Monday, June 30, 2014

Canada Day Car Shows in the Montreal Area

Still putting together July’s list of shows (should have it up some time tomorrow) but wanted to post the Canada Day events now in case you’re looking for something to do tomorrow. I’m thinking the parade in St-Bruno sounds particularly interesting.

July 1 (cancelled in the event of rain)
Canada Day Parade
Cars 20 years old or more, lightly modified okay, need to register ahead
10 am for placement in parade of cars at 11, followed by a car show
Downtown, St-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec
Contact L. Gravelle (450) 441-9427

July 1
Golden Gears Car Club / Iroquois & Matilda District Lion's Club Canada Day Car Show
9 am to 3 pm
Seaway Locks, Iroquois, Ontario
Contact Henry Swank at

July 1
Almonte Canada Day Car Show
10 am to 3 pm
Almonte, Ontario
Contact Peter Bell at 613-256-4023 or

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Winner of World’s Most Traffic-Congested City Is?

Surprisingly, not Los Angeles, which actually placed 9th in the 4th annual global traffic index recently released by TomTom. It’s actually Moscow. Something else which may surprise you is the finding that shortcuts to avoid traffic generally make the commute longer by as much as 50%. Seems congestion is even worse on secondary roads. Even more depressing, according to their press release, “commuters around the world are spending, on average, eight working days a year stuck in traffic.” Sure glad I work from home.

Here’s their list of the top ten most congested cities in 2013, compiled by comparing travel times in peak and non-peak hours for passenger vehicles.

  1.   Moscow             74%
  2.   Istanbul              62%
  3.   Rio de Janeiro    55%
  4.   Mexico City       54%
  5.   São Paulo          46%
  6.   Palermo             39%
  7.   Warsaw             39%
  8.   Rome                 37%
  9.   Los Angeles       36%
  10.   Dublin                35%

If you’d like to see a more detailed list for just the Americas, you can download it at It gives numbers for morning and evening traffic, highways and non-highways, for 63 large cities, and even has detailed charts on which parts of the week are best/worst and what the average delay per hour driven is during the peak period. Montreal, for example, ranks 13th out of 63, with a congestion level of 26% and a 78 hour delay per year for a 30 minute commute. And nope, LA doesn’t make the top of the Americas list either, coming in at 4th. That dubious honour goes to Rio de Janeiro.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cannonball Run Tribute Car

1976 Chevelle Laguna S-3
Photo by Kate Tompkis
Saw this cool Chevelle Laguna out at Smoke Meat Pete’s a few weeks ago. It’s a Type S-3 coupe, and either a 1975 or a 1976. It’s done up to look like the 1976 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna S-3 driven by Terry Bradshaw and Mel Tillis in the first part of the 1981 movie Cannonball Run (they later show up in a Monte Carlo that’s supposed to be the same car with a paint job). That in turn was a tribute to a Chevy driven by NASCAR driver Donnie Allison in 1977 and 1978. I think. Information on line is scanty and contradictory. Apparently the make and model of the cars people drove wasn’t considered important information when talking about their racing career. Allison drove more than one car in the Hawaiian Tropic livery. I’ve seen references to a Chevy (unspecified), the Laguna, a Monte Carlo, a Malibu, and an Olds.

What makes matters even more confusing is that the die cast of the car from Cannonball Run identifies it as a Chevy Malibu. Shrug. You can see a picture of the movie car on this page of the Internet Movie Cars Database.

Great looking tribute car, and I hope to see it around again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spotted: 1969 Plymouth ‘Cuda with a 440 Six Barrel

1969 Plymouth 'cuda
Photo by Kate Tompkins
As I was uploading the photos from this past Saturday’s show at Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, I discovered I hadn’t posted all the cars from Smoke Meat Pete’s. Thought you might like a look at this second generation 1969 ‘Cuda notchback coupe. That would be the first year they wedged the 440ci (the Super Commando) V8 under the hood of the Plymouth pony car. Some pony!

1969 Plymouth 'cuda
Photo by Kate Tompkins
According to Wikipedia, Plymouth executives wanted to call the Barracuda the Panda. Gah. Fortunately, the designers protested.
1969 Plymouth 'cuda
Photo by Kate Tompkins

Friday, June 13, 2014

Looking for a Clean, Fuel-Efficient Vehicle? You Might Want to Think Diesel

When people talk about environmentally friendly cars, they usually mean electrics or hybrids. But according to the Automobile Association of America (AAA) Green Car Guide, clean diesels are a great option. In fact, five of their top ten green cars are diesels. “Clean” diesels, but diesels nonetheless. There are also three electrics and two hybrids on the list.

According to Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, "The field of green cars this year is the most competitive ever, so the fact that clean diesels ran away with 5 of the top 10 ratings is a great validation that clean diesel cars are really a great choice for consumers looking to make greener transportation choices." Of course he’s biased, but he wasn’t the one compiling the rankings. That was done by the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. They looked at 83 different cars, including electrics, hybrids, clean diesels, CNG-powered cars, and partial zero emissions vehicles. Factors in their ranking included fuel economy, emissions, handling and acceleration. You can find the entire guide here, but the top ten cars are:

1      2013 Tesla S P85 (Electric)
2      2012 Toyota RAV4 EV (Electric)
3      2014 Audi A7 TDI Quattro (Clean Diesel)
4      2013 Lexus GS 450h (Hybrid)
5      2013 Nissan Leaf (Electric)
6      2014 Honda Accord Hybrid (Hybrid)
7      2014 Audi Q5 TDI Quattro Tiptronic (Clean Diesel)
8      2014 Audi A8 L TDI Quattro Tiptronic (Clean Diesel)
9      2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC (Clean Diesel)
10   2014 Audi A6 TDI Quattro Tiptronic (Clean Diesel)

Admittedly, several of those are rather pricy (there won’t be a Tesla sitting in my garage any time soon—sigh), but it’s good to see so many options are out there.

[SOURCE Diesel Technology Forum]

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Spotted: Jaguar 420G

Jaguar 420G
Photo by J. Tompkins
Saw this at a garage in my neighbourhood. Looks like it needs some work—among other things, the hood ornament’s missing, but could make someone a very nice car indeed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before, which isn’t surprising because according to Wikipedia they only made 5,763 of them (from 1966 to 1970). It’s the successor to the Mark X, though it was more of a renaming than a redesign. There were a few minor changes to the appearance (moving the clock to the centre of the dashboard, for example), and air conditioning was offered as an option.

This four-door sedan was large for a Jag, and it was meant to be a luxury touring car for the American market. There’s a good articleonline, (originally from the January 2013 issue of Motor Trend) with lots of photos, that talks about the 420G, and why it didn’t succeed. It’s not that it was a bad car—quite the opposite—but it was smaller, and I’m guessing more expensive, than the North American built luxury cars of the time.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Paraplegic Driver Takes on Targa Newfoundland’s Fast Tour

Brian Donato, Kenny Yamamoto of Mitsubishi Motor Sales
of Canada, and the Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart
destined for the 2014 Targa Newfoundland
(CNW Group/Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Inc.).
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada has announced that it will be partnering with Ontarian Brian Donato for this September’s TargaNewfoundland. Donato and his trainer and navigator Rick Bye, a racing driver in his own right and former Targa competitor, will be tackling the five-day, 1,550 kilometre race in a 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart sedan donated by Mitsubishi. You can find out more about both of them and their route to Targa on the RollWith It Racing team webpage.

According to Donato, "It has long been a dream of mine to drive in the Targa Newfoundland. The folks at Mitsubishi share in the dream, and the hope that Canadians with physical disabilities might be inspired by our effort."

He wouldn’t be the first entrant with physical disabilities, as Soldier On has entered a team at least once that I know of. Said Targa organizer Robert Giannou, "Since its beginning, Targa Newfoundland has been about perseverance, fortitude and triumph over adversity. Targa is the measure of an individual's true mettle. Just getting to the starting line has been a triumph for Brian and Rick, and they will be welcomed in Newfoundland as heroes."

I don’t doubt it. Just finishing the race is an accomplishment, though the Fast Tour is perhaps “easier” than the timed rally classes—or not, given that it tends to attract people with exotic supercars. The Mitsubishi will be modified to the extent that it will have hand controls for the brakes and accelerator, as well as five-point seatbelts. However, Mitsubishi points out the Lancer Ralliart is already equipped with racing style Recaro seating and Brembo racing brakes, a standard part of the premium package.

[SOURCE Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Inc.]

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Spotted: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C at Montreal Grand Prix

Not by me, unfortunately, but here’s a link to some photos on the Alfa Romeo Club of Canada Facebook page showing one of the new Alfas in downtown Montreal. Sweet!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

6th Annual Cruisin’ at the Boardwalk Returns to Ste-Anne

1948 Buick
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Was in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue this morning and saw signs for the 6th Annual Cruisin’ at the Boardwalk on June 14th. I’ve added it to the June car show list, but wanted to mention it here as well. It’s one of my favourite shows, and certainly the biggest in the West Island. Usually lots of great hot rods and muscle cars.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Debut Video and Photos

Seems my post about the new Alfa was quite popular, so I went back and checked Chrysler’s media site to see if they’d posted anything new. They hadn’t, but they did have this video of the debut of the 4C at the New York Auto Show so I thought I’d share while it's still available. Got to admit that is really cute. Especially the silver one in the background. There were also several photos/graphics of the European version of the car, so I’m adding some of them as well.

All photos courtesy © 2014 Chrysler Group LLC.

Monday, June 2, 2014

MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Update

Further to my recent post about Mazda’s upcoming limited edition 25th Anniversary model of the 2015 MX-5 Miata—seems like they sold out all 100 in 10 minutes. But as of the press release (May 20) no one knew for sure who got them. Why? Because people had to pre-order online and the program automatically cut out after 250 registered customers—but until it’s determined who were the first 100 registrants, they’re all in suspense.

So I was right that this model would be popular. I was wrong about the price, however. Far from being extortionate, the MSRP for the manual transmission version started at $32,205, while the automatic was listed at $32,655. Plus they threw in a custom-crafted Tourneau watch. Not a bad deal for the 100 lucky purchasers. Wonder how many bought because they actually want the car and how many bought looking for a quick flip?