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, January 31, 2017

Jan 31: Oakland roadsters


Some events have gone on forever and others just seem like it. But there is one in the car world that has gone on for a good long time and and the prestige it brings to its winning car is enormous, at least amongst people who care about these things. Way back in 1950, as the California hot rod scene was getting established and the California custom car scene was in its infancy, the National Roadster Show was started, but it quickly morphed into the Oakland Roadster Show. If you look closely at the poster above from the second year, you can just make out the type of cars that this show attracted in the very beginning, while the pic below shows it evolving into the roadster and custom car event, that it has continued to be up until the present day......


Interesting, but the point of this blog is to highlight two custom roadsters shown at last week's show, that prove that the art of custom coachwork is still alive and well in the good ol' US of A.

After Shock by Rick Dore Customs (watch for an upcoming blog) takes a late '30's Ford and transforms it into this gorgeous piece of rolling sculpture, that could have come from any of those famous European design houses from way back in the 1930's. This is not your typical, but well loved, big motored, big wheeled, American Graffiti mobile........


Not a line wrong on this car. If I had the money, would I be looking for Rick Dore's phone number? You can see that this car has gone beyond a mere nip and a tuck of an old Ford in order to create something unique.

Very, very nice, but the winner was its equal (and since it won, I guess more than its equal).......



This is the aptly named '36 Mulholland Speedster and if you have noticed that very prominent Packard grille, I guess you know the inspiration for this custom roadster. Again, another beauty, that could easily have sprung from the pen of one of Europe's best......

Now, customizers have always been extremely creative, usually making a car that was highly individualized, but isn't that what customizing is all about? But with these lovelies, they have transcended mere customs and moved into works of art (how poetic).  

Yes, the Oakland Roadster Show is the granddaddy of custom shows, but lest you think that its original purpose has been forgotten.......


Not a chance, as this show still showcases the very best of the hot rodder's art, which still remains the heart and soul of this famous old show.

Until next time.......



Friday, January 27, 2017

Jan 27: The new Gazoo Supra

Take a long hard look, as this is the new Toyota Supra. Who cares? Good question, but for some reason, the Toyota Supra has become an icon. How did this happen? I have no idea, but there is more buzz about Toyota's upcoming Supra reveal than I believe, any car since the current Corvette. I know it evolved into a very capable car, but I had no idea enthusiasts were pinning for a new version. I guess Toyota is longing to get those Supra enthusiasts back into the fold.

Amazing how a car that started out as a garden variety Celica with a longer front end and a bigger motor, morphed into a car that has been missed for the past many years........


And even the second generation was little more than a longer Celica, but with a V6 motor........



Granted the change made this a great looking car, but funny how greatness starts from average and works it way into, as I said, greatness. I drove a few of these and they were a blast. Gobs of power for a heavy right foot.

So now Toyota is just around the corner from unveiling the new Supra under their performance brand Gazoo. Gaz what? Look, I'm fairly attuned to what is going on with performance brands, after all, everyone has heard about AMG from Mercedes and Alpina from BMW, but who the heck has ever heard of Gazoo from Toyota. A little research, please........


.....and what do I find? Of course, I find that Toyota has been using the Gazoo Racing branding for quite a while. Who knew? Well, I guess quite a few people knew, as they include all their racing entries under that banner. Live and learn, Barry.

So now, the world, or at least the car enthusiast world awaits the new Gazoo Supra, which will probably look like this or darn close to it.......


For years Toyota/Lexus has cruised along with their mobile sofas, but if you read my blogs, you'll know that this is changing and the new Supra will be a big part of that change. Great to see that complacency is now taking a back seat to a vehicle worth being seen in.

Until next time......



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Jan 24: The Auctions

Now, let me ask you, where else are you going to find something like this metal contorted "art"(?) car? If you have answered the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction this past week in Scottsdale, Arizona, well, give yourself a high five or a pat on the back. Now, let's get really knowledgeable and see who knows the kind of car this started out as? Because your car guy blogger watched this monstrosity cross the block, he knows, otherwise, that info would be lost for all time. The answer is a 1971 Ford Torino. The look of this poor thing is not the worst part. Oh no, that would be that it lacks an interior, a motor, cannot be driven and still sold for $5000 USD. A good reason why alcohol and a bidder's paddle should never be combined.

Just an example of if you desire it, it will probably cross the block at one of this past week's auctions in Scottsdale. Sure, the big kuhuna is BJ and with its size, it is a wonder that any other auction can exist in this timeframe. This pic gives you an idea of just how huge the BJ CCA actually is.......


More than just an auction, this thing is an automotive event, always attracting the best and the inane (stand up art car). Going from the typical '50's nostalgia.........


......to the unusual.........


.......to the famous, like Justin Bieber's custom Ferrari.......
 The Bieb himself was there to help raise the bidding on this matte blue beauty. Acting like a conservative Canadian kid, rather shy, respecting his elders and seemingly in awe of the crowds, so out of character. He supposedly wanted to sell this unique ride before committing to another exotic. Add in a Floyd Mayweather Bugatti and you have car and personage royalty (or whatever you care to call this guy).

But, few venues can beat BJ for some wonderfully historic pieces. When was the last time or the first time you saw a Cheeta?


No, I can't think of one either. Expecting big $, this famous Chevy powered ride from the '60's, failed to meet its reserve. Maybe the one person with the big bucks to buy this ride was in the bathroom, as it went across the block. Sometimes, one just can't wait.

Looking for an old Austin Princess hearse, that John Lennon had converted into a, shall we say, unusual ride? If so, then Barrett-Jackson was the place to be.......


If one believes in ghosts, maybe the buyer will actually get to meet John one day.

But, as I lust after the long past 1960's, one of my favorites from last week was this beautifully, simple 1961 Olds custom.............


Simple and inexpensive in terms of what some other cars were hammered down at last week. But, for all those vehicles that captured the bidders eyes at BJ, there were also several other auctions running simultaneously, not with the same number of cars or bidders, but with cars whose pedigrees were outstanding. Auction houses like Bonham's, Russo & Steele, Silver or Canada's RM Sotheby's.......


And note the various currencies, showing one the international aspect of these auctions. Hey, it's only money.

Auctions that attracted cars like this famous light weight racing Jaguar XKE.......


.........that topped the world record for an XKE at $7.37 million USD. Bidders who know their stuff, know quality and know unique. Where is the next time you'll see one? But, maybe you lien towards the practical in your unusual, well, then Bonham's had your ride....... 


Yes, I know, this one will never hit the open road, but at least you have it, if the need arises to leave town quickly before the dreaded apocalypse.

Name your car and open your wallet and head to Scottsdale in January. Avoid the flush of the TV cameras and the crowds, forget your ego and just bid as much as you can afford, to get the vehicle of your dreams. Park it or (hopefully) drive it, who cares, it's now yours.


And if you are like me and don't have a place for a full size car (I know, I've tried it in the past - it didn't work), then maybe Scottsdale has a nice scale replica, that is more in line with your space......

This nice Duesenberg by modeler Tom Miller, could be yours for only about $25k USD. Now, don't tell me you lack the room for this beaut.

Yes, Scottsdale has something for everyone, even for those who have more $ than they know how to reasonably spend and who have questionable taste. Yes, even those folks can step up and bid.........


......and maybe even get that useless art car for which they have been longing. And maybe they can even come up with a good explanation to their wife of why they brought this thing home. 

Yes sir, the Scottsdale auctions have something for everyone.

Until next time......



Friday, January 20, 2017

Jan 20: Inauguration day


I should have done this blog on Friday the 13th, since Trump's inauguration is pretty scary stuff (ok, so no more politic comments). This is it. The big day. Swearing in an unpredictable (there you go again) new president? Nope, this is a big day, since this is the day that General Motors unveils the brand new chief executive's Cadillac limo. The old one, The Beast, was done for Obama and that just wasn't going to cut it with a new guy at the helm. If you've had the least bit of interest in cars, then you've known about this car and its incredible features. So what will be new? Well let's take a look.........


Gosh, even the presidential limo gets treated to new car camouflage, so that us plebs won't see its hot new design. Really, it's not going to be that much different from the last one, but rather than make believe it is a real car, it may try to look more like the Escalade truck on which it is based, with a front end that is a little more upright, maybe like this......


Trump might be the first president, who actually had a Cadillac limo named after him and had features that GM discussed with him before their inclusion. You didn't know that did you? Way back in the 1980's, this very plushly done up Cadillac was called, as you can see, the Cadillac Trump Series. They had only planned to do a run of about fifty cars, but apparently not that many hot shot execs were willing to share The Donald's love of gold laden flash.





Outfitted with all the usual tasteless toys, that these type of cars invariably come with, this Trump limo had one unusual, but important feature, a paper shredder. Oh my, how Hilary could have used that back in those pre-email days. Maybe she and Bill actually had one of these. Now wouldn't that have been ironic?

How much you ask? Over thirty years ago, this rolling whatever would set you back about $80k, before you added your own embellishments, such as a Sistine Chapel-like painted ceiling or some platinum trim to take away from all that gold. Pretty cheap for a car named after a future pres.

I'd like to think that if Donald J. Trump had his way, his presidential ride might have a bit more glamour and glitz, than the portly New Beast. Something that would confuse even the most diligent assassin. Just imagine this beauty rolling down Pennsylvania Ave after the swearing in........


Kind of sums it up, doesn't it? Show up in this and put all those other world leaders in their place, what with their stretched, militaristic Mercedes. Bling them into submission at the next negotiation. Ah, if only life were like that.

So, as we stand at the precipice of this new administration, we can only fantasize about what the head guy might show up in, if he was only given the chance........


Way to go, Donald!

Until (hopefully) next time........





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jan 17: Go China go!

Used to be that the Chinese cars could typically be called a pile of junk, much like this tower of cars art(?) sculpture somewhere in China. I  remember, probably about six years ago, a visit to the Detroit auto show, where one Chinese car manufacturer was dipping their toe in the water by showing three or four of their cars, testing the market for interest. Boy, were they bad. Forget that their designs were outdated, the quality of the cars on display was abysmal. No, that's wrong, their quality was embarrassing. At the time, I wondered why they hadn't sent them to a US company ahead of time to fix the mismatched parts. It's still a mystery to me, as was their sales literature, which had been translated, well, let's just say, "literally" to be kind. Lines like, "Makes you want to kick light hearted dance in the streets", might have been better translated into English. If you are just starting out with your swimming, why pick one of the biggest pools in the world?

Anyone with half a brain (my hand is up), knew this would only be a temporary situation, after all, look how far and how fast the South Korean cars had come. So flash forward to this week's Detroit show and who shows up, but very recent newcomer to the Chinese market, GAC Motors. Recent, like only started in 1997. Yes sir, that is recent. Sure, they had some nothing special designs, like this one........

.......but, they also were showing off others, like this very interesting looking smaller suv, the GS4, which went from this designers sketch.......


......to this in real life.......



A vehicle like this could sell anywhere in the world, good looking with very up to date styling cues. Quality? Who knows, but I'd bet it would be reasonably good and getting better. But no, I wouldn't want the first one on my block.

Like something a little smaller? The trend these days is to even smaller city runabouts suv's, so something like this GS3 is a fitting addition to any new car line..........


Another solid design. Pretty good for a company that in broad time terms, started basically yesterday. But look at what the are showing as concept vehicles.......


A larger sedan, for what is rapidly becoming a shrinking market, as suv's take over the world like Donald Trump's inane tweets. Again though, GAC has nailed the design. Derivative? Maybe, but show me a design these days, that doesn't seem to borrow elements from someone else's winner.

And what about those strange sedan/coupe/sport ute aberrations (BMW X6, numerous Mercedes), that are starting to become a bigger part of the market place? Who would have thought that a newcomer like GAC Motors, would be showing their conceptual version at the North American International Auto Show? This has got to be one of the best examples of the breed so far........



So where do GAC and those other Chinese car companies go from here? To date, we have vehicles from Volvo and Buick being made in China and being sold here. And you'll see Chinese cars in Cuba, Russia and some other areas, but nothing (to my knowledge) in Europe. And obviously nothing in North America.

You know that they are coming, but who will make the first move? Who will be the first to open their dealership in your local auto mall?


Another stay tuned moment, my friends.

Until next time......


Friday, January 13, 2017

Jan 13: Kia rising

Friday the 13th. Always a scary date, so maybe my blog today should reflect this date and in a way, it does. Way back in the early '40's a Korean company started up, but no one paid them any attention, or anything else from Korea back then. The company of course was Kia, I say of course, since you probably noticed the title of this blog. In the early days, they made motorbikes under licence from Honda, then progressed into cars, with models like this Brisa and others.......


........made under licence from Fiat and Mazda and Peugeot. Nothing of their own for many years, and then when Kia did start making their own cars, they had what one would expect, nothing special, as they obtained experience. Unfortunate models like this Amante........


.......looking like a very junior Lincoln Town Car. Cars like this bore the Kia name to mostly derisive remarks by the motoring press. And based on the Amante's sales, along with other models, the general public didn't care much for the brand either. But then Hyundai got involved, buying about one third of the company. So, if you were one of the ones who joked about the early Hyundai's (didn't we all?) and then saw what they would accomplish, you probably started paying attention. And with good reason.

Hyundai has become a powerhouse of great products and great designs. Gaining respect, they were able to hire the best designers for Kia, even those who formerly toiled for the top German luxury brands. Concepts like this Stinger started to appear.........


A hot coupe that might still end up being reality in the near future. Or how about this swoopy coupe like GT sedan.........


With teasers like this, along with good looking and performing cars and suv's already on the market, anyone who doubted Hyundai's resolve to push Kia into prominence, just wasn't thinking straight. Those German designers know a thing or three about cars and what should sell.

So what turns up at this week's Detroit show? A hot new ride using the concept coupe's name and the concept GT's body, may I present the Stinger..........


A big step from Kia, but with one key detail missing, the price. But, what is not missing is the Stinger's credentials, a hot turbo 4 and a twin turbo V6, along with all the suspension goodies to make this one thrilling road car. Who is the Stinger going after? Well, this is where we see Trump like bravado, as the Stinger's target market is supposed to be the great German cars like the BMW 3 series, the Audi A4 and Benz C Class. Big targets. Big ambitions.

Like its sister company, Hyundai, who is not taking a back seat to anyone, when it comes to luxury models, Kia is obviously making this giant jump into a market, that is alien for the brand. Full speed ahead, while they wait for the Kia name to catch up to those Germans. You gotta hand it to them. And, if you doubt that they can and will pull it off, well shame on you.


Now back to that missing component, price. Based on what Hyundai has done, it's pretty well assured that the Stinger will undercut the competition, while letting the car speak for itself. Give it time folks, like Hyundai and their Genesis luxury brand. Underestimate these brand at your peril. I'd say in ten years, give or take a year, buyers will look to Kia for sporting machines, that will continue to undercut the mainstream models.

Don't believe me? Well. it is Friday, the 13th and time for scary thoughts.

Until next time.......