With apologies to Jim Kenzie…

The column by Jim Kenzie published on Saturday October 1st, 2016, needs a little editing. Jim’s words, my words.


Is the time finally right for electrically fuelled cars?

It’s long past time.

There is little doubt that electric motors are a pretty good way to power a vehicle. Maximum torque at zero r.p.m., so excellent launch characteristics and strong acceleration. Low to no noise, compared to ‘infernal’ combustion. And zero emissions from the vehicle itself.

None of this is news. It was all true of the Baker electric, which went out of production in 1916.

The problem with the Baker Electric remains the problem with all modern battery-powered cars.

It’s called “energy density”, which is a measure of how much power you can get per kilogram of weight.

And, frankly, we are a heck of a lot farther advanced now than we were a century ago. Continue reading

I love Jim Kenzie, but…

I’ve read Jim Kenzie’s columns in the Wheels section of the Toronto Star for more years than I can remember.  He’s a great read: informed, enthusiastic, and not afraid to have a politically incorrect opinion about the vehicles he reviews.

I have to take exception to his column in the Saturday, March 12th edition of the Toronto Star.  In it, Mr. Kenzie goes to considerable lengths to declare electric cars a waste of time and taxpayer money.  Let’s take a look at each his arguments. Continue reading

2013 Nissan LEAF versus 2013 Chevrolet Volt

I remember attending a show ‘n shine, where a 50’s something Chevrolet had had its roof chopped and channeled, the springs cut to lower the body over the wheels, enormous header side pipes on the outside of the vehicle indicating exceptional horsepower, and a sign posted on the dashboard, which read:

Get in.

Sit down.

Shut up.

Hang on.

I can’t help but think of that sign in another context, 180 degrees from that 50’s performance Chevy.  The Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Volt promise pollution-free driving, no exhaust fumes, no greenhouse gases, and the ability to charge or fuel your vehicle at home.  Kilometres per charge, cost per charge and kilowatt-hours are the buzz words rather than cam timing, rear axle ratios and Hurst shifters. Continue reading

Best and worst: weird, wacky and wonderful car names – The Globe and Mail

Best and worst: weird, wacky and wonderful car names – The Globe and Mail.

In the Thursday May 30, 2013 edition of Globe and Mail, a wonderful article by Peter Cheney outlines his position on vehicle names. He chooses what he views as the best and worst vehicle names of all time.

Now, let’s see if we can take this a step further. Continue reading

Having been a part of it…

The Big Apple is in full spring mode.  Construction crews abound, traffic is a mess, road crews are fixing pot holes, the Yankees will win the World Series (just ask, go ahead and ask anyone) and the tulips and daffodils are in imminent bloom.

As a matter of fact, there has been much consternation about the Yankees’ chances this year. With the Blue Jays so active in the off season, Alex Rodriguez injured and this season being the swan song of Mariano Rivera, the Yankees are by no means the favourite to win the American League East.  That’d be the Blue Jays.

The New York Auto Show opened to a phalanx of tire kickers and enthusiasts on March 29; by 11am it was difficult to get near the vehicles.  The frenzy of activity so early in the show must give manufacturers, their suppliers and employees some confidence, given the turmoil in the industry resulting from the recession. Continue reading

I want to be a part of it…

As Frank sang, there is only one New York.  In a city with 14,000 cabs, innumerable black cars, SUV’s the size of small apartment buildings, and one of the finest transit systems in the world, it’s amazing that there are so many new car/truck/SUV/CUV/SAV introductions in Gotham.  The New York Auto Show runs from March 29 to April 7, 2013. Continue reading