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.

Friday, August 25, 2017

August 25: What the heck is a Great Wall?

Jeep, the iconic brand that earned its reputation during the torturous days of WW2. That funny looking little ground pounder, that could do just about anything that was asked of it. Rugged and rudimentary, the jeep earned a soft spot in the hearts of our fighting men, so much so that after the war, Willys-Overland saw a future for this little gem in civilan life. Farmers and contractors were the target market for this tough little war vet. And, of course, unless the cave you've been living in doesn't have the internet, you know how this story turned out. But the ride hasn't always been smooth. Over the years Willys-Overland became American Motors, which eventually closed and Jeep joined Chrysler, which eventually was bought by Fiat to become FCA. Got it?

So, now that brings us to 2017 and the Jeep brand is known world wide. No longer the basic go everywhere, simplistic 4x4, the Jeep, the first suv, has expanded its line up to cover almost all bases, even to the point of being about to introduce a 707 HP Hellcat powered Trackhawk.

The rest, as they always, say is history. Jeep supported Chrysler and now does a pretty fair job of supporting FCA, or at the very least doing a better job than the problematic, but well reviewed Alfa.

So what is a Great Wall? This is a Chinese company that by 2020 wants to become the world's largest seller of suvs (or something like that). There they are again, the Chinese. Only a handful of years ago being laughed at by many (not by me) for their aspirations. Now, they are being regarded as a respected powerhouse of car manufacturing and development (see Volvo, folks). And what better way to achieve that than to have the Jeep brand in their arsenal.

Currently Great Wall has a few nothing special sedans, that you'd lose in a empty parking lot, they are so boring. Also, and this is where they sell volumes (after all this is China), some nothing special suvs, which they sell under the Havel name..........


And another little guy, that looks suspiciously like a Fiat 500......


No surprise here, as Chinese manufacturers have been cloning other companies' products for more than a few years. Chinese knock-offs often find themselves in other countries' courts, who actually have copyright laws. Growing pains, since this will change, as China's manufacturers take on the world.

Great Wall also has introduced a luxury suv, being marketed under the Wey nameplate. This is its just introduced suv.......


Attractive and a touch derivative, but hey, aren't many cars and suvs like that these days?

And of course, any self respecting company also has to have a pick-up in the line up.......
Speaking of pick-ups, Mercedes has just introduced one and Hyundai's will be here in the next year or so. But I digress.

So Great Wall has big dreams and apparently, more to the point, big pockets, if they think they have any chance of wrestling Jeep away from FCA. Who would think that FCA would even entertain an offer for this steady and big profit maker? But obviously Great Wall knows something we don't. Or, just maybe they are dreaming. FCA could use the coin, but lose out in the long run?

A story whose ending has yet to be written, but don't think it's impossible to read this ad in the not so distant future......Your Great Wall dealer cordially invites you....."Come in and drive a Jeep yourself."

Hope springs eternal.

Until next time..........and since I'll be heading to England for a couple of weeks holiday, next time will be September 12th. As always, my car camera will be at the ready.




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 22: 2017 Mopar Fest


Ah, those good old days, when every car wore some sort of indication of what was under the hood. Sure, in this case, the Plymouth in question would have to be about to run you over for you to know what was throbbing under that '60's era hood. The good news is that there was also an engine call out on the front fender, so you could live to tell your friends what you had just seen. Assuming you had friends that cared.

And this brings me to today's blog. The car above was at the annual and huge Mopar Fest, held each August in New Hamburg, about 120 kms west of Toronto. Great show of eveything Chrysler and of course, the expected were on display........




But how about the unexpected? How about the strange stuff, that ended up on the show grounds? How about this throw back van from those days, when if this van is rockin', don't come knockin' type of vans ruled the custom car shows.


Scary or clever? I went to one car show back in the 70's and just about all they had were vans like this. It's my firm belief that these custom vans lead to the worldwide shortage of shag carpet.

Or, who hasn't wished for a more creative exhaust system for their car?


I couldn't agree more. Put a set of these on your new Bentley or Mercedes S Class and you'll rule the street. Terrorize the local youngsters. Cause old ladies to faint in shock. Got a set on order for the Maxima.

There is a subset of the old car hobby, that likes completely original vehicles, ones with patina.......


No question this old Dodge qualifies. And to think that only a few years ago, it would have also qualified as junk. Attracting a crowd? A few picture takers anyway.

And speaking of trucks or in this case, trucklettes, the one version of the PT Cruiser that Dodge neglected to build was the pick-up. Of course, at Mopar Fest, one enterprising soul showed them boys what they had missed out on.........


Built to answer a question that absolutely no one asked.

Thinking that creativity might have died out long ago? Oh, but you are so wrong........


Need I say more?

And on the subject of creativity.........


Two motors, two instrument panels, two steering wheels, two drive systems, two sets of brake lights, two sets of headlights. One very mixed up idea of how one should spend their leisure time. Obviously this Plymouth Horizon's creator didn't have TV or a library card.

Now back to one more shot showing that amid all this strangeness, some sanity ruled......


My biggest disappointment? Here we had thousands of folks treking around the little burg of New Hamburg. Lots of folks looking in the shops and restaurants and you know what decided to close for the weekend because of all the people? The famous local cheese factory, known throughout southern Ontario for its various goudas. Now that was just plain stupid. On a par with the double ended Plymouth? You decide.

Until next time.......



Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18: The Happy Sultan


What a happy guy, this Sultan of Brunei and why the heck not, when you consider that he has more money than God (where did that phrase come from anyway and how do we know?). Forget what property he owns, after all, a palace is a palace. Let's take a lovingly, longing look at his rolling stock, on which he spends his money. If anyone reading this blog, says wastes his money, they should go back to their Facebook page immediately and check out what people they don't know are eating for breakfast.

I'll say it, this sultan guy is living a car person's dream, but even this car guy wonders about his excesses. I mean, who has Ferrari design and build a special custom station wagon (shooting brake?) and then orders six in a variety of colours?


Who would have thought a Ferrari wagon would look so good?

And now who had the first Bentley sport ute for ten points?


Again, it was that car guy sultan, who had a few built because he could. No Jeep Grand Cherokee for this moneyed dude. And when you like Bentleys, the sky is the limit, even when the design is questionable........



No doubt built for the sultan in order to stand out from all those other Bentleys in Brunei. Hey, you are the sultan, after all.

But why stop at a few Bentleys and Ferraris, when you could have dozens?



Each year has 365 days, so a different car for each day (with many left over) and of course, for leap year, another very special custom built Ferrari........


Never a dull moment for him and as Mel Brooks almost wrote, "It's good to be the sultan."  Even Jay Leno has got to have a twinge of envy (jealousy?), when viewing the sultan's vast collection.

A few secret pics will spice up any blog.......



Just imagine what Barrett-Jackson Auctions would do, if the sultan called and said he wanted to cull his collection. There could be an entire weekend on his cars alone and some terrific Saturday night viewing.

Rolls-Royces stacked like cordwood and ready for any occasion.........


......and remember how the sultan orders his special builds  -  one is never enough. Beautiful, but these customs are only for the sultan.

Now, please keep in mind that this happy multi-gazillionaire's enormous car collection is for his eyes only, so the populace doesn't see where all of Brunei's copious oil revenues go. No, for their viewing, the sultan has had a slighly more modest car created........


Modest, but yet done in such a way as to stand out from the crowd at the local shopping mall. No question that this sultan knows how to be a real crowd pleaser. By the way, touch this car and lose your hand.

Ah yes, the happy go lucky Sultan of Brunei, what a car guy. So, as you go about your humdrum existence, mull over the stats shown below, as you open yet another package of Kraft dinner for the family.......


Until next time.......





Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 15: Hyundai Rising (Racing?)

Be still my heart. Who doesn't experience a fit of longing, when seeing a years old Hyundai Excel and realizing the road warrior potential under its sleek hood? Who said, "Nobody"? Come on now, any car person worth the name knows the history of Hyundai and their ability to make cars, that can carve corners with the best of them. Of course this is all crap. No Hyundai has ever been able to corner much better than a Freightliner with a full load and be about as quick.

Those road warrior comments would better be directed towards the much beloved VW GTI, the leader of the hot hatch segment, since its introduction way back when Fido was a pup.........


Bring out a new hot hatch and every single, solitary car magazine throws down the gauntlet and does a comparison test of the newbie against the tried and true GTI. 

So now back to Hyundai. Great A to B cars. Competent. Good looking. Great quality. Exciting? Who are you kidding. Take the current 2017 Elantra GT........


One of the best looking cars on the road, but show it a corner and you can show it the door, folks, as this one will fight with that Freightliner for bragging rights. Never count Hyundai out? You should know that this company has accomplished just about everything they have set out to do. Quality, design, you name it. Now they are setting out to make their cars handle. GTI beware? I can see those comparison tests being set up as I write this.

Competition? Yeah, there is some and it ain't just from that hero worshipped Vdub. Check out the competitors, that we have here in Canada, from Honda, Nissan, Subaru and even Ford......




And of course, if you throw in the competition Hyundai is up against in Europe......well, let's just say it's lots. But give this company a challenge and wait for the results. In this case, the result is the new for 2018 Elantra GT Sport.......


Dual exhausts? Hey, if you think you've got a cookin' car, tell the world about it (optional at extra cost). But just look at this car. Not a line wrong and just a small touch over 200 HP to back up those hot hatch claims. Hyundai makes classy looking cars to get our attention, whereas Toyota gets our attention by folding metal into unsual, overstyled shapes. Which would you prefer?

So for 2018, this new Elantra GT Sport promises to be as exciting as a Donald Trump presidency and probably much more reliable.

Until next time.......


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August 9: What's a Bristol?

Prince Charles drove one.


Good for him, but what are we talking about? Surprising that at the Creemore old car show I recently attended, there were these two old Brit cars. Surprising, since they were cars that usually turned up at a British Car Day and unusual in that there can't be that many in Canada. But there they were at Creemore, two of them. Two Bristols.

Bristol was and (maybe is) a car company that has been around since the the late '40's. Never making too many cars each year, usually a couple of hundred or less, pretty much handmade. And in its exiastence, Bristol only made eighteeen different models. Talk about restrained output. At Creemore there was an old one and one from the '70's. The company ground to a halt about 2003 and then worked on the older cars until finally closing in 2011.

A trait of Bristol cars was their design, which was usually just a touch off kilter........


Not quite right in their proportions, you might say. Like that girl in high school, with the beautiful hair, great complexion, a figure to die for and one eye higher than the other. Basically nice, but just a touch off.

Even the cars that they ran at Le Mans were distinctly Bristols.......



Just a little different and slightly off. In my younger years, I had a Dinky Toy of this car in British Racing Green. Didn't know what a Bristol was, but it was always one of my favorites.

Back to quirky........



Something distinctly "Bristol" about these two back ends? Yeah, I agree, but take a look at this Bristol plane from WW 2 and tell me that you don't find something a little off on it as well.........


So, they come by their design quirks honestly. Back to the cars.........


.......where else would you think a spare tire should or could go? There's that word quirky again. Good old Bristol.

Famous old car names never seem to die and in 2013 Bristol was resurrected again with the promise of a new and improved car for the 2000's. Like alliterations? Ok, so how does the Bristol Bullet roll off your tongue? Here is that car shown for the first time late last year........


Do you see what I see? How can this be a true Bristol, since there is not a line out of place. Now, maybe the fact that it has no roof or a provision for one makes up for it. How much is an old name worth? In this case slightly more than $400k Canadian. All you tweed blazer wearing high rollers line up over here, please. And be patient, as they won't be coming off the production line like Toyotas.

And now the question everyone will be asking, "Will Prince be driving one?"

Until next time........