reality of working in good old Toronto.

Until next time.......



Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 13: Easter dreams?


It seems so very long ago, that when we thought of Hyundai, this rolling piece of garbage came to mind. Cheap and built to last until it fell apart, which was usually quite soon after its initial purchase, the Pony had bad move written all over it. And posing it against a lovely southern setting didn't add to its appeal or take away from its badness. But as they say, that was then and now is now (how insightful, Barry).

Not quite now, but back in '09, Hyundai's stock had risen to the point, that they could drop a near luxury sedan into their product mix and test the water for people paying well into the $40k's for a Hyundai.......


Yes, the Genesis was that product. Very well equipped and nicely designed to not stand out. Wisely, the Hyundai name was left off of the Genesis, lest people felt they shouldn't drop that kind of coin for a Korean car. Where did they buy it? Of course, from a Hyundai showroom, so who were they fooling? Your non car savy cleaning lady or Stevie Wonder? 

Anyway, time passed and Hyundai went even higher up the automotive food chain with the Equus. Never seen one? Not surprised, as they had the presence of John F. Kennedy's ghost. I'd see one every month or so and mention it to my car guy big bro, "Guess what I saw today?". Good car, but point well taken, if you are hoping to sell a luxury car, then maybe putting your mainstream cars' name on it isn't a good idea. Please see Lexus, Acura and Infiniti as a reference.

Enter the Genesis brand, starting with the G80........


.........and then adding the beautiful and expensive ($84K CAN starting price) G90........


......Hyundai was trying to establish the Genesis name as its own brand. Still sold thru Hyundai dealers, at least for the time being, these cars received very good reviews, particularly the G90. Comparisons with the top Bimmers and Mercedes had this car equiting itself extremely well. At least to the automotive press. That was a very good start, but still the G90 is a rarity on our city's streets. I have seen one. Only one.

But don't count Hyundai out, as the Pony story proves. They've learned and learned quickly. Now they are releasing concepts that are visually stunning........


You've probably noticed how the middle concept evolved into the G80, with basically the same design, minus of course, those auto show doors. Now with the New York Auto Show upon us, Genesis has shown yet another new concept, and no matter how much I like the coupe shown above, this GV80 is the one that should see production first...........


Note how the Genesis "face" is evolving into something less derivative. Knowing how North Americans love their suvs, to the exclusion of many great sedans, Hyundai should whip this one into production tout suite and watch the early adopters flock into their showrooms. Maybe this would be the Genesis that enables the brand to open their own exclusive dealerships?

Count Genesis out at your peril. After watching Hyundai morph into their current quality products and sales, from their disheartening start with the poor little Pony, expecting the Genesis not to gain traction in the market place would be a fool's bet.


Letting my brother know the next time I see a new Genesis, will, I believe, be a thing of the past. Maybe, I'll even call him one day and say, "Guess what I bought today?".

Until next time......


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 10: Never enough power?


Ok, so no more teaser ads, the cat is out of the bag so to speak, but in this case the cat is the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Demon. Now, for all of us power hungry speed aficionados, who always felt that the super hot Challenger Hellcat wasn't really hot enough, this has gotten our attention. Hey, after all, the Hellcat had only 707 HP, when a Bugatti Veyron had over a thousand. Well, yes, there is the question of price and that Italian stallion comes in around 20-30 times more than a Challenger, but heck, what's the big diff?

It's official, not that there was any chance it wouldn't be, and the real car will be unveiled at next week's New York Auto Show. To ramp up the interest, Dodge released this official photo the other day and wisely choose to show its new crazy car in its natural environment, a dragstrip........


Note the flared wheel wells to hold that extra wide rubber, but even with the expected street legal, almost slicks, this will be the typical starting line pic one can expect from this power crazed pony (with apologies to Mustang).......


And yes, those tires won't last long, but imagine the enjoyment you'll give all those waiting at the street light, as you light 'em up. And I don't think this second hand smoke causes cancer. Room for golf clubs? Yikes, that could be a problem.

Now, about that name. Hellcat is one great moniker and will probably go down in history like the Hemi. I also like the sound of Hellcat Demon..........


..........but those of us with a long car memory might remember the first Dodge car to wear that name and when you think about it, it's rather funny.......


Way back in 1971, Dodge responded to the sales of Plymouth's popular Duster, with their version, which they called the Demon, but this Demon, unlike its present day namesake, came with a school marm's six cylinder. Demon? Yeah, well maybe it was in the eye of the beholder and just maybe almost fifty years later, those buying today's Hellcat Demon won't give a damn. I know I wouldn't.

Just in case you are reaching for your wallet to plunk down a hefty deposit, to ensure your being the first at your local drag strip with this latest Mopar Missile (Google it), rumour has it that there may be another version to increase the "base" model's 840 HP to a "terror on the streets" top dog, featuring a mind blowing 1023 HP!!! Mercy!

So burn those hides, baby, as it's going to get wild out there.......


Until next time......