Rush song called Red Barchetta

As a Canadian, I know a bit about the band Rush – that they sold over 40 million records, and that they continue to sell out shows across the world 30 plus years after their peak fame.  But to be honest, I wasn’t familiar with their song catalogue – I really only knew their smash hits Tom Sawyer and Closer to the Heart.  Recently however, I stumbled upon Red Barchetta, a cool song from their massive album, Moving Pictures.

Red Barchetta

Red Barchetta

The song’s lyrics tell a futuristic story where traditional combustion vehicles have been banned by “the Motor Law”. The singer’s uncle has one of these illegal vehicles, a “Red Barchetta” sports car which has been secretly kept in pristine condition for 50+ years. The uncle keeps it hidden at his secret country home which was a former farm. Every Sunday, the nephew sneaks out to this location and goes for a drive in the countryside.

“Before the Motor Law…My uncle preserved for me an old machine..For 50-odd years…To keep it as new has been his dearest dream…A brilliant red Barchetta…And on Sundays I elude the eyes…Tires spitting gravel. I commit my weekly crime.”

Very interesting lyrics for 1981 and a little apropos in 2017 with the manual transmission essentially dead and all the buzz of self driving cars.  Rush definitely was forward thinking when they came up with this hit.

CVT Transmissions…

After a recent encounter with a deer in West Virginia left our beloved Ford Escape a write-off, it was time to go SUV shopping.

My wife and I looked at different models including the Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder and decided on a low mileage 2014 Pathfinder SL model.  It had all the features we wanted, the price was right and a good friend of mine also had one that he was very happy with.  Now of course in parallel, I had spent countless hours researching the Pathfinder (anyone that knows me understands this is not a chore for me) and was aware of a class action lawsuit in the US focused on the CVT transmission.  However, that did not dissuade me – I thought it was still small numbers that were affected, we liked the way the car drove, the price was right and Nissan has always made great products.

Well, everything was great for the first seven weeks of owning the Pathfinder until this happened…

The rescue begins.

The rescue begins.

That’s right…our new ride was being towed away by Nissan Roadside Assistance only seven weeks after we bought it.

We had it taken to Maple Nissan where we purchased the car. The team there was great and stepped up to fix the issue right away. One week later we were back on our way with a new transmission installed.

Back in action.

The CVT (continuously variable transmission) has been a bit of a negative word over the years with the world of mechanics, but the technology has seen significant improvements recently. Today, many manufacturers are using this type of technology in a broad range of vehicle models.

Designed primarily to enhance fuel efficiency, the CVT is an automatic transmission that can seamlessly change through a continuous range of gears.  As a car guy, I had always been slightly weary of them because there has been negative press citing an increase in cabin noise, unnatural driving feel and originally they were not designed for towing.

Our whole experience does make you a bit nervous about the long-term ownership costs, especially after reading numerous horror stories about multiple CVT failure. Nevertheless, I’m continuing to stay positive. I suppose it is not a bad thing to get a new transmission at 53,000 KMs if you plan to keep your vehicle for the long-haul.


Canadian Star Trek “Boogie” Van is up for sale

We could not pass up sharing this story that came out in a number of news outlets including Jalopnik and the Toronto Star recently.  A Vancouver man has put his 1978 GMC G15 Vandura “Boogie Van up for sale on Craigslist.

This is no ordinary van.  It’s covered with Star Trek themed murals including images of the cast mates of the original show along with a topless alien woman. Interestingly, the airbrushed designs were all painted by Toronto artist Gordon S. Roy in 1980.  I will let you come to your own decision on this one, but you do have to admit it seems like quite the vehicle for only $9500.

Star Trek van

Star Trek van

De Tomaso Pantera and a Superformance Cobra

Who says classic cars are just for old guys? Well, here’s a video that may change your mind. Check out this 650 HP Pantera while it plays a little cat and mouse with a Superformance Cobra.  The performance makes me want to buy one of these classic beauties.  Since there really is no substitute in the world for the sounds of a high performance eight-cylinder engine….

Record Setting Burn Across the USA

On Sunday October 20th, Ed Bolian set a new record for driving across the United States of America, in, wait for it, 28 hours and 50 minutes!  Bolian, his co-driver and support passenger, piled into a 2004 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG in mid-town Manhattan and drove at an average speed of 98 mph and a moving average of 100 mph. They stopped for a total of 46 mins along the way and arrived in Redondo Beach, California a little over a day later.

Ed Bolian

Ed Bolian and co-driver Dave Black

Their vehicle, a CL55, had two extra gas tanks fitted that could hold a total of 67 gallons (400 lbs worth) of gas in the vehicle.  This allowed them to travel 800 miles between fill ups (they stopped only three times for gas during the whole journey). They also never took a bathroom break (although one would think the co-driver may have been tempted to sneak one in during the refueling break). Additional equipment in the vehicle included police scanners, CB radios, two GPS units, two iPhones running traffic (and speed trap-related) apps and two laser jammers.

On route

On route

The sub-30 hour mark beats the previous record set by Alex Roy in 31 hours and 17 minutes in 2006.

Read all about the preparation and the journey on Ed Bolain’s blog and over at Jalopnik.

Source: Ed,

California Road Trip Part 1 – Los Angeles area

Earlier this month, Team RedlineNorth had the amazing opportunity to drive the 450 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the ultimate of scenic highways – California State Route 1 also known as Highway One and in certain sections called the Pacific Coast Highway. And of course, as car guys, no such road trip would be done in a simple sedan. Our adventure began at LAX where we picked up our “Bumblebee” yellow Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible from the good folks at Enterprise Exotics.

Camaro SS convertible

Camaro SS convertible

Our first stop was to cruise along the 21 miles of LA’s infamous Mulholland Drive with its incredible curves and vistas of the Hollywood sign and downtown LA.

Halfway up Mulholland Drive

Halfway up Mulholland Drive


Later on, we ventured out to LA’s west side hitting Santa Monica and Venice Beach to catch some of LA’s lively beach scene.  Along with the weekend crowds and beautiful bodies we saw some interesting rides which you would expect to see out this way.

Santa Monica Lifeguard - Ford Escape

Santa Monica Lifeguard – Ford Escape Hybrid

Santa Monica Harbour Police truck

Santa Monica Harbour Chevrolet Police Truck

Venice Beach Bronco

Venice Beach Bronco

Surfer Jeep

Surfer Jeep

In the posh, Marina Del Ray this Rolls Royce sits among ordinary trucks and sedans. Welcome to car crazy California!

Rolls Royce Sedan

Rolls Royce Sedan

Be sure to continue checking back as we post more from our Cali trip including coverage from LA’s Petersen Automotive Museum, Santa Barbara’s Wheels and Waves show and Mazda’s Laguna Seca raceway.

A Font Made By A Car?

While there are thousands of fonts available for download and use on your computer, you may not have heard about a font created by a car. A few years ago two typographers, Pierre & Damien, and a pro race pilot (Stef van Campenhoudt) collaborated to design a font with a car, the Toyota iQ. The following video shows a behind the scenes look at how they did this and then after the video an example of what the resulting font looks like.

iQ Font

iQ Font – Courtesy of thesystemis

It looks kind of like a modern cursive style to us. Considering how it was made it’s pretty good!

You can download the font here.

Drive By Shooting – Using Your Vehicle to Make Better Videos

For all you aspiring film makers or photographers out there, RedlineNorth came across this video made by Vimeo Video School and Neko Neko Films on how to use your vehicle to get better shots. From using your car to get a tracking shot, chasing shot, or even a pseudo helicopter shot, the video goes into all the different effects you can get using your vehicle.

You don’t need a professional camera either to use these techniques.  All in all a pretty cool instructional video.

Happy 1 year anniversary!

Yes, it’s official we have rocked and rolled here at for 1 year now. We originally set out to create a new voice in the automotive media space and the experience has far surpassed our expectations as a learning journey. We have had an absolute blast and met a ton of wicked cool “car” people along the way.

Birthday cake with car theme

Birthday cake with car theme

With our ever-increasing viewership, we are so excited to celebrate this milestone with all our readers from around the World. We continue to strive to create superior stories about cars and look forward to hitting the road in the summer months to experience all the local  shows and events. Over the next year, we aim to continue covering many different manufacturers’ reviews while meeting a range of folks who love cars and trucks as much as we do.

So thanks again to all our dedicated fans here as well as all those that follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to subscribe to the site and continue to keep coming back for more stories at


Team RedlineNorth