My New “Treasure”

It all started with a slow day at work… these are rare (my bosses generally read these so I will actually go with very, very rare). I was ambling around the internet looking for some parts for my Mini when I saw an ad “ 1983 Lincoln vi, no rust, totally straight, needs a headliner and heater core, certified” . The price was less than an Italian hand bag I am sure my wife wanted so I figured I could sell it and at least break even if she decided she wanted the bag instead of this stunning example of 1980’s American personal luxury.

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I called my partner in crime who happens to be a huge Ford/Lincoln guy. He assured me of what I already knew: I would be crazy not to buy it. I had a moral duty to buy this car. At this point I called the number in the ad and left a message to call. I then played the waiting game. It is unnerving because at this point I had convinced myself that if I didn’t get this car, the world would cease to exist… I didn’t want him responding to someone else first and selling it to them, I also didn’t want to call back and seem desperate or crazy. Of note: it was around this time that I realized this car was in Sarnia, a 3 hour drive from Toronto. Hey, love can travel right?

The seller called me back about an hour later, this is the meat and potatoes of the conversation:

Me: “hey man, thanks for calling me back, still got the Lincoln? Whats the deal with it?”

Seller: “ still got ‘er, she’s super straight, no rust anywhere, no dents, it needs a heater core, I have one to go with the car and the head liner sags, I’ve done some stuff to it so I can sell it certified, I just got the car”

Me: “ paint is good, interior is okay otherwise?”

Seller: “paint is amazing, the car was from Florida, a priest in florida owned it and kept it parked inside most of the-“

Me: “ woah, woah, woah, a priest owned it before you?”

Seller: “yeah man, he lived down south and moved to Sarnia, he is in his 90’s and couldn’t drive it anymore”

Me: “sold, I’ll take it”

Seller: *laughing* “because it was owned by a priest?

Me: “crap, you live in Sarnia? Does it run?”

Seller: “yeah, Sarnia, runs, needs a heater core so I would not drive it to Toronto, needs a headliner”

Me: “and a priest owned it?”

Seller “……yes……”

Me: “I’ll come on Sunday to get it”

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My partner in crime (we will call him Kevin to protect his true identity, his wife may read this as well…) and I drove the 3 hours to Sarnia on a Sunday to see the Lincoln. Sweet mother of chrome she was in great shape. The landeau roof was not torn or overly sun faded. The paint looked like a 9 out of 10 (a couple of touch-ups) 1 door ding and the chrome was excellent other than a trim peace coming off the rear bumper. The fold-away headlights worked, all the buttons I pressed had a reaction, even the old-school analog temperature gauge attached to the driver side mirror seemed correct. The car was as we call it in automotive speak “a pin”.

I will write about this odyssey again and regale you, fine reader about venturing into the unknown of fine velour seats and faux wood. Just know this for the time being: I now own a prime example of 80’s American class an elegance, the only person more thrilled than me is my wife.

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When Autofest attacks

This past weekend Auto|One Group was at Autofest in Oshawa. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I feel bad for you. It is one of the largest classic car shows in Canada. Oshawa is a large GM town, they have been building cars in Oshawa for as long as Canada has had trees… maybe not quite that long but close. Oshawa has always built GM vehicles and is home to some of the busiest and largest plants in North America.

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As you would expect there were lots of classic General Motors products at the show, both stock and otherwise. Auto|One Group brought two vehicles. One was a 1959 Oldsmobile that rolled off the Oshawa assembly line at the number two plant in march of 1959. The other car we brought was a 1970 Alfa Romeo 1750 sports car. We like to shake it up a bit and thought it would be nice to bring a rare import, guessing that nobody else would- we were right.

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Mother Nature loves classic cars, it’s a fact that has been proven by science. She gave us sunny skies and nice warm weather for the all the cars to bask in. Speaking of which there were close to 1,500 cars in attendance. We are not talking about low end clunkers that came from someone’s barn, yes there were some there. We are talking about high dollar restored vehicles; hot rods, muscle cars, rat rods, lead sleds and original classics. Everything from an original 1904 ford up to a 1,000 horsepower Chevy was in attendance.

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The show essentially takes over the city for the weekend. Make no mistake about it, Oshawa loves it’s motors. These guys work there hands to the bone during the day so they can work on there pride and joy at night. They want them just right, whether that is the right stance, paint, motor, interior or look they don’t care. Oshawa breeds a type of car guy that does not stop customizing/modifying there car until it is perfect. want proof? look at the picture below LOOK HOW BIG THAT MOTOR IS!

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This also needs a special tribute. What started as a Pontiac is now chopped, channeled, shaved, painted and amazing!

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Friday night is a cruise in downtown Oshawa, this shuts down the core of the city. Saturday and Sunday approximately 30,000 people flood to the park at the foot of Lake Ontario to see the cars. There are two entrances to the show and people are lined up for kilometers at either entrance watching cars enter and exit the show. It is a spectacle to be seen.  Our booth was located along the main corridor of the show. We would sit in lawn chairs at night and watch the cars leave the show. What an amazing experience!

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Lots of awards were given out and Cruise nationals was on hand to present the awards for best truck, station wagon, hot rod, paint, etc…. This was also the final stop on the Cruise nationals tour. All winners from this event are considered to be champions and invited to the Canadian International Auto Show in February so the competition was stiff.

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the awards being handed out. Note man and machine, together in harmony.

At Auto|One Group we love classic cars. They are as individual as we are. We love seeing the rare gems come out, the oddball customs and the wild cruisers. We believe that each car is a direct representation of there owner’s taste and style. How can you look at these cars and not want to meet the characters who drive them? We can’t wait for the next classic car show to see more of these fantastic individuals (and there drivers). One more picture of a car to hold you until then….

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Old School technology that needs to come back!

Progress – coupled with technology – is a beautiful thing. It changes the way we live on a daily basis. It makes our lives easier, safer, simpler and faster. The same can be said for cars. We live in a world where our car can tell us if we are drifting into another lane, how long we have before we need an oil change and even where to turn to find the next Starbucks. What cool features have been killed off in the name of progress and technology? I give some old school vehicle features that need to come back…now!

the hand crank can stay in the past….

Pop-up head lights:

We’ve all seen old Pontiac Firebirds driven by men in sleeveless denim shirts, sporting mullets and a handlebar moustache (or is it just my recollection?). Their cars appear to be winking at other drivers because the pop-up headlight motor has died on one side. They look funny and make the car’s general appearance comical. What about the drop-dead gorgeous cars that wear the pop-up headlights? Porsche’s slant-nosed 911s? Ferrari 456? Mazda Rx7s? Stunning cars – this is not debatable, it’s a fact. How different would they look with conventional headlights? What would happen to their sleek and aerodynamic styling?

T-tops:

Again, I am going to refer back to Billy-Bob driving his Pontiac fire-chicken. For those of you who don’t know what a T-top is, I feel sorry for you, because you have never seen Smokey and the Bandit. A T-top is only found on a two-door car and features two removable glass sections, one above the driver and one above the passenger. These are awesome because you can let your hair blow in the wind and still have the rigid structure of a fixed roof. Datsun 280s had them. Cameros and Firebirds? Ditto. And Porsche and Ferrari had the Targa: similar, except the whole roof comes out.

7-band equalizers:

My grandfather’s original Toyota Supra had a 7-band equalizer finished in brushed aluminum. I remember thinking I was sitting in a jet plane looking at all of those knobs and dials. Yeah, you can just toggle through your stereo interface and keep the dash looking “cleaner”, but think of the children! Think of the children!! They look so cool and intricate. Love that feeling when you get in a car and there are foreign buttons not immediately recognizable – it forces the passenger to respect the driver and the car that much more.

Swivel-out seats:

Luxury sports cars in the 1950s and early 1960s had these. You’re a tall person, or you have a hard time bending down. You want a sports car, but because of the aforementioned ailments, you have a hard time getting in and out. Swivel-out seats swivel out of the car and angle towards the street when the door opens. Essentially, they make for much better ergonomics when entering and exiting. Also, imagine your car seat coming out to great you when you get in? It’s like the waiter is constantly there to pull out your seat. Thanks, Alfred!

So…did I miss any? What cool technologies from today will fall by the wayside tomorrow?

007’s Other Rides

I was sitting in our 2007 Aston Martin last night at work. Alone, with the lights appropriately dimmed after a long day at work. I did what anyone who slips into the leather- and wood-wrapped interior of an Aston Martin must do: I pretended to be James Bond. Albeit a slightly heavier set, disheveled James Bond with much less charm, to be honest.

Aston martin is synonymous with James Bond. The franchise has been intertwined (for the most part) for the past 50 years. Both are regal, sophisticated, dangerous and mysterious…and both wear their British heritage on their sleeves. I thought to myself: there must be other Bond cars. Lesser known cars. Unloved Bond cars. Bond can’t drive amazing cars all the time, he needs to show some respect to the taxpayers! Lets show some love to the lesser known Bond cars.

Car: 1962 Sunbeam Alpine

Movie: Dr. No

In the movie Dr. No (same name I called my dad when he would not let me do anything fun), James Bond drove this 1.6-liter 4-cylinder British sports car. Eighty horsepower, 2200 pounds of torque, top speed of 160 kmph, 0-60 mph in 13.4 seconds – respectable numbers. Small and nimble, these cars were successful race cars on both sides of the pond. Apparently, they used it because it was the only British sports car available during filming. Unfortunately, Sunbeam went through some hard times, was bought by Chrysler and saw its brand diluted to sad and offensive cars. RIP Sunbeam.

Car: 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7

Movie: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

This is what James Bond would drive if he were American. Its just as sporty as its Ford Mustang sibling, but more luxurious, mature and refined. Powered by a massive 7-litre, 8-cylinder engine, these cars were great for burnouts, loud noise and sketchy cornering. Imagine having a boat-anchor weight between your front wheels. These were built during the time where engineering a motor meant you needed to make it larger to go faster. If James Bond was American and Corvettes were scarce, this is the car he would drive. Mercury is also no longer with us because Ford went upscale and Lincoln got cheaper… paving the way for Mercury to throw in the towel.

Car: 1974 AMC Hornet

Movie: The Man With The Golden Gun

The 1970’s are widely regarded as the dark ages of the automotive industry. Oil embargo’s, recessions, 5 m.p.h bumpers, pollution control and people starting to notice shoddy quality all contributed to amazing cars getting neutered or snuffed out altogether. American Motors struck the deal with the filming company as part of a product placement program: “James Bond drives an AMC, so should you!” It really turned out to be, ”James Bond Drives an AMC, sucks to be him!” Like I said, these cars were not all bad, just a victim of current affairs. Ultimately, AMC survived another 13 years largely on the laurels of the Jeep brand. Chrysler bought them from Jeep, and folded the AMC.

Car: Citroen 2cv

Movie: For Your Eyes Only

Easily the car with the most character on this list, also my favorite. This was one of the longest production runs of any car 1948-1990. This car has existed in the same escargot form for 42 years and managed to still be relevant. The best part? The 2cv never made more than 29 horsepower. The 2cv has been used all over the world and was especially popular in Africa and South America where its solid build and comfortable handling was suited to rough roads in developing counties. Bonus marks for having a box style 2 cylinder engine that is air cooled. James Bond loves unique engines of all sizes! Citroen is still doing battle in Europe. They are doing quite well in there home market but the European economy has had its impact on everyone.

And there you have it. A brief history of the lesser-known bond cars as explained by a car enthusiast.

worlds best selling amphibious street legal car! (It’s a real thing)

Over the years man has tried to simplify life by combining things. Sometimes this works well-like having a pen with a highlighter on the other end. Sometimes this works poorly-like popcorn-gum.

One example that falls into both categories is the Amphicar. As the name would suggest this is a convertible that is also water tight, has a hull and two propellers. The Amphicar is the car that floats on water, or the boat that drives on land (depending on whether you are a land lubber or sea captain).

The Amphicar was  built in Berlin, Germany starting in 1961. Production ended in 1968 after producing a little under 4,000 units. The sales numbers may not suggest it but the Amphicar is the bestselling street legal amphibious vehicle of all time. The car was called the “770”. This was a reference to the fact that it topped out at 7 MPH on water, calm water, with a tailwind. And it topped out at 70 MPH on the road, preferably headed slightly downhill, with a tailwind.

These cars were built a smorgasbord of parts from all over Europe. Engines from Triumph, electrical systems from the prince of darkness Lucas Electronics, Porsche 356 style transmission: the list goes on. It used its front wheels as a rudder, giving it poor maneuverability in the water. On land the car was known for its terrible reliability and poor performance.

These cars are unique and friendly looking things, much like the original Volkswagen Beetle. Perhaps that is what attracts such a large audience (lots of websites dedicated to their preservation and forums) to such a small amount of cars (less than 700 left in captivity). There is even a club in Canada. Canadian Amphicars, run by a gem named Gord. This all makes sense because 90% of production was headed for North American roads/docks. If you just looked at the pictures and did not smile you need to see a doctor. These are some of the cutest cars around. Also, how cool would it be to pick up your friends in a boat!

We cater to car people at Auto|One Group. We have an Amphicar on lease with a client. It rocks! It is Lagoon blue with a white convertible top and a pastel yellow interior. If we get it back into stock I am going to take it fishing! Then to a drive in movie, but not in that order.

exotics, delivered.

At Auto|One Group we don’t like to gush, brag, spill beans, or yarn a tale. This week I cannot help but share with you 2 of our deliveries that went out the door.

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2012 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Super trofeo Stradale- mouthful of a name for a handful of a car. This car is amazing! For those that don’t know what this car is or represents it is essentially a street legal race car. it is 66 pounds lighter than the Superleggera (superlight) Gallardo and tips the scales at 2,954lbs (dry). This car uses only the highest quality materials and manufacturing processes. Lamborghini reportedly shares a wind tunnel with a large jet company (seriously!). The car is smothered carbon fiber and other ultra-high end materials such as aluminum, suede, unicorns, rainbows and cat eyelashes (maybe not the last couple.) regardless, this car is 1 of 150 for the world to gawk at, these are some pictures for you to do the same.

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McLaren MP4-12:

Wow. Just, wow. This car is a gentle reminder to the world that Britain still knows how to make a supercar. Another car made with rainbows, unicorns and such. This car boasts a carbon fiber frame twin turbo V8 with 616 hp and a 7 speed seamless shift gearbox. The car is topped off with a body that slips through the wind at speeds that would terrify even the most seasoned jet pilots. This car owes much of its roots to Formula 1 racing technologies. for instance: when you hook a corner, the inside rear wheel brakes automatically so you don’t end up in the dirt. It helps you post faster lap times. The McLaren sounds angrier than a hungry bear that has just been denied entry to an all you can eat buffet.

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Both cars have gone to caring homes where they will no doubt get the utmost attention and love from there new owners. Congratulations to our own Jack Xiao for flying to Las Vegas to make sure the Lamborghini is the real deal. Jack is also responsible for the Angry British beast of a McLaren that graced our showroom.  Both of these cars were sourced on request for a client. At Auto|One Group we help our customers realize their dreams. Check out our current inventory and see what excites you!

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automotive stereotypes/myths debunked!!!

I had someone tell me last weekend that a Porsche Boxster is a “poor man’s Porsche”, people who buy them secretly lust after a 911. I must say that I was rather upset. Not because I have one in the family and it offended me. I was upset because I thought how can anyone call themselves a gear head/ car enthusiast and make such a poor generalization.

Let’s examine 3 popular automotive stereotypes/myths. We can examine the issues, explore the root and put the issues to bed once and for all.

Porsche Boxster/Cayman

Porsche introduced the Boxster in 1996 as a 2 seat alternative to the 911. Where the 911 had a larger price tag and a rear mounted engine, the boxster was cheaper and had its flat-6 engine mounted directly behind the driver. This enabled the design of the Boxster to be more of a roadster than the 911 in fact the name Boxster is a combination of boxer (nickname for a flat motor) and roadster, hence the name BOXSTER.  Its coupe brother the Caymans shares this mid-engine, rear wheel drive layout.

The myth:

The myth behind these cars is that real men drive the 911 and the Boxster/Cayman is a car for your wife/girlfriend to drive. The other myth is the one that caused this blog to be written: the Boxster/Cayman is the Porsche you get when you cannot afford a 911.

The reality:

The 911 has been called “the worst sports car design executed brilliantly”. Yes its lines are iconic and it has been around for 50 years. Yes it is one of the few sports cars you can drive year round. But, if you have driven one at the limit you know how unforgiving a car the 911 is. The rear engine platform means that when the back end slides out it is very hard to correct. Where the 911 falls short in corners the Boxster/ Cayman shines. Its mid-engine platform is optimal for a sports car. The flat motor means it can be mounted lower in the car-thus giving the car a lower center of gravity. This is why the Boxster/ Cayman is the ultimate track machine. Brilliant handling, telepathic steering, ultimate control, with no fear of parking in the bushes at the end of a corner.

Mazda Miata

In production since 1989 the Mazda Miata is a minimalist vehicle that supplies maximum fun. Based on the premise of Italian and British cars of the 1960’s and 1970’s these cars are loads of fun (but unlike the cars they are based on the Miata is reliable). These cars are not about massive power and technical advancement. From the outset you could only get a small inline 4 cylinder. The only electrical nannies are the ones mandated by the government (air bags, ABS, ect..) the original cars had noting and a/c was rare (pretty cool in my opinion) The Miata is the ultimate connection between driver and road. The Miata is a hands on approach to driving. Small, light, basic, rag top, FUN!

The myth:

“the Miata is a chicks car”. Guys who drive them are sissies.

The Reality:

Nothing will ruin your credibility as legitimate car nut faster than subscribing to the above mentioned myth. The Miata is small and tossable, a blast to drive in corners. Race cars are just as much about handling as they are about speed. The Miata is no different, and the cost of smiles is cheap. These cars are cheap to purchase and easy to maintain. It is a track car made street legal and then they chopped the top off for good measure. Anyone who subscribes to the myth that a Miata is a chick’s car has never driven one.

Paddle shift transmissions

In the last decade or so automated transmissions have begun to pop up more and more in our sports cars and super cars… even in our performance sedans. They offer faster, more precise shifting. They are tied into all the other electrical systems in our cars. This means that they work in sync with everything else-suspension, throttle input, differentials, brakes, ect… By surrendering another driving task over to our vehicle overloads we have given cars the ability to make sure we are making the right gear change, at the right time.  .

The Myth:

“bro, you don’t have a clutch?!? It’s not a real sports car”. Automated manuals are slower and less responsive than a manual transmission.

The Reality:

You are not as fast as a machine. I don’t care who you are. Also, you will miss a shift once in a while-don’t act like you’ve never done it. Automated manual transmissions erase driver error and human’s sluggish reaction time. You are also probably grouping automated manuals in the same category as a traditional slush-box automatic transmission. This is incorrect as auto-mated manuals are more technologically advanced than the entire NASA program during the 1960’s, and they put a man on the moon. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and McLaren use them exclusively now and by all accounts Porsche is not far behind. In other words, get on board because this is the future. If you are looking for a purest sports car

Any other automotive stereotypes you want debunked?

We love car people!

Auto|One Group hosted a booth at the Markham Rib fest this weekend. We all had a great time and enjoyed far too much food. The weather was about as predictable as the electronics on a classic British sports car but the weather did not dampen spirits. 

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One of the things we like to do at any event we sponsor is set up a tent and display a couple of cool cars. In our tent is  a TV that is hooked up to a Sony PS3 and the game Gran Turismo is always loaded. We also have a Lamborghini wheel coffee table and a keg in our tent that looks like a man cave. We let people sit in our amazing racing seats and play the game for as long as they like. One day we decided to start giving them away as prizes to people who could score the fastest lap time on a racetrack. We were displaying a gorgeous 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG so we decided it should be the car that people have to race on the track.

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our setup at Rib-fest

On Saturday Vladimir was in line to win the chairs, he had claimed top time by just over one second. The second place prize was going to be claimed by JB. These two had been battling it out for a couple of hours for fastest lap. Second prize was a keg (this is a keg for drinks or motor oil and definitely not alcohol). Sunday came around and a guy came up to our booth named Rory. Rory’s friend- JB had alerted him to the contest we were running. Rory casually approached us and asked if it was okay for him to take a crack at posting the best lap-time. What ensued was quite funny and remarkable.

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Vladimir Watching Rory work his magic on the track

Rory wanted to change all the settings of the controller and all the settings of the car as well (ringer!). Rory had been practicing at home before he came to race. He was hell bent on winning the chairs and claiming best lap time because he did not get up for a solid half hour. When he did it was to recharge the controller and stretch the carpel tunnel from his fingers. News travels fast because shortly there after Vladimir came back to reclaim the title of fastest lap ( the difference in times was less than a second… these guys are good).  Rory and Vladimir went back and forth for an hour or so trading secrets and discussing strategy all while Rory was talking with us. We really got to know him and liked his approach to cars: expensive is not necessary, speed and cornering is.

 

Rory lost the title of fastest lap and could not stay to re-claim his title because of soccer obligations. We thought both of them showed so much enthusiasm that we should give them both a set of racing chairs. Vladimir took his directly from the show. Rory had to come to our office to pick his chairs up.

Rory is the essence of a car guy. He sees cars for there true beauty, not just there looks. Case in point: We may think nothing of a Toyota MR2 this was an under powered Japanese attempt at a sports car in the 1980’s-1990’s. Rory knows better. He saw a small compact car that is light and has perfect balance from its mid-engine, rear wheel drive layout. He has owned 2 of them. Same year, same colour, total fluke. The first one was a self described butcher hack-job turbo that was what we call a 10 footer. The car looks great from 10 feet back but the closer you get the more things don’t ad up. Misaligned hack-job is how it was described to me. 

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The MR2 that survived one hour

I asked  Rory what his most memorable car story was and related this to me: When he was a kid he really wanted a nice handling car that was very tuneable. Honda S2000’s were out of the budget as were all the other expected tuner cars. He opted for the above mentioned Toyota MR2. It was located north of Collingwood. He went to pick up the car with a dealer plate (Rory worked for a car dealership as a gopher at the time) and drove his new pride and joy home. This was to be a short-lived joyous occasion. Not one hour into the ownership of his first car Rory got pulled over by the fuzz.

$5,000.00 for no insurance

$1,000.00 for improper license plate

$500.00 for bald tires

$300.00 tow truck bill.

Car was off the road for 2 years the following day as a result. The car was sold shortly thereafter because insurance was unbelievably expensive. Rory got a second one when insurance premiums came back into the stratosphere. He felt like he was robbed of the first one.

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MR2 #2. note the mid engine t-tops and mid 90’s green. I dare you to tell me this car is not clean/awesome.

Rory’s daily driver is a 1993 Ford Escort. It is called the Black Mamba. Yes, you read that correctly.  It has manual windows, no power brakes, no air conditioning, no tape or c.d. player (it might be AM radio only). The steering wheel does not tilt or telescope. Rory’s girlfriend Amanda hates it. I can not blame her for hating the car but a car guy can not be blamed for falling in love with that Escort. The body is in good shape, the lack of options means it is light and the manual transmission gives the driver ultimate control of the road. It even has Perelli tires on it… most people reserve the good tires and lack of creature comforts for there weekend racer but Rory would rather have fun all the time. Rory is a car guy.

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the Black Mamba lives!!!

His girlfriend Amanda is a pretty wicked car girl as well. She drives an Acura RSX type S and loves to row her own gears. From talking Amanda it is evident that she likes to kick in her own V-TEC and does not like anyone else sitting in her drivers seat. I have been given strict instructions to let her know when we get a Lamborghini in stock so she can take it for a spin. She loved getting a tour of our facility and our delicious cars as much as Rory did.

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Amanda DEMANDS the best parking spot available. don’t touch her car!

When Rory is not working for the devil that prevents me from owning really fast cars (Rory works for an insurance company) he is playing soccer, watching formula 1 with his entire family (even his mother in fanatical about F1!) or dreaming about owning a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

Rory is the essence of a car guy. He sees cars for what they really are and has fun with them. He modifies when necessary and leaves them stock when not necessary. He likes to get his hands dirty and do his own work.  We would never have met Rory and Amanda if they had not been alerted to the contest we were running at the Markham Ribfest. We love connecting with other car people and sharing the passion.

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We hope you enjoy your chairs Rory!

YOUR ESCAPE FROM THE WORLD: MAN CAVES!

Man caves.

As far back as the Flintstones (my version of history) man has wanted a family, and a car. Cars are quite accommodating, they let us sit in them, jump in the back seats, eat in them and sleep in them. They are in a sense a traveling living room/kitchen/bedroom/storage room. Our cars are very nice to us in that respect and never tell us to wipe off our feet or not spill ketchup on the seats. Unfortunately, we are not as willing to let our cars into our living rooms. When was the last time you invited your car into the kitchen for a cold one? When was the last time you had you car over for a scotch and chat about world politics and horsepower? The answer is never because cars are not allowed to infiltrate our homes… only our souls, hearts and minds.

Lets talk about your man cave.

The man cave is the happy medium between bringing your car in the house and you spending all your time in your garage. After all, there is no place you would rather be than with your pride and joy- the automotive kind, not the offspring kind. In the past several years I have noticed an increase in Man Caves being created. People-both male and female alike are starting to invest some creative energy and money into there garage/shed/workshop/basement/wherever-your-car-sleeps-at-night.

What defines a man cave? In my opinion it needs some type of vehicle, some car parts littered around the area, a stool or two so you can be comfortable while you talk to your car and a fridge for cold ones. That was the norm for decades. Before man caves were called man caves. Now people are spending more time with their automotive brethren and are sprucing the places up a bit. It is not uncommon to see automotive inspired art hanging on walls, beer fridges shaped like tool chests and old kegs that have been converted into coolers. There are many cool ideas floating around for making a man cave yours. We will explore some of them. These themes are not just limited to a garage space either either.

Bathrooms:

Bar/kitchen:

Workshop:

As you can see the man cave movement has livened up our automotive haciendas and made them more fun to be in. They also act as a conversation piece.

The man cave is just as much about function as it is form though. You need to be able to get around and under your vehicles to do routine maintenance, a 1.5-2 car garage minimum is needed so you are not rubbing the paint off your car. You will need good lighting for when you drop small parts into the abyss that is your engine bay.  ready access to tools and any parts necessary, I recommend good ratchets, screwdrivers, and torque wrenches. If you have a newer car that runs off a similar system to the Hal 9000 from 2001 A Space Odyssey than you should probably invest in a digital computer scanner as well. Having internet access is important for times when you genuinely don’t know what you are doing. At this time it is important to convince those around you and yourself that you do in fact know what you are doing. You are simply going online to make sure you have the “right tools” to do the job. Jack stands are nice, an actual car lift will make you the envy of all the other cave men on the block though.

Whats that you say? You have trouble changing a light bulb and just need a place to escape to? Not a problem, the man cave is your oasis from the rigors of life. The Man cave is YOUR SPACE! Only you can go in there and play classic arcade Pac-Man by the light of your neon beer signs. Only you can go play Free Bird on Guitar Hero without need for headphones. Also you have an excellent singing voice…. When your by yourself. The man cave is your space to do as you please. It is your escape from reality and does not solely need to be about cars, we just recommend that is is. And that it has a certain automotive theme.

I have just given you a good rundown of how to setup your man cave for actual wrenching. The decor is up to you. I have merely provided some suggestions. Keep this in mind when setting up your man cave: The cooler the space, the more your friends will want to hang out and help you work on your automotive legend.

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!