OH CANADA! the land of epic drives.

This weekend is the Canada day long weekend. While many of you are going to be at a cottage relaxing or hanging out in the city on your favorite patio if you don’t have access to a cottage. Don’t worry I will see you on the patio! Let’s take a second to appreciate Canada’s rich and diverse topography, before we enjoy its rich and diverse alcohol. Auto|One Group presents Canada’s best drives and the best cars do them in.

The Maritimes: Newfoundland has some of the most breathtaking views in the country, sweeping panoramas of the ocean situated next to rich and pristine forests. Traffic is sparse; the budding moose population will present more of a hazard than other cars. The roads are very twisty with lots of opportunities to test suspension, tires and your hand eye coordination. Don’t believe us? The Targa of Newfoundland attracts drivers from all over the world every year to take part in the quasi rally race. You will want to do this with the top down so you can full appreciate the scenery plus, how awesome is it go get some salt water spray on your face while hooking corners?! You should visit Canada’s rocky playground in early June so you can see the icebergs at the northern and eastern tip of the continent. The Cabbot trail in Nova Scotia is similar to Newfoundland and just as rewarding, more cars and less moose though.

Best car for the job? Lotus Elise or Porsche boxer. You’re on a budget? Mazda Miata. You will not need too much power, just agility to carry you through the corners.

Quebec: Quebec is an odd-duck province. You can drink at 18, party until 3 am but can’t make a right on a red. Quebec is also known for is beautiful historic cities and quaint townships. The roads are also twisty through the northernmost regions of the Appalachian mountains but offer more straightaways than our friends on the Atlantic Ocean.  Auto|One Group recommends touring the culturally fantastic Eastern Townships, in the fall with the leaves changing, it will also change you as a person. No trip is complete without a visit to the world famous race track at Circuit Mt. Tremblant.

Some of the best cars you’ve never herd of can be found on the road in this province. 2 stroke Saab’s, Renault’s, Volvo wagons in manual transmission guise, ect…Best car for the job? Volvo S60R, Saab 9-5 Viggin, Subaru legacy 2.5GT turbo (those are the only odd-duck cars I can think of). You’re on a budget? Old Toyota MR2 turbo.  Mazdaspeed3 or Mazdaspeed6. Quebec marches to its own drummer, your car of choice should as well.

Ontario: A little known fact is that the roads in Ontario are awful in the northern reaches… okay it is known. This might deter some… for us enthusiasts, we embrace it. Northern Ontario is particularly sketchy around the Thunder Bay outskirts. We recommend an off-road adventure. North Bay to Cochrane Ontario is a good bet. The Canadian Shield will accompany you the entire way, the opportunities to go off-roading are limitless and the people are very friendly. Best time to go is September, avoid the black flies (you’re welcome) and the water in the thousands of lakes you will pass is warm enough to swim in.

Best car to take: Toyota FJ cruiser, Nissan Frontier, Chevy pickup 4X4. You’re on a budget? Old Nissan pathfinder or old Chevy pickup. Both are indestructible.

Manitoba/Saskatchewan:  The key words here are open, flat, straight, empty. I have spent much time on the Prairies and can tell you that if your dog runs away on Tuesday you can still see him running on Thursday. It is flat. This area is mostly farmland and while it may not have much in the way of turns and bends it more than makes up for it in straight aways that last forever. Time of the year to go? September or October during the wheat harvest. The shades of gold you will see are spectacular. You will be amazed at the natural beauty of the produce we consume before it gets to our plates. You can drive it one of two ways, slow and low and enjoy the views or opt for something insane and scare yourself with the amount of speed you can pick up. Don’t worry, the majority of police cars you see at the side of the road are actually cardboard cut-outs.

Car to take: on the fast side of things I recommend a Corvette ZR-1, Mustang GT500, Nissan GT-R, anything with lots of power really… on the slow and low side I would recommend a 1968 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. They float over just about everything and have motors that are laughably large.

Alberta is a very geographically diverse province. To the east it is the bread basket of the world and thus flat as anything you can imagine. To the West you get the best skiing in North America by way of the Rocky Mountains. This requires you to be a good all-around driver. Comfortable with massive amounts of speed that come from the east, and able to hook corners that drop off into a rocky abyss that catch you by surprise in the Rockies. Your best time to go is October. Avoid the summer tourists in the mountains. Best drives?  Take the Trans Canada through the mountains and then loop back down into the prairies. Enjoy the leaves changing colour but be wary of slipping out on wet patches.

Car to take: Nissan GT-R Porsche 911 turbo, Corvette ZR-1, Ferrari 458 Mercedes SL63 AMG. You’re on a budget? Old Corvette or Nissan Z car.

British Columbia. Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the other side of the Rocky Mountains is the mecca for many different things. Hippies, winter sports, lumberjacks and hockey riots. They also have a crazy network of roads that snakes through the mountains. Constant turns, changes in altitude, inclement weather and narrow roads are just some of the things that will face a driver in the interior of BC. We will not get into vying for space with logging trucks, local wildlife and falling rocks, that will be a surprise for you to discover. Time to go? Not the winter, keep the wheels between the ditches!

Good power, even better handling is a must Porsche Cayman S, BMW M3, lotus Extige. On a budget? Subaru WRX, Honda S2000.

North West Territories.  From the land of black flies the size of houses and ice road truckers comes the great baron wasteland. Yellowknife is one of the few cities where roads exist, although they are shared with snowmobiles and ATV’s.  You need to go in the middle of January when the ice roads are opened up for the truckers to deliver equipment up to the diamond mines. It will be -40 outside so pack warm, there will be few rest stops so bring food and supplies in case you get trapped. This all seems a little intense for you… I know but the rewards are amazing. Long, flat, wide open roads with soft cushy barriers (snow that has been plowed) the only traffic is other truckers and the cops monitoring there speed. Special bonus: the northern lights are spectacular, you will probably see them. They will leave you speechless with there different colours dancing across the sky.

Car to take: Subaru WRX STi, Mitsubishi Evo, Audi RS4. You’re on a budget? Old school Subaru Impreza or anything with ice studs.

Canada is a rich and diverse country with lots to explore. We have some of the friendliest people and each town you visit has its own unique heritage and tradition. Isn’t it time you put on some driving gloves, bought a map and visited some of those people?

happy Canada day from all of us at Auto|One Group!

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Yorkville Recap

This past Sunday Auto|One Group participated in the Yorkville Auto Show. For those of you that were in attendance you already know how good the show was. For those of you that were preoccupied with fathers day’s festivities, cleaning your house or something equally lame this is a recap of what you missed:

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The day started out as a disaster. Lots of rain and the possibility of thunder storms threatened to cancel the entire event. Mother Nature thankfully thought of father time (it was that or father Christmas) and decided to grant us sunshine and dry pavement. By 11:30 the streets had dried and the party started. Auto|One Group was situated in the center of the action with a tent set up for fun! We had a raffle to give away a TV, auto racing inspired lounge chairs, a keg and offered 25% off our car-bar detailing services to all in attendance.

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We displayed a gorgeous 2011 Porsche Panamera GT TECH-ART edition. The car has $80,000 in upgrades and looks breathtaking to say the least. Visitors to the booth really appreciated our laid back attitude towards our cars. No velvet rope or fences. We invited people to get up close and personal with the car. Throughout the day we would start the car and let the exhaust play the music instead of the sound system. Our Porsche has the ability to raise the hair on just about everyone’s neck when it hits 5000 RPM.

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The cars were fantastic. We were situated between a row of classic and modified BMW’s to the west and a row of classic Corvettes to the East of us. Across from us was a melange of high end European exotics Mercedes SLS, Mclaren, Tesla were some of the automotive art sitting across from us. The Yorkville Exotic car show is great because you see the cars that made your childhood and adolescence exciting. Lamborghini Diablo? It was there. Porsche 930 tubo? Yep BMW M6 with the gold BBS honeycomb rims? You bet! 1958 corvette, ohya… the list of high classics is both extensive and long. It was like seeing all those sweet 70’s, 80’s and 90’s posters come together but without the teased hair or the acid washed jeans…

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The new cars could not be ignored. SlS AMGs, Lotus, Bentleys, vipers, Aston Martins, 911gt3s, Ferraris ect… They were all amazing and I thought many of them looked better with the water beading off of their wonderfully sculpted bodies than in the sunshine. Fortunately I was able to see them both wet and dry. You always picture these cars as trailer queens that only come out on the sunniest of days, and even then they are under an umbrella or something ridiculous.

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Auto|One Group definitely had one of the best booths on display. We had all sorts of contests including a blackjack table, video game hooked up so that people could race their favorite cars and wicked music. Not to mention candy and drinks for attendees. We love to put on a party. When we can do it and get the community involved we are elated.

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Whats next for us? Markham Ribfest! Join us July 5th– 7th at Markham City Hall! Join us as we bring two important things together at last. Horsepower and Meat together at last.

Fathers day- because your dads a car nut!

Auto|One Group would like to wish all the dads out there a happy father’s day! We will be partaking in the Yorkville exotic car show this weekend at Bloor st and University ave. if you don’t want to take dad to the same old brunch why not bring him to Yorkville? There will be lots of high end exotic cars for you and dad to salivate over. There will also be lots of classic cars in attendance, you will owe it to your dad to listen to him when he looks at a classic car and says I remember when I was a kid and, bla, bla, bla…. Its father’s day! Entertain him! The Yorkville Father’s day Car show is also about helping dads. The event raises awareness about prostate cancer.

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The best father’s day we ever gave my dad was in 2009. My dad loves classic cars. Being raised in rural Alberta there was not much to do other than chase women, play hockey and race hot rods. My dad is a fan of the fin cars- the ones from the mid 1950’s to the early 1960’s that were made during the height of American’s obsession with aerospace. These were grandiose times when America was king, the cars were kings of the road and everyone was clamoring to get on a jet plane or watch some seemingly hair-brained scientists at NASA try and thrust someone into outer space. The Jetsons were making living in space both realistic and fun! Chrome was a good thing. Fins were better. Seatbelts did not exist.

Dad always wanted a classic car from that era but would never pull the trigger on getting one. He would cite things like paying for kids school, saving money for the possibility that one of his kids would need bail, paying for a vacation or paying for a home renovation. Stand-up guy all around my dad would always do for others before he would do for himself. We figured that we would take the excuses out of the equation buy one for him. It was early June and we hashed out a plan to get it and surprise him in time for father’s day.

We needed to get a car first. As I have blogged in the past my father, brother and I all share the same taste in cars. I knew that he would want something 2 door and hard top (no pillar between the front and rear window. I also knew he would want tail fins that take up more space than the Skydome (Rogers center? Never heard of it).

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After much deliberation and some serious soul searching we settled on a 1959 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 that was located in an Amish community. No joke, the seller of the car had a collection of classic American cars in an Amish community. The seller did not know what to make of a couple of kids not much older than teenagers showing up and telling him there plans. I’m not sure what was more out of place. Classic cars in an Amish community or us discussing te merits of these cars with a seller who could have been my grandfather. Regardless, a deal was struck and the following week the car was delivered to our leasing company in Toronto.

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this is where we got the car. it was like stepping back in time. note the vintage gas pumps.

We had the car waiting down the road that father’s day Sunday and had the whole family over for a barbecue. After dinner we told my dad to go out front and see if he left the lights on in his car. When he opened the door he was greeted to this sitting in the driveway.

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We timed it so that I drove the car up to the house as dad was walking down the front step. There was some confusion, laughing, crying and jumping up and down but at the end of it all dad was really happy. He loves his 1959 Oldsmobile. We loved surprising him with it because we could think of no better gift for the dad who is a car nut.

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Our patriarchal car nut loves telling even perfect strangers all about his car. How it is bone stock accept for the fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror. He gets a kick showing people how big the trunk is or how quite it is on the highway. Above all his favorite thing to tell people is the story of how he was surprised with it on fathers day.

Grand Prix Montreal

 

Wow, formula one was a dusey this year. Grand Prix Montreal is usually known for its unpredictable weather and this year did not disappoint. Friday’s testing of the cars was mixed precipitation and somewhat slippery. Saturdays qualifying was off and on rain and left the track quite wet. Well trained eyes could see the rooster tails coming off of the massive tires. Sunday brought mixed sun/clouds and it was beautiful. Sunday was not too hot, no humidity and the sun would come in and out of the clouds- perfect for racing. It forced drivers to bring there A game and pay attention for the entire weekend.

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Vettel cleaned up shop and got 25 points in the process. The fun was not in watching who took pole position, Vettel had it on lock from the pole position where he started. The fun was in watching the likes of Alonso start from a 6th place pole position and claw his way up to second place, beating Lewis Hamilton in the process. Hamilton had a good race but the 3-time Canadian GP winner could not keep up as he had chosen tires poorly. Hamilton was somewhat favored to win, as he has done so well at this track in the past.

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Kimi Raikkonen had a disappointing race. He was penalized 2 spots on the starting grid for exiting pit lane too quickly. He had to start from the 10th position and try to makeup the difference much like Alonso…. Unlike Alonso, Kimi could not get his cards shuffled properly and had to settle for a disappointing 9th place finish. The race seemed to be more about strategy and predicting weather patterns than it did about outright speed. If you made one bad decision in the pits or one ill-timed pit stop than that was it for you and your car.

 

There were no fiery crashes, no launches into lower orbit. The wall of champions chose not to kiss any drivers this year, if it did they were more of a peck than a kiss. This is not to say it made for a boring race. Massa, Gutierrez, Hulkenberg and Guarde all had accidents, resulting in the latter two being knocked out of the race.

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Montreal was amazing as always. Saturday night everyone was out in their own race cars. It was the pride of Ferrari at the impromptu car show but an orange Bugatti aced the show (it really stole our hearts). Everyone was out enjoying themselves in their favorite team colours and having a great time.

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We had a dozen members in our posse.  Auto|One Group made sure we had amazing seats for both qualifying and race day. Saturday’s wet qualifying saw us sitting in the 31st section, overlooking turns 8 and 9. This is the section that brakes up the two back straightaways. Drivers come to visit us with the bugs hitting their helmets at upwards of 300 kmph they down shift/brake/pray to about 120 kmph to hook a right hander and then keep their speed and blast back up to 160 kmph as they are waving good bye to the grandstands. Think this is easy? If you are a physics major than you know that it is not. These guys put down 2.5 plus G’s. IN THE RAIN! Our seats on Saturday made for some entertaining rear wheel slippage as the cars exited the final corner. It was amazing to watch the strategy of these drivers as they navigated these turns in the wet.

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Sunday had us sitting in the 22nd section. These seats were great because we could see and hear the racers braking/downshifting/praying as they go from 7th gear and 300 kmph down to 1st gear and 50 kmph to navigate the big 180 degree bend. Once they are on the other side of that bend they are at the beginning of the main straight away where they hit 320 kmph. It is at this time that the cars fly by us accelerating faster and louder than your mind can comprehend (they bump 3rd, 4th and 5th gears in front of us) and then it’s off down the straightaway. It is one thing to hear these vehicles accelerate but another thing all together to appreciate them down shifting. Anyone who tells me that a clutch pedal is better than a paddle shift has never been up close to a 18,000 rpm formula 1 car that is downshifting.

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We had a great time at the race and cannot wait for the next opportunity to see/smell/hear race cars!

 

FORMULA 1 VISITS MONTREAL AND WE ARE GOING!!!

This is a busy motorsports week at Auto|One Group. We have 2 teams that are in the midst of the Bullrun Rally. Through regular contact we have found out that they are kicking butt and taking names. Our Porsche 928 from the era of Duran-Duran and acid washed jeans is a force to be reckoned with and team Texas has been full utilizing the V-10 power of the Audi S8 that has been provided…

We will go into the logistics of how a car from the Reagan era has been kept on the road and how it has managed to do as well as it has. Our strategy will not be exposed until after the race has been completed! Clue: it involves sorcery, voodoo and synthetic motor oil.Image

Back in Toronto though we are gearing up for a big weekend in Montreal, Auto|One thought it fitting to send a hockey teams worth of people to see the formula one race this weekend. There are 12 members of our Montreal party/ Formula one club. We are primed and ready for action! Seriously. We have been counting down the departure day to Montreal since the end of May. We may or may not already have a cooler with ice and beer in it.

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This weekend promises to be a good one. Whether you are cheering for a team/ manufacturer or a country the stakes are high. The circuit Gilles-villeneuve (yes named after THAT Villeneuve). The race has been conducted since 1970 and has lots of heritage. It was the only stop on the formula circuit for many years. These racers hit 315kmph… if they are slow. They are subjected to over 2 g’s in the corners. Think about that for a second. It’s a 305km race. The stakes are high with no margin for error. Single degrees on the steering wheel can mean the difference between hitting the wall and blasting a straight away. Milliseconds of hesitation can be the difference between hooking a perfect corner and slamming into a wall…. Yeah these guys are pretty slick. This race has a famous corner with a wall dubbed the wall of champions. Famous for ending races/seasons of championship drivers.

We will celebrate 3 major events Friday:

1)      This is the last night of the Bullrun. We will celebrate our mechanic’s and tech supports hard work in prepping the cars. We will also celebrate the drivers for skillfully keeping them out of the ditch and on the straight and narrow.

2)      We will celebrate Formula 1 in Montreal, one of the best events in one of the best cities for parting.

3)      We will celebrate the fact that it is Friday (oh… you don’t?… you should start, it’s good for you)

For those of you that are going to F1 in Montréal I would like to provide some helpful tips. If you have not made dinner reservations as of yet, don’t bother the restaurants will be very busy, same goes for clubs and bars. If you wear your team/ manufacture/ drivers merchandise, be prepared to defend your choice. Nobody wants to ask you about you team Red Bull shirt/hat/lanyard/face paint/pants/officially licensed shoes, and get I love that drink!  As a response to why you are wearing it. Plan a “hair of the dog” scenario… you will need it. Bring both your rain gear and sun screen. Qualifying is Saturday and it is going to be a wet one! This will make for some great driving. Race day however it will be sunny with cloudy periods.

RACERS TAKE YOUR PLACES!