Love Hurts

My name is Ryan and I’m a friend of RedlineNorth. This is my rant. To borrow a quote from Scottish Rockers, Nazareth and their 1970s hit “Love Hurts” this is especially true when you are talking about older luxury cars. I truly love cars, especially, older high-end models in the $3,000-$10,000 price range and my specialty is finding, buying and driving them into the ground.

2002 BMW M3  autopazar.co.uk

2003 BMW M3

A little background on me:

  • My newest vehicle was 12 years old
  • I have covered the bases when it comes to auto breakdowns
  • I have been a customer seeking an elusive European car part at one time or another at the local auto junkyard
  • I use only regular gas
  • Occasionally, I do add a fuel additive or two
  • In winter, I do use gas line antifreeze to combat Canada’s freezing temps
  • Based on today’s theory that luxury cars using high-end synthetic oil can travel over 5,000 kilometers before an oil change –
    • I always push them to at least 7,000 KM
    • Since I feel that taxing oil is not just the government’s job
    • And besides isn’t this how they test engines?

As for my purchase criteria of “high end” cars, here’s my motto and please note “high end” is a subjective term.  Firstly, if the vehicle has over 160,000 km, and/or once retailed for over $50K or has rims and a stereo that’s of equal or greater value than the rest of the car – it’s likely on my radar for potential purchase.

Cadillac Escalade

Cadillac Escalade

Audi S4

Audi S4

Unfortunately, my purchased rides don’t seem to survive long with my combination of a heavy foot and focus on pure driving pleasure.  Therefore, based on this reality – it is important to always be ready to recruit new prospects, so I keep my feelers out.  Now, this applies to more than just friends and co-workers since you must continually scour classified ads, Autotrader, Kijii, eBay, frequent car lots, eavesdrop at the mechanics’ shop and most importantly make time to pull over when you see a gem for sale on a passing lawn.

From experience I can say, turnover is high in this game and it’s not for everyone.  Sketchy, luxury car ownership runs on a 2-3 year cycle from passionate purchase to jaded dismissal. So please keep in mind that these cars will go sideways; so be sure to have CAA or some type of roadside assistance. Since for sure the On Star, DVD based navigation and/or Bluetooth will be long expired, broken or never existed.  Once again, at some time you will need a lift to the garage – so please splurge for the extra tow coverage.

Although the game is not for everyone the rules are simple and the rewards are immeasurable.

Here is my best advice for someone starting out today:

  • Downgrade your insurance to liability only
  • Have ‘ a guy’ or ‘a handful of guys’ on standby who can fix cars and find parts
  • Be familiar with the sounds and smells of a lemon and/or pending engine disaster
  • Never forget the joy of riding a bicycle
  • Have access to a “Black Book”
  • Keep your supportive partner
  • Appreciate ‘flossin’
  • Understand your neighbours will notice…and judge you
  • Accept that the purchase and sale transaction of your rides will always be weird.

Sketchy luxury car ownership is in some ways practical since most European whips are designed and engineered like works of art and are wickedly fast.  And the rewards are worth it since your car is to be used daily so you need to enjoy driving it.

For example, a 2014 Kia might technically be capable of reaching 200 kilometers per hour, but the experience is nothing compared to being at the wheel of a 2000 BMW M3 or an S4 Audi of the same vintage.  It’s better to be a once was than a never could be when travelling at high speeds.

As well, rap music is an integral influence to my “Love Hurts” philosophy so please look at the following as reference to the immortal beats and remind yourself what it takes to ball in an older, high-end luxury ride.

1)            The inc ride – Masta Ace Incorporated

2)            Whutcha Want? – Nine

3)            Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz – Lost Boyz

4)            Born to Roll – Masta Ace

5)            Lacville ’79 – Devin the Dude

6)            Ridin – Chamillionaire ft. Krayzie Bone

7)            Bugatti – Ace Hood ft. Future, Rick Ross

8)            Box Chevy – Yelawolf ft. Rittz

9)            Beamer, Benz or Bentley – Lloyd Banks ft. Juelz Santana

10)         Stuntin Like My Daddy – Lil Wayne ft. Birdman

11)         Wild Boy – MGK ft. Waka Flocka Flame

Masta Ace - Sitting on Chrome Album cover

Masta Ace – Sitting on Chrome Album cover

In closing I want to reinforce that life is short and you bought the ticket so enjoy the ride (R.I.P. Hunter S.Thompson). So stop stressing about the gas mileage in your V8 Rover and just roll because behind the wheel you look like Christopher Moltisanti. This philosophy is way better than car payments on a new vehicle so keep pumping regular in spite of the stickers that say premium fuel required.

Hopefully, this has been helpful and maybe someday we will cross paths as I will be sure to stop if I see you in trouble at the side of the road….

Happy shopping!

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Safety of Tesla Model S – Best of Any Car Tested

For those that think electric vehicles have an inherent safety issue associated with their lithium batteries, Tesla has some news for you. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US has awarded the Tesla Model S a 5-star safety rating, not just overall, but in every subcategory.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S receives 5 star safety rating in every NHTSA category.

Approximately one percent of all cars tested by the federal government achieve 5 stars across the board.  Of all vehicles tested, including every major make and model approved for sale in the United States, the Model S set a new record for the lowest likelihood of injury to occupants.  It also exceeded the safety score of all SUVs and minivans, not just sedans.

According to Tesla, the reasons for the stellar safety ratings of the Model S include having a much longer crumple zone to absorb high speed impacts.  Of course this is possible by not having to worry about squeezing in a large gasoline engine block up front. For rear impacts, if a third row child safety seat is ordered on the Model S then Tesla factory installs a double bumper providing greater protection. In terms of rollovers, the Model S also excels and is largely due to the low centre of gravity afforded by the battery packs.

Of note the lithium-ion battery pack did not catch fire at any time before, during or after the NHTSA testing. This is noted in Tesla’s press release in reference to the widely reported GM Volt battery fire a couple of years ago.  In reality that happened three weeks after a NTSHA test when the vehicle’s battery pack shorted and caught fire in a storage area (Source: Popular Mechanics).

Not being content with earning the top test score in 2013 from Consumer Reports Tesla has seemingly done it again with the safety rating of their Model S sedan.

Sources: Popular Mechanics, Tesla Motors.

Rally for the Cure 2013

On Sunday, August 18th, Team RedlineNorth participated for the 2nd year in a row in the Ewing’s Cancer Foundation of Canada Rally for the Cure. Having had such an incredible time at last year’s event we were eager to take part once again. And the weather gods were certainly on our side as you could not have asked for a better day as the sun shined!

Dune Buggy

Team Kristy Ann, Dune Buggy

The Rally for the Cure is a unique charity event that incorporates both autos and planes in a truly one-of-a-kind experience.  The event is comprised of a treasure hunt theme rally, delicious BBQ, silent auction, and variety of musical performances all in an amazing festive atmosphere at Markham’s Buttonville airport.

Ferrari

Ferrari 360

Although, Team RedlineNorth came up short only placing 8th compared to last year’s 2nd place, the event was a ton of fun and is truly a rewarding experience. We were successful in getting a few other teams out with us, of whom placed 5th and 9th respectively, and we hope to bring even more teams to next year’s event.

Plane

One of the many planes

The Rally for the Cure event is not only fun for the car and plane enthusiast but is something the whole family can do so please be sure to mark the 2014 date (Sunday, September 14th) in your calendars as there is no better way to spend a Sunday.

Mitsubishi Evo

Mitsubishi Evo

Porsche

Classic Porsche

Check out the following link for more photos from this year’s event.

Canadian Buys Most Expensive Car Ever Sold at Auction

A red Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider, one of only 10 ever built, was recently sold at auction for $27.5 million (U.S.).

A Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider recently sold at auction for $27.5 million

A Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider recently sold at auction for $27.5 million

Various reports peg the buyer as Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.  Mr Stroll built his fortune in the 1990s helping develop the Tommy Hilfiger clothing brand and is worth an estimated $1.8 billion.  He reportedly already owns more than 20 other Ferraris, as well as a race track near Mont Tremblant, Que., to drive them on.

N.A.R.T. stands for North American Racing Team, a Ferrari-backed venture created in the late 1950s to promote the brand in the U.S.  A 275 N.A.R.T. Spider was featured in the 1968 film “The Thomas Crown Affair” starring Steve McQueen.

The previous sales record for a sports car sold at auction in the United States was a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 raced by Juan Manuel Fangio.

Sources: Wheels.ca; Forbes.com; Wikipedia

Elon Musk is the “Thomas Edison” of our day

Yes, we here at RedlineNorth do have a bit of a “Bromance” going on with South African born Elon Musk.  I mean come on, how could you not?

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

He truly is, the Thomas Edison of our time.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

Forget Steve Jobs, this is our hero! From his early days as behind the scenes business developer, to the $1.5 billion sale of Paypal to eBay in 2002, to his out of this world venture called Space X and its $1.6 billion contract with NASA as cargo transport provider.

Hello? These two accomplishments are absolutely totally extraordinary on their own but of course he did not stop there.  In 2003, Musk co-founded a “little” electric car company based in California’s Silicon Valley called Tesla Motors.

In 2008, Tesla developed the Tesla Roadster, using a Lotus Elise glider combined with an electric motor to form its first winning combination. After selling approximately 2400 roadsters, Tesla ran out of Lotus Elise gliders resulting in the end of production of the Roadster in January 2012. However, in June 2012, Tesla began delivery of its now popular four-door Model S sedan and with the exception of one controversial New York Times review the Model S has become the darling of the luxury sedan market.  Currently, the Tesla Model S is one of the hottest “it” vehicles and has become a key component of any wealthy gentlemen’s fleet.  As well, the recent demise of competitor Fisker Automotive has helped Tesla place themselves as manufacturer of the “sexiest” electric cars in the world.

Tesla Model S exceeded first quarter sales estimates

Tesla Model S

Mirroring this success, in early 2012 Tesla unveiled its third product, the Model X, targeted at the SUV/minivan market.  The Model X is scheduled to begin production in 2014 and many industry observers are anticipating record sales as Tesla hopes to capitalize on its amazing 2013 run.

In addition to its own cars, Tesla sells electric powertrain systems to Daimler for the Smart EV and Mercedes A Class, and to Toyota for their electric RAV4 model.

Shifting gears from the automotive world, last week Musk shared his proposal to the world for his Hyperloop, a new form of transportation. The new form of transport is a subsonic air travel machine that stretches approximately 350 miles (560 km) from Los Angeles to San Francisco that would enable commuters to travel between the two cities in 30 minutes, providing a shorter travelling time than today’s commercial airplane. The idea is similar to the tube systems used to transport documents in office buildings of day’s past. Yes, it is certainly 100% way out but Musk continues to be an “out of the box” thinker and with all of today’s challenges we need this type of great thinker even more. Seriously though, this guy is incredible and there is no telling what he’s going to do next.

And if I was a betting man, I would double down on Musk at every chance since he is a proven winner.  Sometimes you truly have to go with your gut as I found out first hand when I wimped out earlier this year on buying Telsa stock, a painful mistake since it is now up over 300%…..Oh well, I can still try and short it…….

10th Annual Toronto Subaru Club Hyper Meeting

On Sunday, August 11th RedlineNorth attended the 10th Annual Toronto Subaru Club Hyper Meeting at Subaru Canada’s head office in Mississauga, Ontario. Over 300 enthusiasts showcased their vehicles, while fans took in the sights and sounds of the day.  In addition to the vehicles there were on-site food trucks, vendors, games, face painting and a RC car track making it an outing for the whole family, although admittedly it was mostly attended by Subaru enthusiasts themselves.

The Hyper Meeting raised funds for Ronald McDonald House Toronto, a very worthy cause. Congrats on a well run event.

Here are few pictures of the festivities, along with some of the vehicles on show.

10th Annual Toronto Subaru Club (TSC) Hyper Meeting Subaru_20130811_007 Subaru_20130811_008 Subaru_20130811_011 Subaru_20130811_016 Subaru_20130811_018 Subaru_20130811_020 Subaru_20130811_027 Subaru_20130811_029 Subaru_20130811_032 Subaru_20130811_033 Subaru_20130811_036 Subaru_20130811_037

Toronto’s own Drake spotted driving Bugatti Veyron in Yorkville

Local hip hop superstar Drake was in town over the August long weekend to host his successful OVO fest which is marquee event during Toronto’s Caribana festival. While in town, Drake was also spotted driving his newly delivered Bugatti Veyron Sang Noir around Toronto’s tony Yorkville area. Check out video at 1:08 or so.

Even if you are not a hip hop fan you do have to respect Drake’s choice in cars as he sure likes the finer things with regards to the automobile.  And the “Started” vanity licence plate is a perfect touch.  Team RedlineNorth actually caught a glimpse of Drake last year when he was in town for his birthday as he rolled along Queen Street West in his Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG with his entourage following behind in the Bentley and Cadillac Escalade. At least he is true to his hip hop mantra of YOLO – You only live one!

2013 Cadillac ATS Review

Having been crowned several key industry accolades this year including North American Car of the Year we have been eager to experience the Cadillac ATS first hand. Over a week in July, we had the opportunity to test out Cadillac’s new ATS model and it made an excellent first impression.

Based on GM’s new Alpha platform, the 2013 ATS features a front-engine, rear-drive layout along with a newly designed exterior. Primarily marketed to compete with the successful BMW 3 series, the ATS provides Cadillac with some new ammunition. Offered with three engine and powertrain options, including a manual transmission, automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive configuration it provides customers with lots of choice, a key differentiator in the luxury sedan segment.

Sitting pretty

Sitting pretty

Our tester came equipped with the manual 2.0-liter turbocharged, four cylinder engine that includes 272 HP and 260 lb-ft of torque. The best part of this configuration is the slick and sporty manual transmission. Since when was the last time you saw a Cadillac with a stick? Providing a manual transmission option is a testament to the renewed focus on making Cadillac products more sporty, which has been well received in the marketplace.

ATS-3

To experience the sportiness of the manual transmission we headed north to the beautiful four season resort town of Collingwood, Ontario. The Cadillac performed well on the winding backcountry roads and ate up the hills with its perfectly balanced sports suspension providing an authentic sports car feel but with all the creature comforts of a luxury sedan. The solid torque from the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes the ATS a blast to drive as it is (0 to 60 times are in the high fives) well in the range of its rivals in terms of performance. As for stopping power, our Cadillac came equipped with race inspired Brembo front brakes, a real plus in reducing overall stopping distances.

ATS-4

The Cadillac ATS comes loaded with all the bells and whistles associated with GM’s top marquee. With a base price of $35,195 and a total price as tested of $43,935 our tester included the following options:

  • Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with Adaptive Forward Lighting and LED daytime running lights
  • Performance front bucket seats
  • 10-way power front bucket seats with 2-way power lumbar support and a 4-way adjustable head restraint
  • Full-colour Head-Up Display (HUD)
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Illuminated exterior door handles
  • Dual exhaust with outlets integrated into rear fascia
  • Sport alloy pedals
  • Bose® 5.1 10-speaker Cabin Surround® audio system
  • Rear outboard seat-mounted side-impact airbags
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision alert
  • Rear vision camera
  • CUE communications and entertainment system

Fuel economy:

The 2.0T with manual transmission is rated at:

  • City 10.6L/100 KM
  • Highway 6.7L/100 KM
  • Combined 8.8L/100 KM

Interior:

Our tester came equipped with the optional Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system which includes a 8-inch touch screen that operates like a smartphone or tablet. Although the touch screen did require some initial acclimation, we did like it overall but we could see how it could be difficult for more mature drivers who may not be as familiar with smartphone technology. As well, the climate controls are included in this system and for the older demographic not having physical buttons could be problematic.

Front seats

Although not for everyone, we were partial to the sexy red interior and its plush leather bucket seats with lumbar support make you want to drive farther as you pull into your destination.

Cadillac ATS

The back seat is best designed for two adults and legroom is about standard for any sport luxury sedan. Having hot and cold ventilation in the back seats is a great touch, especially during a July heatwave where temps reached the mid 40s with the humidex.

Cadillac ATS

The ATS has 10.2 cubic feet of trunk space which is slightly less than some of its competitors, however, we found the space ample for our weekend cottage trip and really how much more space do you need in a luxury sports sedan?

Competition: These are some heavy hitters for sure.

  • Audi A4 sedan
  • Lexus IS sedan
  • BMW 3-series sedan
  • Mercedes-Benz C-class
  • Infiniti G37 sedan

Final thoughts:

With its sleek, sexy styling the Cadillac ATS is a real eye pleaser. So, it was no surprise throughout the week, people would come up and ask what Cadillac model it was – the ultimate compliment for any car owner. Having only the opportunity to test the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with the manual transmission we can only speak to the one model. However, we thoroughly enjoyed our time behind the wheel while experiencing first hand the fruits of Cadillac’s R&D labour to create this award winning new product.

Time will tell how overall sales do in comparison to its rivals as Cadillac has stiff competition with BMW, Audi and Mercedes as their brands are already entrenched and successful in this segment. Nevertheless, we are positive there is room for one more player in the segment and the 2013 Cadillac ATS should be able to hold its own among these German juggernauts.

ATS-7

Should big name race drivers be allowed to race Sprint Cars?

If you are a NASCAR fan you have likely seen the controversy in the news over the past month about three-time NASCAR champion and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing Tony Stewart getting into several wild crashes during his side job Sprint car racing.

Tony Stewart racing at Susquehanna Speedway Park Sunday, April 14, 2013.  Photo courtesy of Anthony DeSeta

Tony Stewart racing at Susquehanna Speedway Park Sunday, April 14, 2013.
Photo courtesy of Anthony DeSeta

Read the Star’s Norris McDonald’s blog post from the end of July about this very topic after Tony’s crash at Ohsweken Speedway near Brantford, Ontario.

Well, as irony would have it, just as the dust was starting to settle on this controversy, it has been reported today that Tony Stewart has broken both tibia and fibula in his right leg in a crash at Southern Iowa Speedway, a half-mile dirt oval in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Reports state that Stewart was transported to an area hospital after the accident, and immediately underwent surgery.

Unfortunately, as a result of this latest accident, Tony will not be driving the number 14 car this weekend in Watkins Glen, New York and according to Stewart-Haas Racing, a replacement driver for Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International has not yet been determined. Currently, Stewart is 11th in the standings, and with one victory this season, leads the race for the first Wild Card in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. It’s too early to know when Tony will be returning to racing but for sure he will be out a while so we of course wish him a speedy recovery.

But let’s get back to the debate of today’s post. What are your thoughts about big name racers like Tony Stewart racing in other series at which they risk serious injury and/or time away from their main sport?

Please let us know your thoughts as we are interested to see what people think about this one.

Griswold Family Vacation

For all our visitors that remember the 1980s movie National Lampoon’s Vacation staring Chevy Chase, check out this video of a real Griswold family driving a replica Wagon Queen Family Truckster to Walt Disney World. You have to love the 8 headlights and the flip down rear seating found in station wagons from the 1980s. A blast from the past!