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Tuesday
Sep302014

Ferrari

With all the recent talk about Ferrari, it is appropriate to end the month with thoughts from The Colonel on Ferrari. Although he already mentioned his opinion a few days ago.

Lets get going...

Q: Colonel Good Morning, how long have you been aware and experienced Ferrari's?

A: Its been a few decades.

Q: A few decades, what an understatement, the plate on that car is from 1965, its almost 50 years.

A: Told you it was a few decades...(sly grin).

Q: It was literally in the early days of Ferrari in Montreal.

A: Yes...the early days, George Wooley, Luigi (Luigi Della Grotta) and Nicola the official mechanics in Montreal.

Q: There must have been something magical about the cars back then.

A: Totally magical, being up close and getting the occasional ride in Ferrari's were memorable experiences that endure a life time.

Q: At one point Ferrari's moved away from the "artisanal" realm into a more structured dealer network.

A: Obvious...they did, and for some reason an element of the magic was gone, although the occasional visit to Luigi's shop in Ville St.Laurent would still fire up the magic.

Q: Luigi had a shop downtown?

A: Originally it was on Ste.Catherine on the second floor, a small place with a sliding fire door, then he moved to Ville St.Laurent...Luigi was a mythical figure in Montreal.

Q: You are still a Ferrari fan.

A: Absolutely...I still vividly remember a ride in a Daytona Spyder on a beautiful sunny day.

Q: What was it with the musica?

A: It was the 12 cylinders, mechanical lifters, Weber carbureters, today its the flat crank on the V8's.

Q: You saw Gilles Villeneuve win the first Grand Prix in Montreal.

A: Yes...on a cold blustery October day, a magical moment, Montreal, Ferrari, first Grand Prix. 

Q: You had bumped into Villeneuve a few years earlier.

A: Yes...in the pits at Trois Rivieres in 1976 he was driving in Formula Atlantic, it stuck me that he was a physically small individual. But he was huge and fiery on the track, fearless.

Q: Perhaps a little too fearless.

A: Yes...you sort of knew how it was going to end, and surely Enzo Ferrari also knew.

Q: Lets fast forward to today and the dramatic changes at Ferrari.

A: Ferrari almost sold to Henry Ford, they had a gentlemen's agreement on the deal, which Enzo at the last minute reneged. Henry got pissed off, and beat Ferrai for a few years at LeMans, with the GT40's of the time. Then Gianni Agnelli bought Ferrari through Fiat. While Enzo remained the supreme ruler of Ferrari.

Q: The Agnelli sphere of influence and style is long gone at Fiat, and perhaps di Montezemolo was the last hold over at Ferrari.

A: Precisely...these folks were like Italian royalty, and automotive royalty.

Q: Today its the Elkann sphere of influence at Fiat, and Sergio Marchionne.

A: Yes...it is (lets not forget that Fiat was in trouble, Sergio got Wagoner of GM to pay 2 Billions to get out of the "put option" to acquire Fiat).

Q: The global luxury markets are shifting.

A: Absolutely, we all know where, or we should.

Q: Raising Ferrari production might not dilute the brand in established markets.

A: Ferrari is at the top of their game in established markets. Its the new markets that require additional production.

Q: You cannot be a global brand without a compelling presence in the emerging global luxury markets.

A: Precisely...you guys are good. There is an analogy between George Wooley, Luigi, Nicola from way back in the day, to Enzo, di Montezemolo, today, and 20 years from now.

 

 

Monday
Sep292014

Its 8 Years

What a way to start the week, its 8 years that we publish Strada.

Thank You...a huge Thank You to all the folks that read our publication, and have encouraged us through the years.

If anyone would have told us 8 years ago that we would still be publishing Strada at the time we would have drawn a blank stare, and said..."Let's see, who knows".

On our 4th anniversary we looked back...click.

We don't usually honk our horn, but on an anniversary its opportune to do a modicum of horn honking.

Thank You...

Again Thank You to all the folks that interact with us, the manufacturers that provide vehicles for our reviews, and visitors that arrive on Strada often by chance and on a mobile device.

Thought Leadership...

We exert a robust thought leadership in the auto sphere, and more important in the real world. A myriad of events/circumstances have unconditionally confirmed that our thought leadership makes a difference. Obvious no one will admit that they have been influenced, provoked in one fashion or another.

Passion...

Its the "energy" that powers Strada. 

Auto Business...

Our passion permeates most aspects of the auto business, from cars, trucks, dealers, manufacturers, motorcycles, electric vehicles...we are passionate. By now you know that we have a profound knowledge of the business.

The Colonel...

Who is this guy? It started years ago as a glancing comment from the Strada Crew, and its till going strong. 

Niche...

Strada is unique, we are in the auto business, in the thought leadership business, we are not in the news or eyeball business. Lets not omit that we are in the passion business.

Platforms...

Our content is proprietary to only Strada, as you know we have several platforms...Click.

Mission...

Its a constant "Passion in everything that we do. We don't follow we lead".

 

 

Saturday
Sep272014

Lancia Fulvia Zagato

The Lancia story with Jay Leno...

 

Friday
Sep262014

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Painting by Jay KokaIts Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti. Join the conversation, leave a comment.

Even Blackberry who at one time was the undisputed leader (think Cadillac) in smart devices, recalibrated their price (lower than the competition) with their new offering. 

Today we talk about safety, flaws, and recalls. During the glory days of muscle cars the one constant was that you could not stop them. These cars had 400 HP under the hood, and 200 HP in braking capabilities, and it was perfectly normal. 

Imagine the digital comments that would flow today "Little Johnny just acquired XYZ with a high performance engine, bench seat, lap belts, manual steering, manual drum brakes". You can finish the story that on a Saturday night Little Johnny and his friends were exuberant......

In hindsight it was a good thing that most of those cars had 3.55 - 3.73 - 4.11 gears in the differential and would run out of revs keeping the terminal speed somewhat lower, although the acceleration was constantly overpowering the brakes. 

We are on the cusp of our 8th anniversary of publishing Strada, stay tuned.

We often hear from a real estate perspective the glut of condos being built in Toronto as an example. Interesting that no one mentions the lack of parking facilities for many of these condos. Let's look at a simple example, a 500 unit condo with only 50 underground parking spaces. Of the 50 spaces many will be occupied by a car sharing service.

Last week Thoughts on Cadillac generated interest. This week Cadillac announced their move to New York City. What do you think? 

Impressive photo gallery of the Goodwood Revival 2014 Behind the Scene

 

 

Thursday
Sep252014

Orange Julep

Lets go back a few decades during the halcyon days of muscle cars. In Montreal the Orange Julep's, the one on Decarie (still there today) and the one on Lajeunesse (replaced by a McDonald) were the gathering place for muscle cars on Wednesday nights.

There are gatherings of the same cars at the Julep on Decarie. Back in the day the same gathering, the same cars, with a different mind set.

Anecdote:

Harold Cummings (the Chevrolet dealer that catered to the muscle car set) was literally across the street from the Julep.

Even muscle cars had a 4 year/50,000 mile powertrain warranty, it was no secret that if an engine grenaded the service folks at Harold Cummings never saw the "non stock" intake manifold, carburetor, camshaft. 

What was under the hood:

The various conversations always gravitated to what was under the hood, and what was done to modify what was under the hood. What was under the hood was often cloaked in discretion. Its a this or a that omitting to mention the various modifications. 

The cars were often base 2 door coupes with a bench seat, and a shifter emerging from the floor, traction bars you could see, a pinion snubber on the differential was more challenging to detect.

The Julep was the gathering place, the conversation was "what is under the hood" and potentially which car might be faster in a 1/4 mile.

Where is the quarter mile:

The Julep on Decarie is relatively close to Dorval (at the time) today its Trudeau Airport, and from Decarie, and the Trans Canada, it was quick to access several roads in the vicinity of the landing strips. Obvious one of these roads had a 1/4 mile clearly marked, and was easy to block at either end.

You can imagine the rest...

Agreed, today it would be considered dangerous, reckless, back then when cars barely had seat belts, and minuscule drum brakes, the cars were inherently dangerous...the rest was considered fun.

At the Julep on Lajeunesse...

It was simpler, with the traffic light at Lajeunesse and Fleury, Lajeunesse is a single direction street (one way) it was ideal. After a couple of runs as you can imagine the police would appear. The cars were always parked adjacent to Lowney's which was closed at night.