BULLRUN 2013 IS ABOUT TO BEGIN!

Bullrun: What comes to mind when you hear these words? Testosterone? Speed? Power? Brute force? Little regard for “johnny law”? At Auto|One Group when we hear Bullrun it reminds us of one of the best rally races in existence. The prerequisites for this rally are the following: you must have a cool or funny car, you must have a sense of adventure, you must have little regard for your insurance broker, you must have a sense of humor and above all you must know how to drive, FAST! This is the 10th anniversary of the Bullrun so you know it is going to be a dusey.

The Bullrun is an endurance rally every year that runs between two cities in North America. The idea is that every day you wake up and drive a stage then show up to a hotel every night and party until it is time to drive again. This year the rally is going to be especially amazing because it starts and finishes in the best party towns this continent has to offer. The rally starts in Montreal and ends in New Orleans.

The Bullrun is a first class affair. Every day you eat like a king, hang out with celebrities and sample the best roads and views the area has to offer. It is a fantastic way to spend 7 days. The best part of the Bullrun (I know it gets better!) is the element of surprise. Each day the racers and navigators are oblivious to what the day will bring until they get to the parking lot in the morning. They get a dossier that contains check point or a land mark and it’s off to the races. Drivers and navigators have to fend for themselves finding the best routes, deciphering riddles, using their brains, and not being hungover. there will be cops to contend with, dead ends and false directions. Everyone has to bring there A game.

The car Auto|One Group is using are still highly classified and cannot be discussed until the car shows up in Montreal to start the rally. Our theory is that the car will be so intimating that it will force lesser vehicles into submission. This car was born in the bowels of hell and then modified by Satan himself to produce what is arguably the best exhaust note in existence. The first time we fired up the savage beast it was next to a flower bed. When we came to work the next day the pretty flowers had been replaced by a badger….with rabies. Coincidence? Or work of the car so aggressive that the devil himself is scared to drive it?

Canadians are a friendly group of people and Auto|One Group wanted to show their generosity by providing a vehicle for Team Texas to use. Team Texas will rendezvous with us in Toronto and pick up their ride. Team Texas is comprised of 3 sisters who always show up and have a car mysteriously appear for them to drive. This has worked so much that they are now a staple in the rally. The rally would not be the same without them. When it looked like the sisters did not have a ride Auto|One Group decided to chip in and get them in the driver’s seat.

Buckle up your seat belts ladies and gentleman. Start your engines. Hide your driver’s licenses. The race is about to begin!!!

Advertisements

Mikey Walk Of Life

Auto|One Group is proud to help out in the community. This weekend we will be taking part in the annual Mikey Walk for Life charity walk in support of the Mikey Network.

Image

The Mikey Network was created in 2003 after Mike Salem died of a tragic death of heart complications in 2002. Mike was a much loved member of the community and in his honor several people banded together to create the Mikey Network. They are dedicated to providing mobile Automatic External Defibrillator units to as many businesses, schools and households as possible. This is a great cause. Having the proper equipment and proper training could literally mean the difference between life and death. Since The Mikey Network has started countless lives have been saved and more people are getting on board with the program daily.

We have a sizeable group of Auto|One Group family and friends coming out to support us. Employees, family, children and even some 4 legged members of the team. To donate to this cause or learn more about the charity please visit: https://mikeynetwork.com/donate-to-mikey-network

Classic Nissan Love- sports car edition

Nissan’s roots in the auto industry can be traced back as far as 1914. The Nissan nameplate was first used during the early 1930’s. Over time this small Yokohama, Japan based company has blossomed into one of the largest automotive companies on the planet. They sell vehicles on every continent and can be found everywhere from the fastest racetracks to the deepest jungles. They can also be found at Woodbine Nissan, located across the street from Woodbine racetrack at hwy 27 and Vice Regent Blvd. Woodbine Nissan is part of the Auto|One Group.

Image

The history of this company is quite interesting (they built airplanes!). Nissan’s have had more name changes than The Artist Formerly Known As Prince: DAT, Datsun, kwaishinsha, Nippon Sango, the list goes on… They have had more business partners and trade allegiances than Justin Beiber has Twitter followers: Hitachi, Prince Motors, Ford, Austin, Yamaha, Mitsubishi, Renault and Daimler to name a few. Some of these trade alliances are still in effect to this day. This is not why you are reading this blog though. You are reading this blog because you love cars as much as we do. Let’s dive into Nissans rich and delicious sports car history. We will save Nissan’s bulletproof trucks for another blog as they deserve their own.

The Datsun Fairlady was Nissans answer to the MG’s and Triumphs. These adorable 2 seat convertibles were originally introduced in 1959 and a blast to drive. The first examples were  only 37 horsepower and the engine was less than 1 liter but the sporting abilities were undeniable. Incredibly light, spry, spunky and basic these cars grew into a 2 liter engine by 1967 pushing upwards of 150 horsepower in competition guise. This may not seem like much but consider this: curb weight of just over 2,000 pounds, 200 kilometer per hour ability, better fuel economy than your midsize sedan in the garage and a motor that revved to 7,000 RPM. This was in 1967. While most people were too busy getting there first muscle car at the time, those who did notice these beautiful imports were treated to one of the most organic driving experiences. These were the first sports cars that were imported from Nissan to North America, they are quite rare and should be worshiped by all for what they contributed to vehicle dynamics.

Nissan S30 is what replaced the Fairlady. You probably know them better as the “Z” cars. These were the first of the cult cars from Datsun/Nissan. The nameplate has been around for enthusiasts to lust over since 1969 with out losing there shirts. These cars were sports car bargains when sold new, part of Nissan’s strategy to gain a foothold in the North American market. Despite a brief hiatus from market these cars have still remained a viable option for many buyers. This is because of a simple formula that Nissan has followed. All cars are offered in manual transmission, rear wheel drive and offer a smooth high revving 6 cylinder engine in a 2+2 body. These cars have stood the test of time with their long sloping hood, sweeping cabin and flat short trunk. They look like and perform like what you would expect from a sports car.

The Datsun Z was the first Japanese car to truly capture the heart of North American buyers who were looking for a cheap, fun, reliable alternative to the gas guzzling, heavy American V8’s of the day that were not as “tossable” in corners.

From the original 240z, 260z and 280z/x-turbo the 300zx of the late 1980’s was born. Never as popular as it’s 1990’s replacement. Yes, they both had T-tops (so cool!) but only in the 1990’s did Nissan ditch the angular styling of the 80’s for something sleek and include wicked turbos! Nissan understands that turbos are like love birds, they blessed the 300zx with two turbos. This would lead to the 350Z of early 2000’s. these cars have always remained relevant and true to their core followers. No front wheel drive has been offered, no overbearing electronic nannies, just good clean fun form a reliable sports car. Today we have the 370z that still holds true to those original roots of the 240z from 1969

Up to now we have talked about sports cars but imagine creating a car that is so intense, powerful and intimidating that your home market jokingly calls it Godzilla. When Nissan unveiled the Skyline that is the nickname it earned through its reputation of destroying the completion and owning any racetrack it shows up to. All-wheel drive, manual transmission, and turbo’s the size of Jay Leno’s chin… these cars were a recipe for fun right from the factory. Technically the first skyline appeared in the mid 1950’s on the Prince nameplate which was eventually absorbed by Nissan. The ones that really changed the face of the Japanese sports car market however are the later R32, R33 and R34 bodied cars built from 1989-2002 era. This is when Nissan decided to put the power to all four corners of the car. Keep in mind that this recipe came out in the late 1980’s when most manufactures were still touting that disc brakes were standard. This is the template that other manufactures adopted for their sports cars.

They were never officially imported to the North American market, however they do show up on our shores as grey market imports and they are becoming increasingly popular to see at a show’n shine or import tuner car show. These cars are a favorite of aftermarket tuners because of their robust drivetrain and customizable suspension. It is not uncommon for GTR’s to make 800 reliable horsepower in the hands of someone skilled.

The Nissan Silvia was the little sibling with attitude to the Nissan Skyline. Originally marketed as an economy sports car, what set them apart from the Honda accord 2-door and Toyota Celica was that it was rear wheel drive. These cars have not been sold new in North America since 1998 however you can still see them all over the car scene. Coveted by drifters for their rear wheel dive setup, ease of use and cheap to modify. The 4 cylinder powertrains they came with can be swapped out for a 6 cylinder  or just ad massive turbos to the current 4 pot! They usually have bashed up corners, no bumpers and sometimes no hoods…. Not to worry though! It is a Nissan! Bulletproof in every other way that your crappy driving is not.

For more information on Nissan’s rich history, drop by Woodbine Nissan. They are always happy to assist in all manner of driving needs. Want to talk about classic Nissans  no problem- they are car people too, just like you!

Happy Mother’s Day

Auto|One Group would like to gently remind you that this Sunday is mother’s day. We repeat; THIS SUNDAY IS MOTHERS DAY, DON’T FORGET!! SHE BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS WORLD, SHE CAN DAMN WELL TAKE YOU OUT OF IT! Now that we have gently reminded you of your plans this weekend we can continue.

A little while ago I shared with you my experiences with my father and how it influenced/ fueled my passion for cars. I was gently reminded by my mother that she is also a gear head. She steered my upbringing but blames the results on my father. Allow me to present the necessary evidence.

Once upon a time in 1973 my parents needed a new car but dad was afraid to pull the trigger on something fun. He cited the oil crises, economy, resale value, shag rug values and everything else you could do to try and sway my mother into an economy car. My father wanted her to see a base model Ford Maverick 4 door sedan that he was interested in buying. It had an automatic transmission and something called the “thriftpower six”. It had green paint- not a very nice shade with cream coloured bumpers. This was the norm in the early 1970’s for a car trying to look good even though it was not. I think he told mom it had power windows as a selling feature.

Dad took mom to the dealership to see the car he had picked out. Mom saw what he was pointing at and said no way, end of story, back to the drawing board. On the way back home amidst an awkward silence they passed by a Datsun dealership. Mom saw a gorgeous sleek 2 door sports car sitting in the showroom and told my dad to pull in. She immediately fell in love with the 1973 Datsun 240Z in British racing green its long hood, sculpted roof line and short trunk. The price was about the same as the Ford Mavrick but the sporting heritage was undeniable. Automobile magazine called it one of the best cars of the 1970’s. They bought it on the spot.  Score one for mom!

Mom worked for the Victorian Order of Nurses during this period and was assigned to do house calls for people who could not leave the house. She happily drove this rear wheel drive manual transmission car year round while answering house call. Mom rarely got stuck (we will get into her winter driving skills later). This Datsun remained with the family lovingly until my parents moved to New York. The car was not allowed to travel to the big apple because during the late 1970’s cars had a shelf life of 7 seconds before they were stolen.

This car was replaced by a silver Datsun 280zx that mom instead have the turbo box ticked on the build sheet. This was mom’s car that she used to carpool with me. While everyone else was getting dropped off to school in wood panel station wagons (predating SUV’s and minivans) I would get dropped off in a Japanese turbocharged rear wheel drive manual transmission sports car with a T-top roof. Does this make my mom a cougar?… I hope not. Regardless she loved it and so did I.

For any mothers wondering how this worked out there, let me tell you that the pros far outweighed the cons. Let’s examine them:

Pros of carpooling in a sports car:

  • You can only take 3 children.
  • Children are limited in their ability to squirm around and cause trouble because there is no room to move.
  • Hockey practice for more than one child is out of the question. No room for more than one hockey bag
  • Whining children are met with downshifting and the spooling of a turbocharger.
  • No cup holders to put food and juice boxes in equals no eating or drinking in the car.

Cons of carpooling in a sports car:

  • Explaining to a child that if you come to a complete stop in snow you will never get the car moving again.
  • Having that child tell their mom that you don’t stop at stop signs and skid up and down hills.
  • Having that child’s mother call you and question your driving habits/ skills.

I should mention that my Mom has never had an accident. She reminds me of this a lot… I’m sure your mothers remind you of that or similar driving flaws that you have inherited as well. Your mother always has your best interests at heart. Happy Mother’s Day!

My automotive degeneracy…

My name is Sam. I have friends. They race in demolition derby’s. I get them cars.

Now that we have that cleared up I can tell you a story of how I came to own a 2003 Mazda Protégé5 with 320,000kms.

Auto|One Group took possession of the above mentioned car back in October. It was a trade in that was valuated based on scrap weight… I bought the car sight unseen to use in a demolition derby. It is a manual transmission, 4 cylinder and a wagon. This car would cleanup at a demolition derby.

The issue was the car ran pretty well. It had power windows, a sunroof, brakes and smoke didn’t pour out from under the engine when it was stopped at a light.. It appeared to be in better shape than my current car. On a whim I had my mechanic check the car out so I would know what it would take to put it on the road. Everything seemed to be okay- not great, but okay. I had my winter beater! For the record I consider gas to be maintenance on a winter beater. This is not an easy life for a car.

Image

I told my friend that the car was not available and I licensed it in my name. That was 8 months ago. The car is now in dire need of a mechanics tender touch. Rattles, creeks, shakes, burps, squeaks all of these sounds have grudendly been tuned out by turning up the radio. Last week the antenna fell off my car in a tragic garage door accident that will not be elaborated on.

It is time to part with the car I fondly call “Rusty”. Much like pets and livestock you cannot name an animal or else you will form a bond that prevents you from doing what is right. This relationship has formed between me and Rusty. I cannot bring myself to let it suffer the brutal, bitter end of “The Fall Brawl”. This is the demolition derby held in Lindsay Ontario.

What does one do with a useless car that they love for reasons unknown? I pondered this question for quite some time. If I was a car at the end of my life what would I want to do? Well, if I was a zippy manual transmission car that had been subjected to a life of traffic, poor roads and salty winters (this car has grown up in Toronto and has lots of rust, so all apply) than I would want a cool send off from my owner. Don’t trash me in a grotesque demolition derby! Let me have fun, let me stretch my legs, dance, run jump.. LET ME RACE!! That is what Rusty is telling me through her rattles and squeaks.

Image

Where do I race such a beast? After some careful research I stumbled upon the 24 hours of LeMons. The cheeky name had me curious. This is the jest of it. Your car has to cost $500 or less and you need 6 drivers, no experience is necessary. Style points are awarded. This is more of an endurance race than a speed race. The tactic is to see how well your jalopy holds up against the competition and how long your car can survive while maintaining forward motion. This is all done on a race course. The course is New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville New Jersey. August 9th-11th 2013. If you are interested in coming or racing with us email me at scomisarow@autoone-palladini.ca

Image

Lets send Rusty off  in style! The car will be fully prepped with a roll cage, fire extinguisher, fuel cell and race tires. More info can be found at http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/

How I came to eat, live and breathe cars. By Sam Comisarow

I’m not sure when my addiction to cars started. Rumor has it that my first word was “car”. I could also apparently name most cars from the back seat of my parents 1984 Audi 5000 before I was potty trained. By age 5 I had planned out my life, in cars. I was going to have a Lamborghini Countach before I graduated university…. Life is so sweet as a 5 year old. I was driving a 1986 Chevy pickup when I graduated college. I’m pretty sure I thought of it as a Lamborghini though, it was as much maintenance as one.

Image

Thats my truck, I chose to paint it that colour in high school. Deal with it!

As I said I do not know where my addiction started but I clearly remember who my dealer was. My Father; Growing up I always liked it when dad would tuck me into bed as opposed to mom. This is because dad would not read me bedtime stories with colourful drawings of rabbits or bears. He would not read me rhyming books or even tell me fairy tales. I was put to bed on a strict bedtime story diet of Road & Track, Car and Driver, Hot Rod and even the occasional boutique European car magazine. Once we had gone through all those magazines, discussed the merits of double overhead cam motors verses the traditional push rod V8 and looked at the pictures a million times we would look at cars for sale in the Classic Car Trader- I think this sheds light on my love for classic cars.

Sometimes when we had gone through all those publications and read any car brochures lying around dad would actually tell stories. Dad would tell me stories about him growing up in a small prairie town and the cars they used to own. Apparently my dad’s first car was $50. When you tell an 8 year old you can buy a car that runs and drives for $50 I think you build a false sense of reality….. What he bought for $50 didn’t even have doors, a roof or body panels for that matter. He told entertaining stories none the less.

Image

This is what happens when you leave me alone to read. The carpet confirms 1980’s

Unfortunately this did not stop with just bedtime stories about cars. The most exciting time of my life growing up was Valentine’s Day. Not because I got chocolate covered hearts but because it signified that the Canadian International Auto Show was about to begin. Dad would take my brother and I to the show where we would drool over all the new cars. Words cannot accurately describe how important the car show was and still is to me. That scene from the opening of little house on the prairie where the girl is running through the field all excited and care free? That is me times 50 and hopped up on pixie sticks and full sugar caffeine drinks. That is still not an accurate comparison but I liked the theme song to that show so it will work for this analogy…. It’s like getting to meet your favorite athlete or actor and getting to interview them. The first time I saw a Subaru WRX STI in person at the car show I think I cried.

We would get lots of our reading material from these car shows. I would arrive with an empty backpack at every show and by the time we were ready to leave it would be so jam-packed with brochures that it could barely be closed. Dad had a tactic he used at these shows to gain what he called insider information. He would tell a sales rep that he is a doctor (this is true) and that he is looking for a new car (not true) and does not know anything about them (also not true). This essentially made us into VIP’s at every car show-all the expensive cars on pedestals or behind velvet ropes? We sat in them. I remember one year when they actually started an Aston Martin up so we could hear the engine.

Our curriculum knew no bounds. We would visit the fire station and a train yard whenever possible. Dad would tell whoever was in charge that his kid really liked whatever transportation device was featured. We would get tours, get to sit in the vehicles and sometimes get models. After age 10 I knew that this was more for dad than me but I happily played along. For a kid who grew up in mid-town Toronto I know a lot about GM diesel locomotives, superior fire trucks and American-Lafrance pumper trucks. My brother even has memories of going to see 18-wheelers drag race. No joke highway tractors lining up and racing each other. I have also been to every new car dealer within a 75 km radius of Toronto, all before I could legally drive.

Everything I did with my dad had automotive undertones to it. Skiing? Let’s discuss all the different cars we see on the way up, and let the kid shift gears! Going to hockey? Let’s check out all the other cars in the parking lot and see who has a manual transmission.  It’s amazing how a parking lot can become a car show with the right level of enthusiasm and a lack of tinted windows.

When I was 12 years old I rode my bike into a brick wall. Don’t worry, my face broke the fall. There was some thought that my jaw was broken and I was definitely going to need stitches. My dad took me to North York General Hospital to get x-rayed and stitched up. We parked on the other side of the emergency room because dad had to see something… we diverted from the hospital emergency room and instead went to the doctors parking lot. Dad had spotted a 1995 Toyota Supra and we had to see it on the way in.. I don’t know what was more disturbing, that dad chose cars over his son’s health or the fact that the Toyota Supra was an automatic transmission. Probably the latter upset me more.  3 stitches later and some ice cream to celebrate me not having my jaw wired shut and we were debating what was better, the Toyota Supra, Mazda Rx7 or Nissan 300ZX.

According to the government and several other reputable sources I am a fully functioning adult now. My father’s influence is far reaching in my day to day life. I wake up in the morning and read all the current car news that transpired while I was sleeping. Then I go to work and deal with cars all day. I sell them, source them, advice regarding them, judge them, drive them and fantasize about owning them. I get home from work and my fiancée graciously tolerate my “what-if’s “scenarios. What if I brought this car home? Would you drive it? ect… before bed I read car magazines, blogs, look at photos and read comparisons. I then dream about cars or have nightmares about clowns until I wake up the next morning.

Image

The beach is cool, but my dump truck needs my immediate attention.

I’d like to thank my dad for introducing me the best career path for a person of my “substance”. At Auto|One Group we are all car people. This is merely an account of how it starts.