How Fast is Safe?

Last week, BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced his ministry is opening up the issue of highway speed limits for review and discussion, mostly in the rural areas where there are long stretches between communities. This will be an interesting process to watch and see if they are serious, or this is just more politics with no real intention of raising highway speed limits. If you are interested in participating in the process, there will be eight forums held throughout BC that the public can participate in. The forums take place in Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Prince George, Dawson Creek, Nanaimo, Chilliwack and Vancouver. With a session in Nanaimo, maybe they will be convinced to raise some of the limits on the Island, especially on the stretch of the island highway between Parksville and Campbell River. The public input sessions are expected to start in November. There is no indications that a website is open yet for input, but we assume it will be through the Ministry of Transportation website.

Along with the public input, a technical review will be conducted to identify areas where speed limit changes would be appropriate. We think that means an overdue increase in speed limits for highways identified to handle it, but unfortunately that is not necessarily guaranteed. In North America, my experience is that we tend to dumb down the speed limits to the those drivers with the least skills and abilities. I was glad to read that the review includes what to do about slow vehicles impeding other vehicles in the left lane. I know there are people out there who think that just because they are going the speed limit they can drive in the left lane without consideration to those who are more comfortable driving faster in line with road conditions, vehicle, and driver ability.

In our opinion, raising speed limits on major BC roads would bring our province in line with the majority of North America and Europe, and recognize that modern cars and highways are designed for higher speeds.

I am encouraged that the Minister did say, “Research around the world suggests drivers who don’t keep up with the flow of traffic, not speeders, cause accidents”. However on the other hand, he indicated in no way would they be creating any ‘Autobahns’ in British Columbia.

We will keep you posted of the timing of the public sessions and when they will be scheduled.

The recommendations are scheduled to be released in 2014.

Supercar Weekend at VanDusen Gardens

The Supercar weekend was held September 7 & 8th at VanDusen Gardens in Vancouver. We attended on the Saturday and as we arrived in the morning the skies cleared and it was a beautiful Day. There is a charge to get in to the event of Fifty dollars for regular admission or one hundred for the VIP ticket along with the appropriate dress code. This is probably the only local show where it was obvious the dress code and looking good was taken seriously, especially amongst the females in the crowd. We decided to splurge and went for the VIP ticket and I can say it was well worth it. As well as getting in to see all the fantastic cars on display we had access to the VIP area which had some very high end super cars as well as a great assortment of delicious food from a number of well known Vancouver restaurants. Also included in the ticket price was beer, wine, and cocktails from various liquor merchants. Even at what seems a high price it is still less than half the cost of most events at Monterey week and the show is just as good.
The cars on display included Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, Maserati, Lamborghini, Pagani, Noble, Bugatti, and Rolls Royce. There were  number of these cars that were being displayed by performance shops that you need to see to believe. The Pagini at $1.8 million was amazing. During the day a number of the cars were fired up just to add some music to the experience. In addition to that there was a great presentation of Porsche’s and Corvettes for their 50th & 60th anniversaries respectively along with American Muscle, Vintage, and Hot Rods. All of very good quality.  Guys, if the women in your life start giving you the gears about going to another car show mention the food, refreshments and oh, the fashions shows being presented as well! I would highly recommend that you put this one on your list if you haven’t been already. If you need more convincing check out the photos.

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Tims Car Talk August 17th

 

2013 Forest Grove Concours d’ Elegance

Forest Grove is not your typical Concours event. What makes a Concours different from a regular car show is that you must apply to a committee to show your car, and the committee decides which cars are accepted. Usually when we hear of a Concours d’ Elegance we think of Emilia Island, Pebble Beach, or Hilton Head Island, where the vehicles are of a premium quality that only the rich and famous can afford – all of which means they will remain on my bucket list under the title of “Must-see one day”. However, there are lots of more modest Concours d’ Elegance, including Forest Grove, set on the grounds of Pacific University.

What sets Forest Grove apart is that it still gets a wide range of great cars but it definitely has a more laid back atmosphere, where the emphasis is more on the cars and having a good time rather than winning. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t good competition for the prizes. We were delighted to see one of Rudi and Company’s cars, a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, up for “best of show”.

For us in Victoria and Vancouver Island, there are three recognized Concours events we can take in over an extended weekend in the Pacific Northwest: Forest Grove, held in July just outside of Portland; Crescent Beach, held at the end of August in White Rock; and Kirkland, held at the LeMay Museum in Tacoma in September. For Forest Grove, we hopped on the Coho to Port Angeles at 10:30am on Friday and because of the back-up once we hit the I-5, we arrived at our hotel in Portland at 6:15pm (according to the GPS, we should’ve arrived an hour and a half sooner). We recommend that you consider taking the 6:00 am ferry to avoid the Friday afternoon crawl on the I-5 and arrive in Portland earlier!

The 2013 presentation of the Forest Grove featured “American Royalty”, a theme that conjures up visions of Grand American touring cars of the 20’s through to the 60’s that really represent the pinnacle of American automotive grandeur of the era and were well-represented.

In addition, they featured the anniversaries of two sports car marques: the Chevrolet Corvette and the Porsche 911. The Corvette, a vehicle that became America’s sports car is now 60 years-old. The 911 Porsche, which set the standard for engineering and performance, has been on the road for five decades now. Both were very well-represented, including my favourites – a 1964 Corvette split window coupe and a 1967 Porsche 911S with a very recent full restoration that ended up being a finalist for “best of show”.

When it came to the awards the two emcees, Keith Martin, publisher of Sports Car Market Magazine and Donald Osborne, writer and co-host with Keith on the show ‘What’s My Car Worth”, did a brilliant job. It took two and a half hours, but they kept it interesting with their conversations with the car owners and informing us on the history of the cars. What I was surprised to learn about these two “car guys” is their background in the arts. Keith studied dance at Julliard in New York and established Ballet Oregon and Donald was a Baritone with the Metropolitan Opera! Donald graced us with his singing of the American national anthem, prior to the start of the awards ceremony.

When it came to “best of show”, it came down to four finalists: a 1973 Porsche 911S; a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster; a 1931 Duesenberg SJ; and, a 1928 Ford Model A pickup. In the end, the 1931 Duesenberg won out and was a well-deserved winner as a fine example of “American Royalty”. Check out the photos of the event in the photo gallery.

Francelli’s Cruise In Will Continue On

Update as of August 7, 2013. It appears the cruise in representatives and Hansbraun Investments Ltd, the operators of the Royal Oak Mall have reached an agreement. According to sources within the car community details are being finalized and the Francelli’s Saturday cruise in will continue. We also hear that some car owners are taking up Langford Mayor Stu Young’s offer to come out to their community on Saturday evenings and he has been out there personally welcoming them. Apparently Stu is a car guy.

Original story July 24, 2013. Last Saturday, Robins Parking started handing out $32.00 tickets  to some of the participants in the ‘Francelli’s’ Saturday Evening Cruise In, courtesy of  Hansbraun Investments LTD, the operators of Royal Oak Mall in Saanich. Some of those ticketed had even purchased items from the shops in the mall! Not only was this a shock for local participants, but it was also extremely embarrassing since some of the deuce coupe visitors to Victoria showed up. (Car guys usually make a point of finding these events while travelling). Word spread quickly and it didn’t take long for everyone to drive off.

This situation had been brewing since the spring when the mall made it known that there were a few merchants not happy with the get together taking place. However, no official notice was given. Apparently the reason is for ‘safety and liability’ issues.

I have a hard time buying that, and others did too. It didn’t take long before the car community lit up the internet with emails and facebook posts about what happened. The Saturday cruise in at Francelli’s had been a long-standing event on the Victoria car scene for over a decade and the social hub for car enthusiast to gather and show off their rides. Living in the area, we have walked to the mall on many occasions to check out the cars, always ran in to friends and definitely never came away without buying something or going to a local restaurant for dinner. The timing of this is unfortunate with Francelli’s being taken over by new owners. Hopefully, in spite of the ill will created towards the Royal Oak Mall, the car community will still support Francelli’s in other ways. I know the Porsche club still meets there on Sunday mornings.

The goods news is the Cruise In has apparently found a new home at the Goldstream Village in Langford. The location features the Goldstream Village Arch and fountain, has ample parking, pullouts to showcase the cars, and many coffee shops, restaurants and other amenities. Mayor Stewart Young and council have issued an open invitation to the group to meet in their community after five o’clock and has welcomed them with open arms, “We look forward to the opportunity to see these amazing vehicles in our community, and wish you continued success”. It appears Langford understands the positive economic impact this will bring from the participants and those who want to check out the cars. Langford’s gain is Saanich’s loss.

See you there.

2013 Porsche 911/50 Revealed in Victoria

On a beautiful sunny Friday, July 5th, the Porsche Centre Victoria held an afternoon reception to show off one of the special edition 911’s produced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic 911. In keeping with the anniversary theme, this was one of only 1,963 produced, making it unique and sure to become a collectible. No need to rush down to buy it as it was pre-sold.

While based on the regular, rear-wheel drive Carrera S with the 395hp (400PS) 3.8-liter flat-six engine, the special anniversary 911 wears the 44mm wider rear body of the all-wheel drive Carrera 4 models. It will be available in two unique colors for this model – a darker Graphite Grey and a lighter Geyser Grey metallic, plus a regular black shade. Besides the ‘911 50’ badge finished in two-tone 3D-style on the rear lid, the special edition features high-gloss window frames, SportDesign exterior mirrors and ‘Fuchs’ style 20-inch alloy wheels.

There are some cosmetic tributes to past 911’s including the Fuch-styled wheels, hounds tooth seat inserts, green labelling on the instruments with white pointer needles and silver caps. It also has ‘911 50’ logos on the seat headrests, the rev counter and the aluminum door sill plates, as well as Porsche exclusive trim on the shifter and door panels.

The 911 50 Years Edition also comes with a sports exhaust system, a specially tuned version of the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) to compensate for the wider rear body, Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with rear limited slip differential, a 4.6-inch color touch-screen for the info- and navigation system, automatic climate control and Bi-Xenon headlights.

A wonderful, modern-day supercar but a big highlight for this event was a number of classics that showed up. This included: a 1956 356 pre-A coupe; a fabulous 1962 356B in slate grey over red interior originally sold in Victoria and just acquired by its third owner; and, a 1973 Carrera RS that was beautifully restored. I had a chance to meet the owners and enjoyed wonderful conversation about their cars. All in all, a great way to spend a Friday afternoon!

Check out all the pictures in the photo gallery.

Announcing our Newsletter

Today we launched our new weekly email newsletter to our subscribers. The email contains that all important info on what’s happening in the next week including shows, swap meets, Cruise ins, and car related events so you don’t miss out. In each issue we will be including info on local car clubs, businesses, cars for sale, interesting things we come across on the web, and suggestions from our readers. Sign up on our contact page and get the email in your inbox and start planning your car weekend!

F1 Montreal 2013

Well we arrived back in Victoria this past Saturday after two weeks visiting Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, and Toronto. Of course the highlight of the trip was taking in the Grand Prix Du Canada Formula 1 activities for three full days culminating in the race on Sunday. This was our first time experiencing F1 in person and I can tell you there is nothing like being there. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a great venue with easy access on the subway from downtown Montreal. Be prepared for a lot of people, quite a contrast to what we are used to in our quiet Victoria. It was unfortunate the weather rained on the festivities planned for the evenings on the streets of Montreal.

 

We had seats three rows up from the track on the exit of the hairpin turn (grandstand 24) with an excellent view of the on track action as well as a large screen keeping us up to date on the action around the rest of the track. Being that close to the track, ear plugs were a must, you cannot believe how loud the cars are accelerating out of the corner, I loved it! It was also a great location for taking pictures. I’ve included a sample of the large number of photos I took in the photo gallery. If you get a chance make sure you attend a n F1 race in person.

 

As well we were treated to a couple of support races throughout the weekend that were well worth watching, Ferrari Challenge Cup, and Porsche GT3. Both of them had a large field of 30 plus cars and they were not afraid to mix it up. Numerous on track skirmishes meant that a number of the cars ended up with significant damage and didn’t finish the race. I’m thinking they may have been watching too much NASCAR.

 

Finally I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the tragic death of Mark Robinson, a track worker killed after the race was completed . Our condolences go out to his family.

2013 Fathers Day British Car Show at Beacon Hill Park

Well the sun was shining once again for the annual Fathers day British car show at Beacon Hill Park put on by the Old English car Club  . Once again there was a wide variety of various British marques on display including Austin, MG, Triumph, Aston Martin, Cooper, Land Rover, Lotus, vintage motorcycles, Jaguar, Healey’s, and an especially a large gathering of Morgans from the Pacific Northwest who had come together.

 

It was great to see so many people out to see these great cars and meet their owners. I was especially delighted to Meet David Keen and hear about his 1976 Aston Martin ‘spec’ Vantage. A very interesting gentleman, with an even more interesting story of how his car came to be and to have the engine that currently powers it.

Check out all the great photos in the photo gallery.

A Visit With Rudi

I first became aware of Rudi and his business, Rudi & Company, in the summer of 2012 when I received my copy of Boulevard magazine and there was Rudi on the cover! I was fascinated as I read the article and discovered that we had a well-known and highly regarded person running an amazing classic car restoration operation right here in Victoria – and this was the first I was hearing about it. I knew I needed to meet him and hear more about his business.

Unexpectedly, I didn’t have to wait long.  A month later, as I arrived in my Audi TT at the August Motor Car Gathering at the Queen Alexandra Hospital to participate in the show, I couldn’t believe my eyes when Rudi himself greeted me! He complimented me on the car, especially the Aviator Grey colour, and requested that the volunteers park me behind a selection of cars he had brought along from his collection. This included his specialty, classic Mercedes Benz 300SL’s! How cool is that? Check out the pictures in the photo gallery.

Throughout the day I managed to get in a few words with him and of his family members and I was truly impressed at how down to earth he was and what a passion he had for the cars – especially those beautiful classic 300SL’s. Just when I thought the day just couldn’t get any better; he extended an invitation to come out to see him and the shop!

Finally, on a recent sunny spring Monday morning, Marilyn and I both took the day off work to take advantage of that invitation. So there we were, standing on the doorstep of Rudi’s office, looking through the open door at a lifetime of collecting Mercedes Benz memorabilia, models and books on the iconic brand. While we waited for one of the shop guys to let Rudi know we were there, both Marilyn and I were continually pointing out some of the interesting stuff and items in the room to each other, including Rudi’s collection of miniature soldiers. I know every car guy wishes he had a room like this and a collection to match.

Rudi soon arrived to greet us and soon we were chatting about him, his family, his history and how he got to where he is today. By all accounts Rudi is recognized as one of the top restorers of 300sl’s in the world and his cars command top dollar at auction. The cars come from all over the world and there is no shortage of work. While we were there the shop was full to capacity and a new arrival was being dismantled outside to start the long restoration process. It wasn’t hard to see it can take up to eighteen months to complete a restoration with the dedication of his long-time professional staff, their eye for detail and quality craftsmanship. During our visit Rudi apologized for the interruptions when his cell phone rang but when customers call – especially from far away places – you need to take the call since you never know who may be on the other end. As Rudi says, “with the value of the cars, we don’t get many local customers.”

Our meeting and tour went by far too fast as we heard fascinating stories and saw some amazing cars that I never dreamed I would see in person – cars in various stages of restoration, and pictures of the special cars his shop has restored. If you are fortunate to get some time with Rudi ask him about the pursuit of the alloy body car, a great story!

Time flew by so quickly and we felt truly honoured that Rudi generously gave us so much of his time. We left letting Rudi know if he ever needed help with an event, transporting cars, or anything that allowed us to hang out with him and his extraordinary cars, that all he had to do was give us a call!

For me, this was truly a very special day and one I will always remember – and my copy of Boulevard is now graciously autographed by Rudi.