The OnStar attendant looked up directions to the Squamish hospital and sent them directly to the vehicle’s navigation system so I was able to get the youngster the treatment he needed.

(more…)

The early morning gut tester of a drive certainly helped showcase the impressively agile and predicable handling abilities of the XT5.

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Hagerty Price Guide shows the values of 1970s Cadillacs to be up 25 percent in just the last three months.”

1974 Eldorardo Convertible
1977-1979 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
1974 Cadillac Sedan DeVille (photo courtesy of Michael Spiller)
1973 Cadillac Eldorado
1972 Cadillac Eldorado
1972 Cadillac Sedan DeVille (photo courtesy of Matthew Brown)
1967 Cadillac Eldorado
1975 Cadillac Coupe DeVille

It’s well known that men of a certain age have an insatiable appetite for Martin Scorsese films.

Few films lend themselves to repeated viewings like the modern classics Goodfellas and Casino. As Gen-Xers (who make up much of the fanbase of 1990s Scorsese films) start to come into some real disposable income, a good number of them seem to have been inspired to collect the cars of their favorite unsavory screen characters – guys with names like Ace Rothstein, Nicky Santoro, Paul Cicero and Johnny Roastbeef. Call it the “Goodfellas Effect” if you want, but the Hagerty Price Guide shows the values of 1970s Cadillacs to be up 25 per cent in just the last three months. Here are four favorites:

1967 Cadillac Eldorado

The 1967 Eldorado was the second shoe that GM dropped after the magnificent 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. Another big GM front-wheel-drive car with fantastic styling, many of its styling cues — particularly the knife-edged rear end treatment — still show up on today’s Cadillacs. Not surprisingly, ’67 Eldos are particularly menacing in black. Although Robert De Niro’s “Casino” character Sam “Ace” Rothstein was fond of newer Eldos, several of the gorgeous older cars show up in the background of the film.

1971-78 Cadillac Eldorado

The 1967-70 Eldo was a paragon of Bill Mitchell good taste. Let’s just say that the 1971-78 Eldo was a bit more Superfly than Don Draper. Still, with its massive 500-cubic-inch V-8, this was a car with more presence than Big Paul Castellano.  They’re all over the film “Casino,” as they were in real life in 1970s Vegas. It’s hard not to start humming Tony Bennett’s “Rags to Riches” when you see one.

1971-76 Cadillac DeVille

At a tick over 19 feet long, the 1971-76 DeVille was one of the largest cars of the decade in exterior dimensions and the largest in terms of interior volume. Trunk size was off the charts — just the thing for “The Simpsons’” resident goodfella “Fat Tony” (voiced by the great Joe Mantegna) to transport his suspiciously body bag-shaped “yard trimmings.” The full-size DeVille was available with an equally massive 500-cubic-inch Cadillac V-8 (incidentally, that’s 0.6 cubic inches for each time the f-bomb was dropped in “Goodfellas”). Not surprisingly, many of these cars were assembled in North Jersey at the Linden Cadillac assembly plant, a stone’s throw from Fort Lee, where part of “Goodfellas” was filmed.

1977-86 Cadillac DeVille

While the DeVille was significantly downsized for 1977, it lost none of its swagger and appeal.  The initial engine offered still displaced 425 cubic inches and somewhat amusingly, the “yard trimming” capacity went up when the trunk size actually increased.  A Coupe de Ville (hot pink with a white vinyl top) led to the demise of Johnny Roastbeef and his wife in “Goodfellas” when Johnny ignored Robert De Niro character Jimmy Conway’s direction not to do anything flashy with the Lufthansa heist money. The window sticker was still on it when Johnny took his last ride

Rob Sass writes for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca.

“There are cars on show for the rich and cars for the super-rich; neither status describes me but it won’t stop me looking.”

 

2016 Cadillac CTS-V
Bentley Mulsanne
BMW i8
Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible
2016 Lexus RC F

You can dream about luxury cars and even touch them at the Vancouver auto show.

2016 Cadillac CTS-V

The new CTS-V is the pinnacle of Cadillac’s renaissance, repositioning itself as a high-performance luxury brand able to compete with the likes of BMW and Audi for the well-heeled 40-something power broker. This 200 mph 4-door sedan houses a Corvette engine, but not just any Vette V8. The 2016 CTS-V is infused with the supercharged 6.2L V8 power plant engineered for the formidable 2015 Corvette Zo6. It eagerly dispenses 640 horsepower and 630 lb.-ft. of torque to the V’s rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission featuring shift paddles. Pulling the CTS-V rapidly down from 200 mph is a set of Brembo cast iron disc brakes, which are more effective at shedding heat than carbon-ceramic setups. No firm price yet.

2016 Lexus RC F

The all-new track ready 2015 Lexus RC F adopts the best of the tuning and technology that went into the Lexus LFA Supercar to create an authentic high-performance coupe. Fully capable of running on a racing circuit and featuring the most powerful Lexus production engine to date – s 467 horsepower 5.0L V8. The Lexus RC F is for those ready to immerse themselves in pure driving pleasure. Available in two models starting from $81,650.

Jaguar F-TYPE Convertible

It’s hard to argue with Jaguar’s description of the F-TYPE as being pulse-quickening. It combines effortless, exhilarating performance, instant response and precise, agile handling with everyday refinement and usability.

The Jaguar supercharged 3.0 litre V6 340 hp engine delivers powerful and efficient performance. Select from a rich variety of colour combinations for body and cockpit. Acceleration is clocked at 0-100 km/h 5.3 seconds, with a top speed of 260 km/h. Priced from $76,900

Bentley Mulsanne            

The Mulsanne is the flagship of this esteemed British marque.

It’s simply sumptuous inside, thanks to the use of finely handcrafted materials and painstaking attention to fit and finish. The dashboard is measured to accommodate the thickness of leather that wraps around it precisely. The infotainment screen it surrounds, meanwhile, can be concealed behind a veneered panel when not required for route navigation, rear camera view or other control functions.

The Mulsanne includes a 14-speaker sound system with Digital Signal Processing (DSP). Audio perfectionists have the option to go even further: the Naim™ for Bentley system comprises 20 speakers, 22 channels and 2200 watts of aural perfection.

Under the hood is a re-calibrated 6.7-litre V8 engine, which generates 505 horsepower and takes the luxury car to 100 km/h in a time that matches the lithe Jag F-TYPE.

Expect to pay at least $480,000.

BMW i8

The BMW i8 is a sports car with the fuel efficiency of a micro-car!

This is possible because the powerful plug-in hybrid system with the combination of BMW eDrive technology and a BMW TwinPower Turbo 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder gasoline engine brings together the benefits of an electric motor and a gasoline engine to produce an outstanding driving experience.

And its efficiency is powerfully aided by the carbon-fibre car’s sleek design. The front appears extremely low and wide and everything is arranged to be optimally aerodynamic.

There are cars on show for the rich and cars for the super-rich; neither status describes me but it won’t stop me looking.

Contact: rrothwell [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

 

 

British Columbia’s SCRAP-IT Program has announced a new incentive program aimed at removing high polluting vehicles from our roads, on the eve of this year’s Vancouver International Auto Show. (more…)

“Its high-powered V variant embarrassed Euro competitors by smashing the production car lap speed record at the revered Nurburgring, in Germany.”

The CTS Sport Wagon (2010–2013) was the first in-house full production wagon (based on a sedan) made by Cadillac.

The CTS has clean, crisp, edgy styling that is distinctively modern Cadillac. The sedan edition of the highly successful rear-drive CTS was introduced for the 2003 model year and captured numerous awards. Its high-powered V variant, which followed in 2004, embarrassed Euro competitors of the day by smashing the production car lap speed record at the revered Nurburgring, in Germany.

These days, wagons are less popular here than in Europe, so the available local used car market pool, for this edition of the CTS, is not a very deep one. North Americans tend to buy utility type vehicles instead of a wagon. A wagon is typically closer to a sedan in terms of driving dynamics, yet has more than double the cargo capability.

A CTS Sport Wagon is a little taller and heavier than the sedan, it offers 736 litres of storage space with the rear seats up, and 1,642 litres with them folded. There’s also a clever sub-floor cargo management system and the rear door is power-operated.

The base engine is a 3.0-litre (255 horsepower) V6 that’s mated to six-speed automatic transmission. The other engine is a 24-valve, 3.6 litre, direct injection (304 horsepower) V6, that provides more torque at lower engine speeds, yet fuel economy is about the same. Using the newly revised rating method, consumption should be about 12.8/8.6 L/100 km (city/highway).

The CTS can also come with an all-wheel drive system that normally splits torque 30/70 front-to-rear, to maintain its sporty (rear-drive) driving dynamic. It’s capable of delivering up to100 per cent of torque to either axle if needed, but there is a small increase fuel consumption.

An interesting adaptive forward lighting system was included in an option package that came with Xenon headlights. This system automatically adjusts headlight direction for improved visibility at night. It can also turn the headlights up to 15 degrees inboard and 5 degrees outboard, providing better vision while cornering.

The big news for 2011 model year was the addition of a, limited edition, high-performance CTS-V Sport Wagon model. Like the V sedan it’s powered by a 556-horsepower supercharged V8 engine and came with 6-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed automatic. You’ll likely pay a $20,000 premium (maybe more) to acquire a (hard to find) used CTS-V Wagon.

The 2012 edition of the CTS Sport Wagon came with a new 3.6-litre V6 engine that is more powerful (318-horsepower) yet lighter than the 3.6-litre engine it replaced. It also came with a new grille, standard Bluetooth and a new option package that made it look like a V Wagon. No significant changes followed for 2013 and it was the last production year of this generation of the CTS.

Although it can be harder to find in the used car market, Sport Wagon adds a handy utility bonus, without destroying the scintillating driving experience that is Cadillac CTS.


 

Price Check: 2010 – 2013 Cadillac CTS (January 2015)

Year                             Edition                                          Expect to Pay Today

2010                         Sport Wagon                                       $17,000 to $21,000

2011                         Sport Wagon                                       $21,000 to $25,000

2012                         Sport Wagon                                       $25,000 to $29,000

2013                         Sport Wagon                                       $30,000 to $35,000

*Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.


 

Safety Recalls: 2010 to 2013 Cadillac CTS:

2003 to 2014: Some drivers may bump the ignition key with their knee and unintentionally move the key from out of the “run” position. A subsequent loss of engine power would unexpectedly increase steering and brake pedal effort, and airbags may not deploy in a collision. Dealers will remove the key blade from the original flip key/transmitter assemblies provided with the vehicle, and provide two new keys and two key rings for every original key.

2009/2010 – A wax coating applied to rear suspension toe link jam nuts may allow them to loosen. This causes a metallic clanking noise from the rear of the vehicle and the toe link could eventually separate. Dealers will clean, install two new jam nuts and, if required, the rear suspension toe link will be replaced.

2011: A loss of grease from the centre constant velocity (CV) joint, on all-wheel-drive editions, can result in vibrations of the propeller shaft. These vibrations may be transferred to a rollover sensor, located on the floor above it, and cause an unwarranted deployment of the side curtain airbags. Dealers will replace the rear propeller shaft assembly.

2012 – The brake booster pushrod retention nut may not have received adequate tightening torque during vehicle assembly and could separate from the brake pedal assembly. Dealers will inspect the pushrod retention nut and, if necessary, torque the nut to specification.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

“Green cars were in evidence in Montreal but when the shows reach the west, you can expect to see many more cars for the eco-conscious drivers.”
(more…)

“Heck, even funnyman Jerry Seinfeld couldn’t miss the Acura NSX reveal as he sat in the front row awaiting its presence…”

**********

Detroit, Michigan.

Within moments of pulling out of a parking lot in the 2015 Cadillac CTS 3.6L AWD, its pristine crimson coat was soiled by the elements. And of course, salt, dirt, grime and all that isn’t amazing about winter in Toronto.

Nevertheless, its smooth and comfortable ride didn’t disappoint along the arduous and incredibly four-plus-hour drive to Detroit, Michigan for the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS.)

I would soon trade in the coziness of heated leather seats – and steering wheel – for a pair of not-so-cozy leather shoes and roam the showfloor to check out what’s hot, cool and what sparkles amidst the industry’s top cars. It would only make sense to start with Cadillac’s latest offering when it comes to their “V” series cars.

At the Los Angeles Auto Show in late 2014, we met the ATS-V – the smaller brother of the mid-sized four-door I drove to Motown. Now, get ready for a performance sedan that will knock your socks off.

Cadillac CTS-V

Arriving late in the summer of 2015, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is ready to take on its German competitors (like the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG) with a whopping 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque.

The all-new third generation sedan is the most power-endowed product the brand has ever created.

But aside from power, you’ll have the luxury of the third generation Magnetic Ride Control to not only blast you through the corners with grace and poise, but with the comfort of being able to drive it around town, or between cities/countries without sacrificing an enjoyable ride. Road or track, I’ll take this one for a spin any day.

Acura NSX

Perhaps one of the most anticipated reveals of the last few years from the Japanese automaker, Acura, comes in the form of the NSX. The acronym, which stands for New Sports eXperience, rolled out onto the stage to a frenzy of flashes from the crowd. Heck, even funnyman, Jerry Seinfeld, couldn’t miss the reveal as he sat in the front row awaiting its presence.

While pricing hasn’t been released yet, it’ll likely be north of $150K.

But, for that price, you get a vehicle that not only delivers gargantuan power, but one that is hybridized thanks to an all-new power unit. That unit is a twin-turbocharged, 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system. Not to mention Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), so it’s a perfect supercar for all seasons.

Chevrolet Volt

Speaking of electric motors, Chevrolet gave us a preview of the 2016 Volt. With a longer EV range and a lighter body, not to mention a new design, this plug-in hybrid is sure to win even more hearts over. Highlights include an EV range of up to 80 km, a new two-motor drive unit, which is now up to 12 percent more efficient and 45 kg (100 lb) lighter than the first-generation drive unit, and a new 1.5L range extender, designed to use regular unleaded fuel, offering a GM-estimated combined fuel consumption rating of 5.7L/100km.

AS Lexus NXB Concept Bike

Lexus NXB Concept Bike

Completely changing gears, atop one of Lexus’ sparking vehicle at their stand was a concept bike that caught my eye. Not only because it was totally out of place at an auto show, but also because it looks so cool. NXB stands for Neo Xtreme Bike and comes with a Lexus original carbon frame, carbon wheels and a KYB inverted suspension up front. Even if it never is ridden, I still like the idea of a zero-emissions commute on something as interesting as this concept.

Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept

For a zero emissions commute that doesn’t require muscles but rather a motor, the Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept is another step in the brand’s commitment to the electrification of automobiles.

It’s still a concept, but it embodies the philosophy of giving drivers over 300 kilometres of range out of one charge, without charging a premium for it.

The concept’s technological prowess can be linked with an App in which you can control various vehicular functions like starting the car from your smartphone. Additionally, it even incorporates the concept of automatic park-and-retrieval technology, which enables the driver to exit the vehicle and tell the Bolt EV concept to park itself – and when errands are completed, the Bolt EV concept can be summoned to return to the owner’s location. Sounds ideal to me!

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

“Post-war cars that swam against the stream of fins, scoops, chrome and decals and were memorable for their elegant simplicity…”

1956 Continental Mk II
1963 Buick Rivera
1953 Studebaker Regal Starlight coupe
1956 Chrysler 300B
1975-79 Cadillac Seville

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow famously wrote, “In character, in manner, in style, in all the things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”

And one could argue that the same is true in automotive design. American car design of the 1950s-1970s was beloved for its flamboyance; here are the best from that bunch of years…


1963-65 Buick Riviera

The 1963 Riviera was the result of GM design head Bill Mitchell’s desire to produce something that was a combination of a Rolls-Royce and a Ferrari. Whether he succeeded in that odd mash-up is debatable, but the 1963-65 Riv was a thing of great elegance and simplicity, particularly the 1965 model with hidden headlamps.

Introduced at the height of Camelot, it was as elegant as Jackie Kennedy.


1956-57 Continental Mk II

The Continental was emphatically not a Lincoln, even though it shared the name of numerous products of that division of the Ford Motor Company. For two brief years, Continental was a division unto itself and the Mk II may well have been the most elegant post-war car built in America. Costing the then-unheard-of sum of $10,000 (the equivalent of almost $87,000 in today’s money), the care and craftsmanship that went into each car ensured that Ford still lost money on each one.

Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor were all Continental owners.


1953 Studebaker Regal Starlight coupe

Famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy put together a team of talented designers that included Robert Bourke to design a car like no other of the 1950s. Low, sleek and incredibly elegant, the Regal Starlight is largely forgotten today by all but the most diehard car collectors and fans of the long-defunct Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana.


1975-79 Cadillac Seville

In a decade not necessarily known for elegance (heaven knows how many high school kids rode to prom in dad’s Seville wearing powder blue polyester tuxedos), the Seville stood out against the odds as a particularly elegant design. Not only was it handicapped by being a product of the 1970s, but it was the first time that a substantial number of Chevrolet components were used in a Cadillac (it shared the same underpinnings as the Nova). But this was no Cimarron. The first-generation Seville was elegant, restrained and every bit a Cadillac. Although it was the smallest car in the lineup, it was the most expensive and it looked the part.


1956 Chrysler 300B

The first of the 300 “letter-series” (the 1955 C-300 was never actually called the “300A”), it was probably the prettiest Mopar design of the 1950s. Its pillarless hardtop design and restrained use of chrome were wildly inconsistent with the over-the-top performance that the car was capable of delivering from its 355-hp, 354-cubic-inch Hemi V-8. It terrorized NASCAR back in the day.

Rob Sass is the vice-president of content for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca

“As cool as the Chev Chaparral concept is, I am not sure I’d really love to drive a car that I sit head first in – think of the Olympic sport – the skeleton!”

Chaparral Gran Turismo
Chaparral Gran Turismo
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept
Ford Explorer
Ford Explorer
Ford Mustang Shelby

Los Angeles, California.

The 2014 Los Angeles International Auto Show debuted some brilliant vehicles that will (and won’t) be coming to the streets near you.

Whether it’s an all-new sedan/coupe, a car that will take you from point A to B, or a vehicle that was designed for the virtual world, the Golden State’s auto show had all of the above and more. Here’s a look at what the North American manufacturers have been up to in the last while. (more…)

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