Victoria Corvette Club 2013 ‘Glass on the Grass’

It was a beautiful warm day this past Sunday May 5th for the 2013 edition of the Victoria Corvette Clubs annual ‘Glass on the Grass’ car show at Queen Alexandra Hospital. Cam Johnson and his crew couldn’t have planned it any better. The event drew a large number of old and new corvettes with a mix from 1960 up to 2011. I managed to talk to a number of the owners and it was obvious they were passionate about the marque and loved to tell anyone who would listen about their cars. Norm Reid’s silver on red Sting Ray especially caught my attention, I being partial to interiors other than black and he was rewarded with the people choice award for his efforts. Other notables included Jim Sloan’s, 1960 roadster  which I gathered is a regular winner and it’s not hard to see why along with Jim Morris’s 1963 spilt window coupe and ken Searle’s 67 roadster. Special mention goes to Bob Davidsen who drove down from Campbell River in his 1980 C3 to be a part of the show.  There were certainly many cars both original and modified where the owners pride in their car was very evident.  You can see a couple of the cars featured on Tim’s Car Talk home page. If you own a corvette or are thinking of getting one this club is a must as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, a very friendly and fun group. Check out the photos (first gig with the new camera) from the 2013 ‘Glass on the Grass” in the photo gallery.

But I Want That One!

Recently when Marilyn and I were looking to buy a new car to replace our VW Golf, we tried a number of cars in the premium small sport hatchback class. The VW turbo Beetle, The Fiat Turbo Cinquecento, and the Mini Cooper S. You can see where we were going with our selection criteria, small, fast, and lots of cool factor. What we really would have like to have tried out is the Audi A1 Sport, but unfortunately Audi has decided we in North America don’t deserve it. I’m not sure why – my guess is that the US drives car demand in North America (NA) and Americans are just not into small sporty hatchbacks. While in Europe, we see the Peugeots and Renaults that we are missing out on and recently while in Shanghai got to see the new VW Sciracco up close, very cool. I’m sure there are probably many more out there that we will just never get a chance at here, and it’s too bad. I’ll pick on Audi as they are the one auto maker that seems to have abandoned the small car market in NA in spite of their growing market share. They seem to be concentrating in the high-end large sedan and SUV market with lots of performance and technology, but even BMW and Mercedes are looking at smaller offerings for the NA market very soon.

The A1 sport would have been my choice as it has that UR Quattro heritage about it at the top-end sporting a 182 bhp 1.4 TFSI that would give the Mini Cooper S a run for its money. The basic A1 is also available in  tamer 120 bhp version all the way down to a 84 bhp 1.2 and  if you’re looking for real fuel economy, a TDI that gets an incredible  74.3 MPG! While the A1 is generally not available as a Quattro, there will be 333 special edition Quattros produced in 2013. To buy one, you will need to live in Europe and dig deep in you wallet as they will cost you a whopping $69,000! A bigger challenge is they were all apparently pre-sold. In comparison, the top of the line A1 Black edition will cost you just under $30,000.

The A1 was recently awarded the 2013 Peoples Choice award in the compact car category and by all accounts is a huge sales success. We all know that Europe has long been driving small cars given the price of gas and the narrow roads but come on Audi, give us a chance to give it a try! As usual, you can limit the options and engine choices but I’m sure if it was available here it would be a success too. Until then, Marilyn and I will continue to zip around in our new Mini Cooper S.

2013 Old English Car Club Restoration Fair & Swap Meet

This annual (8th) event was held this past Sunday April 14 at Heritage Acres in Saanichton to kick off the car season. The weather managed to clear and the event was well attended with lots of cars from the Jaguar, MG, and Mini car clubs on display along with some great old motorcycles. As well there was a good selection of vehicles and parts for sale. On my arrival I was surprised I was entitled to Park in ‘British Car’ parking area due to me arriving in my wife’s new Mini Cooper S. My observation is that  a good time was had by all and I certainly enjoyed meeting the people I did while walking about and then while enjoying a delicious hot dog from the cookhouse! Check out the pictures in the photo gallery.

Affordable Collector Cars

My good friend Neil recently acquired a new car.  Neil has gone through many cars over the years and always seems to find these gems illustrating that the collector car hobby can be done for reasonable money if you look hard enough.It’s a bit of a project but that is half the fun, Neil’s story;

The elegant BMW 635 (E 24) has long been high on my auto “bucket list”. I started noticing this 1986 635 CSI on Used Victoria in late 2012. At $3,900 the price seemed quite good. I e-mailed the owner who mentioned some rear wheel well rust and a couple of other issues and I lost interest. One sunny Saturday I ran into the Service Mgr. of VCM Auto (more on them later) and mentioned the car. Not only did Ross know the car, they had sold it to the current owner in the 90’s, and had worked on the car for quite a few years. He said it was originally a southern US car and the owners had taken good care of it. My interest was piqued.
When I looked up the listing to show my wife (I have learned not to buy first and beg forgiveness later), the price had dropped to $2,400. I called the owner and said I’d be by the next day and he could consider it sold. A week later I brought her home.
The good news: original Alpine White paint and Llama beige leather interior with no cracks or tears. Purchased originally in San Deigo. Gently driven by the seller’s wife and garage kept in Oak Bay. Owner’s manual, sales brochures and all bills since they bought the car. The not so good: assorted electrical glitches, virtually tread less Michelin Pilot tires, a mystery leak of hydraulic fluid and the aforementioned wheel well rust; like so many car owners they had washed and waxed the car regularly, but never bothered to wash out the wheel wells. On my first go at them I washed out about thirty pounds of packed dirt.
The car spent an entire month visiting the folks at VCM in Chinatown. They are just great and know their BMW’s. Most of the wait was for a new brake booster to arrive from Bavarian Autosport to solve the leak (the car has hydraulically assisted ABS brakes). The 635 went in with a long to “To Do” list and came out with a three page invoice, but it was worth it. They repaired/replaced several things I hadn’t even noticed, but also confirmed that the car was still in very good overall condition.
Next it was off to have a new set of Hankook Optima tires installed. It’s getting hard to locate 14″ tires these days as new cars aren’t being made with them. The 635 originally came with rare 15.5″ TRX wheels, but most owners switched these out due to astronomical tire costs.
The Collector Vehicle plates are arriving this week. Then it’s time for some serious detailing and getting some quotes for the bodywork. And some good summer drives. Stay tuned.

Cars and Coffee Update

I attended the Catalina Grillhouse on Saturday at 5:00 and met an interesting and enthusiastic group of  collector car enthusiasts who are keen to see a new cars and coffee event take place there on Saturday evenings. The owner of Catilinas was also very keen to support the event, offering to bring out the barbeques and make lots of dedicated space for the cars and those wanting to come out and check out the cars. Although due to the weather none of us brought our cars to the meeting there was one surprise for the group, James brought his new 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo. If that is any indication of the quality of the cars to expect I think we are in for a great summer.

New Saturday Evening “Cars and Coffee” Planned

 

We all know how big the hot rod/ muscle car community’s cars and coffee has been at Franchellis at Royal Oak…it’s a good event, but awfully crowded and hard to park at times.

I’ve recently heard that the Catalina Grill House in Sidney are “all over” developing a cars and coffee style event of their own with a bigger variety of cars, vintage aircraft, live music, coffee and good food – more in tune with the style of the European car picnic at the QA held every August. I’m hoping this means more European and import cars will be there along with the hot rods and American iron. 

The Catalina Grill House is on the airport property adjacent to McDonald Park Road in Sidney. It has tons of safe parking and a great outlook over the airport.

The word is the Catalina Grill House owners are motivated to make a Cars and Coffee social event a success and eventually hope to make it a drop-in social event every Saturday from 5pm on. 

They hope to attract a crowd of like-minded cars and coffee enthusiasts starting Saturday April 6th  at 5pm

 It’s early in the season, but if the weather cooperates I will check it out and report back.

Hope you can make it.. and please invite anyone else who may be interested – the more the merrier!

 

Catalina Grill House & Lounge. 202-9800 McDonald Park Rd, SidneyBC V8L 5W5

http://catalinagrillhouse.com/

 

Why Start a Car Website?

One thing I had always wanted to find was a website where I could go to find out what was happening in the local Victoria, Vancouver Island and Pacific Northwest car scene and find links to all those other sites that are car-related that I follow. In discussing this with my wife Marilyn on many occasions, she finally said why don’t you build one? Well it’s not that I didn’t want to do it, I just didn’t know how to go about it, then I got introduced to WordPress. This is supposedly the tool for the “do-it-yourself “website builder and is very easy for the novice. Right, what was I thinking! It turns out it’s not quite as easy as they make it out to be. After many, many hours of frustration working on it with help from my friend Jo-Lee and video’s on YouTube, I’m finally ready to put it out there.

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I’ve started out with a simple website (my lack of website skills probably is a factor as well) in the hopes that over the next six months with feedback from readers and meeting people at events it will evolve in to a significant resource for all things car. While my main interest is sports cars (sorry, anything with four doors is not a sports car) and sports car racing I also am a keen follower of Formula 1, hence the planned trip to Montreal this year. Of course there is still Goodwood and Monterey etc. on my list, but maybe next year. In the meantime I’ll continue to enjoy the many amazing vehicles, owners and  shows right here in Victoria and Vancouver Island and of course there is the weekly Saturday evening at Francelli’s.

I know there are so many more knowledgeable and interesting car people out there, events I haven’t included in the calendar, and hidden treasures in garages still to be discovered. Your input and ideas will help me make this website a better resource and I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Tim

New Porsche Dealership

Porsche owners will finally get their own stand-alone dealership. The German Auto Import Network is getting ready to build again. The local Porsche dealer is a supporter of the local Porsche club and I’m sure will include them in the invite to the grand opening.

Having recently re-established an Audi dealership, set up a temporary Porsche showroom and built a brand new BMW dealership in Victoria, the company is about to hire contractors to establish a new high-end Porsche dealership and refurbish its recently acquired Volkswagen dealership.

Spokesman Peter Trzewik said a $4.5 million, two-floor, 16,000 square foot building — akin to a “jewelry case” for Porsche’s high-end automobiles — will soon be built near Douglas and Audley streets behind the A&W restaurant. When that is complete, the neighbouring Volkswagen dealership will be brought up to date.

“We can’t wait to start,” said Trzewik, noting the German Auto Import Network had hoped to begin the Porsche construction five months ago. “We have the development permit and the design panel has passed it, we’re just waiting for a building permit.”

“It won’t be a big dealership, but it will be a very nice building and state of the art,” Trzewik said, noting the design is dictated by Porsche.

The entrance to the service department will be from Audley Street with a ramp to the upper car lot. The two-storey building will house the parts and service departments on the ground level with sales above.

The move has been in the works since the network bought Speedway Motors, and its Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen dealership from Roy Passmore in 2011.

Trzewik said neither Audi, Porsche nor Volkswagen wanted to be grouped in one dealership.

“They are somehow all joined at the hip, but they are all very different businesses with different business models,” he said.

So, when the network established the BMW dealership near Songhees, the Audi brand was re-located to the former BMW lot at the corner of Yates and Cook streets. At the same time, Porsche was established in a temporary location at the corner of Blanshard and Caledonia, across from Save On Foods Memorial Centre.

“It’s been fun to bring the dealership into its [individual] brands and to give Audi a home it belongs in,” said Trzewik, noting sales of Audi vehicles have increased by about 50 per cent as a result. “That’s because there’s focus on one brand, not three.”

When it’s complete, possibly by the end of this year, the new Porsche dealership will solve a problem that has developed due to sales and service being separate.

“There is a disconnect now. Porsche customers love seeing their cars from the bottom and talking to technicians. They tend to be motorheads and love talking about their automobiles,” he said.

As for the Volkswagen building, the showroom which had been separated for the three brands will be opened to better showcase just Volkswagen cars and will be expanded to about 7,300 square feet from 6,000 square feet.

The dealership will also be brought more in line with other Volkswagen dealerships, with additional glass and a yellow arch in front replaced with white framing.

The renovation is expected to take about six months, but won’t start until work on the Porsche dealership is complete.

The Volkswagen Group is the world’s third largest seller with 7.14 million vehicles sold last year, trailing leader Toyota and No. 2 General Motors.