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.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 27th: Not flying cars again?

No matter what you think, this pic was never going to be the way of the future. First off, few people seem to smoke pipes anymore. Secondly, even fewer people seem to be wearing suits and ties. And finally, it would be too hot under that dome, even with space age air conditioning. So, I think we can safely put the myth of flying cars to rest (at least ones that look like this one). But can we? I wish that were the case.

Aren't they trying to regulate drones, so that there won't be thousands upon thousands of them flying around delivering books and pizzas? So, what's with the idea of flying cars? Would they be any less dangerous? Whatever, but companies are still trying to develop the affordable flying car. Witness last week's Paris Air Show, when two companies showed up with cars that flew.

AeroMobil.......a cool looking plane, that with some folding wings and extending wheels, becomes a........


.......wait for it......a dorky looking car........


Give me strength, folks. Just what we need, a few of these roaming the highways and biways of our cities and towns. Lousy on the road and a menace in the skies. Think about trying to park this baby. You want humour? Read the company's prospectus for their flying mobile. It decribes having a meeting in LA, running late and having to get to another one in a short period of time. Jump in your AeroMobil, spread those wings and look at me, I'm flying. You arrive on time and that important business deal is consumated. What if there is tons of traffic and you can't get a run? How do you take off then?

Even way back when, futurists dreamt of a flying car in every driveway and even way back then, it was a bad idea, but it looked good on the covers of those old science and mechanics mags.......


Great idea? Sure, right up there with self cleaning litter bins for cats. Not sure why self driving cars are becoming the way of the future these days, but compared to flying cars, they seem very sensible. And they stay on the ground! Oops! What am I thinking? Maybe a self driving flying car, will be the way of the future? Gee, I didn't mean to give them any more dumb ideas.

AeroMobil was not the only company with flying car dreams at Paris. Vaylon had their very unusual Pegasus on display........


Now, I've looked at this car from many different angles and I still can't figure out how it gets off the ground. Landing? Every pic I've seen shows it with a parachute, so what does that tell you? Load up the entire family, we're flying to Florida this year! Words heard over Georgia........"Johnny, did you remember to pack the parachute?"

If I had my way, this would be the only flying car, that we'd ever see......



......and that would be in our nightmares.

Now, I'm not a religious person, but if this keeps up, I'm going to go to bed every night praying for the day, when the flying car idea is grounded once and for all.

Until next time.......




Friday, June 23, 2017

June 23: Hussain Albagali?

Another mega lottery winner, who is pissed that he missed out on that one off $13M Roller from a couple of weeks back. Another winner, who is wondering how they'll be able to stand out in their hood, where Mercedes, Audi's and BMW's are as common as K cars were thirty years ago. Never fear, as there is always a designer somewhere who'll take your money and come up with something special to help you to stand out from your beer guzzling buddies.

You might be thinking that a Rolls-Royce could do the trick, but your neighbour has two of them, so a special paint job might help.......


Too strange and low class, even if that paint job cost more than your friends' hovels. Moving right along, would this Jeep/Ram truck hybrid turn a few people's heads, as you cruised by oozing low class and wealth?


Certainly is different, in a very strange sort of way. But who would design such a thing? Who would put their name to such an unusual conveyance (I don't know what else to call it). Well folks, that person is Hussain Albagali. Of course, you've never heard of him. He works his strange magic in the Middle East, where those wild and crazy oil sheiks will buy anything, that nobody else has (and maybe in the case of this thing, for good reason).

What else has this London trained designer brought to the table or in his case, the street? First off, here is the original of what ended up as that white curiosity above........


Followed up by another treatment for a track bound Rolls-Royce Ghost......... 


Yes, I know, nobody has ever asked for this sort of car, but design one, build it and someone from that sandy area of the planet will show up with a bag full of gold. Not unusual enough? Then try this next design concept.....


Might be just what your hood needs to brighten it up. Question of the day......what is the basis of this.....whatever? Note the unusual use of the gold trim, as a way of making a statement about your wealth, without coming right out and saying it.

What makes this Hussain Albagali guy credible? Who has he done work for? Glad you asked........


And what police force would be complete without a rather conservative Bimmer 6 Series Gran Coupe, but with a very attractive Albagali paint scheme? Of course, the answer is the Dubai force, but based on what they usually drive, this BMW is small and cheap potatoes.

So, who else has used Hussein's unusual talents? Of course, the military and what better way to scare off the enemy than with this, whatever it is.........


......or my favorite, which looks kind of like a very well armoured and huge firepower equipped, bulldozer......


Just the thing to rip up the land, as your invasion force follows in its tracks. Better to be behind this thing than in front of it.

But my very favorite of Hussain Albagali's weird creations has just been unveiled. For our newly wealthy lottery winner, who can't make up their mind about whether they want or need a sporty car or whether a big pick-up would be better. What to do, folks?

 The answer? Join them, of course........



Yes sir, I agree, what better vehicle, than a Mustang grafted on to a Ram truck platform? Funny, this is not something that I would have considered and after seeing it, I realize why.

That creative rascal, Hussain Albagali, has tapped on to a ready market for his ultra imaginative designs. Livin' the dream? He sure is in my book. Have the fun of thinking the unthinkable and then having someone pay you to create it in real life. So, back to my mega lottery winner, it's time to get a very special one of one
something. Show those Roller owners what can be done with real money. Hussain Albagali is but an email away.......hussain@albagali.com. You're welcome.

Until next time......



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 20: A new/old VW

Ah, the good ol' days. Those days starting from the late 1930's and going thru to the early 2000's. That is a very long run for good ol' days, but the car on the right did just that. Remember the VW Beetle? Stupid question. That car hung out on every street corner, everywhere in the world and when it stopped doing that, it still found a home and a production line in Mexico. So popular was this people's car, that VW moved the motor to the front and brought it back as the New Beetle. Just a little bit of history to put this blog into perspective.

Remember this........


An old Microbus from the '50's, restored to the nines and run across the block at the famous Barrett-Jackson auction. That $10K figure was a starting bid, as this anomaly(?) ran up to about $115K USD before the hammer fell. Sure, folks seemed to remember them fondly, but this may have gotten a few marketing types to thinking, 'What if?".

Maybe this could be the new New Beetle? Maybe VW could take another run at nostalgia and do an updated version of these old hippie vans, that rusted away into the sunset?


Sure, they teased us with a couple of concepts. You know, the inexpensive way to test the waters before diving in. Seems they struck a cord with folks.

What to do, what to do?

Then VW did the unthinkable, they lied. They told us its diesels didn't polute. Shame on them, as it was found that they did. So, all that cheating and lying cost billions and kicked the diesel out the door and down the block, probably never to grace a VW engine bay again.

What to do, what to do?

Well, folks, VW didn't get to be the numero uno car company in the world by being fools (the diesel debacle not withstanding). Diesel's dead, let's go electric. Good thinking or at least timely thinking, as electric cars seem to be worshipped as the saviour of our crazy, mixed up world. And what better way to really get people's attention than by making an electric that would really stand out?

Yes, of course, bring back the Microbus.......


Only make it as an electric, like Toyota has only made the Prius as a hybrid. Brilliant? I don't know. I just sell cars and write a blog, but the thinking seems reasonable to me. Cute sells (Kia Soul, please take a bow). Nostalgia sells. Electric sells. Seems like a good receipe for success.

Viola', behold the 2020(?) VW electric van........



Whatever it will be called, VW has given this little gem the green light. Note all those old Microbus design cues, like the BIG VW logo at the front and that unique tutone paint scheme. In '50's colours, naturally. Yes folks, all it's lacking are those useless old bumpers, that back in the day may have protected the Microbus from flying insects and not much else. Could they be offered as an option, like running boards?

What's missing to complete the picture? A diesel engine, but we've just been thru that.

Rising from the ashes like the legendary Phoenix, the old Microbus is new again and ready to serve tree huggers everywhere.

Until next time.......


Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16: A different Pontiac

There she is, the famous in her own mind, Car Modeling Cat, the CMC. The dear little furball and I just finished making a model of one of my favorite old cars. A car that is generally disregarded by fans of the recently guillotined Pontiac brand. The year was 1960 and when the new models were introduced, surprise, surprise the 1960 Pontiac was a complete departure from the year before. Unusual in that designs typically had a two year life span and the 1959 model had been totally new. By the way, totally new in those days generally meant it, at least in terms of the body design.

Come September of 1959, this is what came out from under the wraps at Pontiac dealers across North America......


  If only those cars back then were as wide as they were depicted in the ads, we wouldn't need suvs with seating for seven. Just throw all-wheel drive under the car and load 'em up, Poncho.

Anyway, I always liked this car, although I'm probably in the minority. The year before the front grille was split, which unknowingly started a Pontiac tradition........

.........which was skipped for the '60 model year, before becoming Pontiac's signature front end until the brand's demise in 2008. Why the '60 wasn't split? Who knows, but the answer is no doubt hidden away on some site on the internet.

Back to the model the CMC and we just completed.......




Picture perfect right down to the gold Bonneville script on the front grille. I mentioned the width in the ads, but some other dimensions were also extreme and were for real......


......like that very long back end on the this top line version. There was the better proportioned and less expensive Catalina, which fit only a six pack of bodies in the trunk, unlike this Bonneville, in which one could load a full dozen.


Do you know how hard it is wandering around our apartment building looking for the appropriate place to photograph these finished models? Believe me, when I tell you, sometimes it is frustrating (tough life?).

For 1959 Pontiac introduced a wheel option that was also to become a Pontiac signature piece. That was the famous 8 lug wheel, which the CMC and I have on our model...........



 This wheel ran from 1959 until 1968 and is reasonably expensive, if you are looking for a replacement today. Anyway, it's all history. What is important (at least to us) is that we did a good job with a car that we both like and enjoyed making.

 So, there you have it, two months in the making and the CMC and I have something we both can enjoy, the 1960 Pontiac Bonneville.........


 Until next time......



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13: Hyundai Kona - another little guy

Is this where it all started? Good question for a couple of car folks to discuss over champagne and orange juice on the French Riviera. Or maybe at the local pub. Either way, this Chevy Trax and its twin, the Buick Encore will be front and centre in their discussion. As I've mentioned before, the suv, crossover or whatever is taking over the new vehicle market like the kudzu plant is taking over the US south. Gradually and maybe not so gradually, folks are dumping their cars for the suv. And while we've seen how some vehicles like the Honda Accord have grown over the years, the trend in suvs is to get smaller and smaller, in order to cover to cover every nook and cranny of the market. The good news? Most of them are really neat vehicles.

Sure, some like the Trax or Ford's, brand new to North America, EcoSport..........


.......are just smaller suvs, while some like the Mazda CX-3.......


.......add a little funk and style to the mix and if you are a Toyota fan, they have added a heck of a lot of funk to the new and small suv in the line..........


.......and also the the small Lexus suv.......


Could it possibly be something to do with the target market? Another topic for that champagne or beer discussion.

And others are simply classy looking, like Kia's new Niro........


And finally to what today's blog is about. Want timely? This morning in Europe, Hyunda has just unveiled the 2018 Kona, their smaller suv, which slots in below the Tucson, which itself slotted in below the Sante Fe Sport, which slotted in below the Sante Fe XL, which slotted in below the gone and probably forgotten Veracuz. Got that? I thought so, since I write for a smart crowd.

Funky or just plain great looking?


From any angle, I think the Kona looks great and follows in the Hyundai tradition of really good looking vehicles. Distinctive in a pleasing way and although I really like the Toyota/Lexus models, origami design is not for everyone. Sales of the Kona will start in Korea (naturally) and Europe, following shortly after on our shores.

I like sedans, but am I feeling the pressure to conform? Even my car guy older brother bit the suv bullet, but he also has a new Mustang in his garage, so maybe that made his switch easier. These suvs or crossovers or whatevers are practical, look good, can be economical or insane (Jeep Trackhawk) and fit almost every single budget. The better they look, the more I lean towards them. Car handling? Not a chance in the lower price ranges, so that's a deal breaker. But gee, they sure do look good...........

Until next time......


Friday, June 9, 2017

June 9: Lexus Racing: An oxymoron?

Some phrases just don't seem to go well together and Lexus Racing sure is one of them. But, a picture is worth a thousand words and as you know, the camera never lies, so check this out.........


On the other hand, just think about it.........here is a car brand, that has sold vehicles, which ride like magic carpets and magic carpets that encounter no turbulence at that. Put a Lexus on a race track? Wash your mouth out with soap and perish the thought. Ah, but those of you with any interest in cars, know that something has been a foot at Lexus for the last couple of years. Going from a polarizing new design language to a couple of vehicles, which it hopes are worthy BMW competitors.

Models like the new RC.......


And the flagship coupe, the LC500.........

 


Both showing up at the party with those outlandish Schick razor look-a-like grilles, which say Lexus, but not in a good way. I saw my first LC yesterday parked in a driveway a couple of blocks from home. It was white (Ultra White to be precise) and no matter how much I take Lexus to task about their designs, this car had presence and quite frankly looked amazing. The design is certainly out there, and apart from that front end, is quite striking. It had the look that even non car people would take notice of.

Now back to that oxymoron, Lexus Racing. The RC and the LC are the tools that Lexus will be using to carve its way thru traffic, enroute to the win on the track and credibility on the showroom floor. Take that BMW and Mercedes.



For the marketing types amongst you, brand direction changes are interesing to watch. Can a brand make the change from twenty five years of being considered a high quality mobile sofa to making edgy, track tested automobiles? Great question. Cadillac did it by successfully equipping the CTS-V for track wars and winning. Can Lexus?

Possibly, in the not too distant future, the oxymoron will be Lexus Not Racing. Who knows? Certainly the way Lexus is headed these days, the perception is changing bit by bit, so that in the future, when one thinks of Lexus, this may well be the image that comes to mind.......


Lexus certainly hopes so.

Until next time.........



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June 6: 2018 Honda Accord - you've come a long way baby!

 No one would argue that this disguised 2018 Honda Accord is not a big departure from the current model. Heck, it's a big departure from any past Accord and along with the recent Civic, it signals a giant leap forward in Honda's design language.

Can't see past that camo?


Yeah, I admit it's tough, but not surprising, as Honda has always been able to hide its new cars from prying eyes, until they intro the model to everyone's surprise. Wonder why the other manufacturers always seem to loose the initiative to those pesky auto spy photographers?

Honda Accord. Started out as a terrific smaller two door hatchback, a step up from the Civic, and then in 1979 Honda extended this popular model by adding another set of doors.........


And so the rest is history, as the Accord became the go to car for those who needed a little extra space in a car that handled better than a well worn sofa, i.e. the Toyota Camry. Yes sir, the good old Accord became the benchmark sedan, that all the other manufacturers tried to emulate or at least used as their target. As it is with most cars, the Accord grew, pushed from below by an enlarging Civic. Starting out at a mere 175" (4445 mm for us Canadians) in '79, the 2017 model stretches to 193" (4902 mm for us Canucks). The 2018? Be patient.

But back to that conservative Honda styling. It would never offend anyone and its conservatism was as dependable as its renown reliability. Then things changed. The market asked for (demanded?), some style character in their cars. Something more than rolling white bread. Heck, even Toyota/Lexus started to go wild with it's designs (you be the judge on that one) . Honda is not immune to market forces. The new Civic is an example of where the designers planned to take the brand. Well, if you liked the Civic (and I can sure understand if you don't), you will like the new for 2018 Accord.

But what about that camo, Barry? Yes, I know it's a problem, but let's look at a recent concept for the Chinese market and see if we can lift the veil........



You think this might be Honda's new flagship? It follows along with the Civic styling, although its lines are a little less crazy and that back end is much more tasteful.

How close is this concept to the real thing? Maybe this 1/43rd scale diecast, that has leaked out might be a better indicator.........


Why else would this manufacturer make a model and call it the 2018 Honda Accord? A very good question. If we can be patient, we'll know soon enough.

But, whether this is the car or not, begs the question, will this be the one that makes the buyer rethink their crossover or suv decision? Well, folks, we'll just have to wait and see.

Until next time.......