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Buick Riviera

Some cars are enduring, and the 63-65 Buick Riviera has been capturing The Colonel's attention for a few decades.

This morning The Colonel is with us, lets see what it is about the Riviera.

Q: Good Morning, you look well tanned.

A: Yes...working outside on week ends will do that.

Q: What is it about the 63-65 Riviera?

A: Lets start with Buicks of that vintage that have always fascinated me for a myriad of reason.

Q: Do you have a few reasons.

A: The nail head engine with the spark plug covers, and marine green was always of interest.

Q: The Dynaflow transmission

A: Not so much, it was hideous at the time compared to an Hydra Matic in Oldsmobile or Cadillac.

Q: Back to the Riviera

A: The 63-65 Riviera's were totally cool in their day, and they still are. Brilliant styling, with a European look about them.

Q: The styling was the first thing.

A: Absolutely, those cars were cool, they looked cool, European, flowing lines, a luxury coupe by today's perspectives. The grille, hidden headlamps, small tailights.

Q: The nailhead

A: Obvious the nailhead, ideally with dual quads merely enhanced the coolness of the car. Remember that 50 years ago nailheads had a hot rodding history too.

Q: The interior

A: The dash for its day was stunning with the center of the dash and console, wood paneling, and an almost 4 bucket seat layout.

Q: You could almost put a center screen like today's cars.

A: Precisely...really cool dash for the day.

Q: Its was not a sports coupe.

A: Buicks by their DNA were cruisers, and the Riviera was the ultimate cruising coupe.

Q: We heard rumours that at one time you were looking for a Riviera.

A: Yes...casually looking, and never landing on the right car, the right opportunity, the right deal. Its like the pieces of the puzzle never wanted to fit.

Q: Then life progresses, and other priorities take center stage.

A: Yes...and just imagine old Rivieras in Montreal, and corrosion, need I say more.

Q: But its still a cool car

A: Absolutely, a 63-65 Riviera from my perspective is still a a very desirable cool car.




Monthly Incentives

If you have been in the auto business for a while (decades) you hopefully remember when customer incentives were extremely rare to non existent.

The spread between cost including holdback and MSRP was appreciable, while appraising a trade in was often a form of cosmic guesswork.

The month started on the 1st and ended on the 30th or 31st.

It all worked, although many consumers had a presumed low opinion of auto dealers.

Today the spread from cost to MSRP is dramatically less, while software can appraise a trade in (almost).

There are ongoing consumer monthly sales incentives from various manufacturers.

Since CMS (Citizen Main Street) started playing out dealers waiting towards the end of the month for a better deal. The incentives gather an appreciable amount of momentum at the end of the month, to align with the waiting for month end mentality.

As you know the advertising for the incentives is widespread on all of the various platforms print, radio, TV, Internet, always with a sense of urgency, that its only good till June 1st this month.

The advertising makes it look as if its almost free, or close...only so much per month, bi weekly, or weekly, at such a low rate, for such a term. In a subdued voice (on the radio) the down payment is mentioned.

Its working every month...think about this for a moment.

The month end rush powered by incentives to close deals, and capture opportunistic deal seekers.

In addition to the myriad of e-mail and texting activity, and the usual one dealer making an additional effort to earn the business and close the deal.



The Suburban

You certainly do the same, scanning the vehicle landscape when driving. We do it all the time, while vehicles grasp our attention for one reason or another. Having one form or another of a "cool factor" is helpful in catching our attention.

How often do you see a Suburban with the base steel wheels?

Here is the deal:

A couple of weeks ago driving on a 400 series highway we come up to a black Chevrolet Suburban with the base silver steel wheels in the middle lane.

First thought is who would acquire such a Suburban?

Its so plain looking that it attracts attention.

Agreed it takes all sorts of vehicles to enrich the diversity...but still such a plain full size Suburban is a rare sight.

By now we have passed the Suburban...and thats it...enough attention on a plain Suburban.

Until the Suburban changes to the left lane, and from the rear view mirror we notice the "hockey pucks" on the roof.

Now we know who acquired such a plain Suburban with steel wheels. The folks that have vehicles with hockey pucks on the roof.




Go for a Drive

Impressive 1960 250 SWB Berlinetta Ferrari that was auctioned yesterday at Villa d'Este by RM...enjoy the drive.



Testarossa to the Sahara

A fascinating adventure...




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

A few days ago we caught practice runs for the Indy 500, which is this coming Sunday. First thought was that they were going fast we saw speeds of 224 MPH...first blush the speeds from our perspective were high, and normal for Indy. The second thought, if anything happens at those speeds with the aero packages it immediately becomes an horrific situation.

Subsequently we see photos of cars landing in the catch fences, and James Hinchcliffe being injured. You have to wonder if the powers to be at Indy have thought it through that over 220 MPH can lead to airborne cars, and injuries. Agreed the art is to go fast at Indy. Just saying...

A fascinating interview with Rick Mears and driving at Indy.

Takata resurfaced on the various media platforms this week. How do you recall something like 34 million air bags? Many on older vehicles that have changed owners several times. If you got the impression that in Canada no one wants to get remotely close to the situation of potentially recalling and replacing over 3 million air bags...we share your thoughts.

Do you remember the onset of the GM ignition switch debacle and only 13 deaths?

If you are the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs and can't win playing the game, have run out of options to attract a fresh paying attendance to the game. Hire a winning coach on a long term contract to bring fresh hopes and keep the money machine going.

At Kia Canada, Maria Soklis has left to join Cox Automotive in Canada. To say the least the various press releases regarding the move had some awkward timing.

The new Camaro...a little smaller, a little lighter, with a stout small block motor what else is there to say.

Think about this, adaptive cruise control has become a standard feature on many vehicles, a few years ago it was a huge novelty. It reinforces the rapid progress of tehcnology.

In case you missed our review of the 2015 Durango R/

Superlative photo gallery of the Mille Miglia.




Koenigsegg Trevita

An informative walk around of the Koenigsegg Trevita CCXR with Jay Leno




Money for the Deal - Revisited

Have you noticed the ongoing concern regarding auto loans. Consumers are getting in perhaps precarious situations with auto loans.

Agreed loans have increased appreciably during the past few years in pace with increased auto sales in Canada, accompanied by the increased participation of banks.

The old model was based on ownership and equity. Under these antiquated perspectives auto loans are out of control and are headed for a day of reckoning.

A couple of years ago, and it still resonates we shared our thoughts with Money for the Deal. As we say...we don't follow we lead, we were prescient back then as to where it was headed. While no longer subscribing to the old ownership and equity model.

Lets look at a few relevant points from back in the day:

  • Financial services are an intrinsic part of the auto business. In addition to being lucrative to the providers of these services.
  • Back in the day when these services were provided by "captive" (owned by the manufacturer) serive providers, the model was based on ownerhip and equity.
  • The advent of leasing, especially for luxury cars (to improve the affordability) initiated a change.
  • A myriad of forces constatntly trying to keep Canadian banks out of the mainstream financing upheld the conservative status quo.

The Canadian consumer enabled and empowered by manufacturers, and financial service providers has evolved from owenership to mobility, from equity to cash flow. There is no desire to own a technologically complex vehicle beyond the warranty period. With a limited desire to invest/spend money maintaining a vehicle.

Lets look at a few relevant points from today:

  • Manufacturers subsidise the financial services although money is cheap, its even cheaper for autos loans and leases.
  • Although the finance terms are longer, the trade cycles are a constant, as well as the monthly payments.
  • Negative equity is manageable within the current parameters.
  • There is an uptick in leasing penetration to alleviate the longer finance terms.
  • Monthly manufacturer incentives erode the value of used vehicles.
  • Manufacturers and dealers require recent model trade ins/lease return to uphold their CPO programs.

Until we view the auto business and the financial services from the old perspective of ownership and equity the current model makes little sense and is a recipe for disaster.

Under the current model of mobility and cash flow. The pressure is on the manufacturers to provide relevant financial services that are responsive to consumers. More important to uphold the trade cycle of 36 months.

From our perspective the Canadian consumer is WINNING. While the new model has generated record sales in Canada.

What do you think?



Mille Miglia - Stirling Moss

Remarkable video of Stirling Moss recounting his win from 60 years ago...enjoy.




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, come in make yourself comfortable, we have the usual cappuccino and biscotti join the conversation.

Yes...its the middle of the month.

We have been in a position to buy "premium" gas for decades. Did you notice that Shell just launched V Power Nitro + . Agreed most gas is the same premium from one brand or another is the same stuff. As well it might depend on what batch is in the underground tanks. 

A few years ago we noticed that Shell V Power in our vehicles had a bit more substance, and on the highway the fuel economy was incrementally better.

We recently tried a batch of Nitro+ at first blush it has more substance. If you have an almost empty tank, your vehicle requires premium, try Nitro+ and tell us if you also notice a seat of the pant difference.

Lets be up front, you don't even want to think about it, but the occasional collision does occur, and at one time or another we have all been involved in some sort of collision. Obvious that up until its only metal its a big deal, but not a big deal. Hopefully you have never been injured.

If you are wondering who is at fault in the various situatons that can occur. Take a look at this informative article by Kanetix that includes diagrams 10 Accidents And Who Is At Fault.

Did you know, its the 60th Anniversay of Stirling Moss and Dennis Jenkinson winning and setting a record for the Mille Miglia in a 300SLR. It was a magical moment 60 years ago, that still captures the imagination today.

An impressive photo gallery of the California Mille.

Have a wonderful long week end.