Motortopia: Where your passion parks

Motortopia: Where your passion parks.

Why Join Motortopia? So you can participate in groups... Create Group! Join Club! Join Group! Invite Friends!

  1. cars
  2. bikes
  3. boats
  4. planes

Cars > canadianpontiacguy’s Garage > Blog


Canada Day 2011

By canadianpontiacguy

Yesterday, July 1st was Canada Day.
A small album to share with our Canadian and US friends.
The car show took place in Iroquois Ontario Canada, a beautiful little town on the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Enjoy the photos.

Father's Day Car Show

By canadianpontiacguy

Just a few photos to share.
Kemptville is a small but growing town about 1/2 hour drive south of our location in Ottawa.
A very active Car club there, with sponsorship from the local GM dealer.
About 400 vehicles in attendance.
Perfect weather-sunny,low humidity,temperature about 75 degrees.

Victoria Day Cruise-2011

By canadianpontiacguy

Beautiful weather on Saturday (and a long weekend) encouraged us to take a 3 hour trip in "The Pontiac".
It performed flawlessly, and attracted much attention wherever we stopped.
Also lots of "low fives" from motorcyclists out enjoying the clear blue skies and warm temperatures!
Hope you enjoy the photos.


Crown Victoria

By canadianpontiacguy

Well folks, I sold my 1994 "Crown" last night.
As retirement is just 7 months away, it's time to reduce the number of vehicles I have.
It had just under 60,000 miles, and was pretty much rust free.
It went to a friend in the Canadian Armed Forces that I have known for 30 years.
With all that he has been through in the name of democracy,(shot twice in Afghanistan but finished his tour anyway) I couldn't help but see this car go to him.
He also had a 1994 Crown, but with nearly 240,000 miles, it was ready for the scrap yard. Fenders rusting out and tranny ready to give up.
I know that this car will give him a few more years of trouble-free driving, and he tells me that he is already getting compliments of the condition of this "ride".

The next vehicle to sell will be my 1997 Grand Am, to grandaughter Sarah.

End of an Era

By canadianpontiacguy

Article courtesy of Ottawa Citizen newspaper

The board of directors of the Central Canada Exhibition Association voted Thursday to cancel Ottawa’s annual summer fair.

“It was decided that the operation of SuperEx would be suspended for 2011,” association president Mark Lamoureux said Tuesday in announcing the decision.

The suspension marks the first time since 1888 — except for during the First and Second World Wars — that there will be no end-of-summer exhibition at Lansdowne Park.

The exhibition certainly has deep roots in Ottawa’s rural past. It started out in 1888 as a small farmer-oriented fair. Local farmers herded their cows, pigs and sheep to the fairgrounds for judging, while sword swallowers, snake charmers, fat ladies and magicians entertained the crowds. Fairgoers had to take 12-seat horse drawn buses or one of three paddle steamboats on the Rideau Canal to reach the grounds.

Automobiles were no longer a novelty when the races came to town for the Central Canada Exhibition in 1925. But racing was still novel enough to attract large crowds to see vehicles like the Frontenac Ford do battle along a dusty track.

The photo is courtesy of Clifford M. Johnston, National Archives of Canada.

Bitterly Cold Morning

By canadianpontiacguy

A bitterly cold Jan. 24th morning in Ottawa On, at -22F.
We broke a 41 year-old record.

Hope you enjoy the photo of the 1961 Corvair that completed "1265 icy, brutal miles to win 1st overall in the Canadian Winter Rally"

Canadian Police Chase

By canadianpontiacguy

No doubt about it, winter weather conditions in many parts of Canada can be harsh at times. High windchills, heavy snowfall, blizzards, freezing rain and extremely cold temperatures all pose a hazard to those travelling or venturing outside.

Some parts of Canada don't get much snow and ice in winter but many Canadians battle tough weather conditions and slippery roads for almost six months each year.

The ‘white stuff‘ generally starts to arrive in late October and can often stay around until March or later. Although winter weather can be harsh, we are fortunate that the truly ‘deep freeze’ cold snaps tend not to last more than a few weeks at a time and in many parts of Canada the sun shines all winter long, which is a great lift for the spirit.

The James Bond Aston Martin

By canadianpontiacguy

LONDON - An American businessman bought James Bond's 1964 Aston Martin DB5 for 2.9 million pounds ($4.59 million) at a London auction on Wednesday.

The car driven by Sean Connery in his portrayal of the suave but lethal British secret agent in the "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" Bond films was sold to businessman Harry Yeaggy, auctioneers RM Auctions said in a statement after the sale.

"This is a car that I've always wanted, after all it is the most famous car in the world," Yeaggy said in the statement. "My plan is to display it in my private car museum in Ohio just as it is."

Yeaggy is only the second ex-factory owner of the distinctive silver-coloured car. Seller Jerry Lee, an American radio broadcaster based in Philadelphia, PA, purchased the car direct from the Aston Martin Lagonda factory for $12,000 in 1969.

The model was sold complete with its "Q-Branch" gadgets including machine guns, bullet-proof shield, revolving number plates, tracking device, removable roof panel, oil slick sprayer, nail spreader and smoke screen.

Several of the gadgets are fully operational, although the machine guns are not real.

Lee plans to use the proceeds from the sale for charity.

In addition to the car, the Yeaggy receives an exclusive seven-night stay for 10 guests at the newly opened GoldenEye Resort in Jamaica — Bond author Ian Fleming's Caribbean estate — and a gold thread bespoke suit from Savile Row tailors Gieves & Hawkes.

Here's a link to the video.


Canadians Give Thanks

By canadianpontiacguy

We hope all Canadian Motortopians have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher's Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin.
In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland to give thanks for surviving the long journey.
French settlers who came to New France with explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 1600s took to celebrating their successful harvests. They even shared their food with the indigenous people of the area as well as setting up what became known as the "Order of Good Cheer".
As many more settlers arrived in Canada, more celebrations of good harvest became common. New immigrants into the country, such as the Irish, Scottish and Germans, would also add their own harvest traditions to the harvest celebrations.
Most of the American aspects of Thanksgiving (such as the turkey) were incorporated when United Empire Loyalists began to flee from the United States during the American Revolution and settled in Canada.

Sunday Drive Sept 19/10

By canadianpontiacguy

Sunday Sept 19/10 was a beautiful day in the Ottawa area.
Sunny, and high temperature of about 65 degrees.
So the wife and I got the old Pontiac out of the storage barn and enjoyed a beautiful drive, lasting about an hour.
Hope you enjoy the photos in the attached album!

Richmond Motor Classic

By canadianpontiacguy

Richmond (in the southeast corner of Ottawa) was selected by the British Army in 1818 as the site for the area’s first military settlement. Named after the Duke of Richmond, who was the newly appointed Governor General of Upper Canada, the village of Richmond was laid out in a grid on the north bank of the Jock River. Richmond was the centre for the administration of lands in the area. Military supervisor, Major Burke, placed mainly Irish soldiers of his 99th Regiment in Richmond, and Scottish settlers from Perthshire, and Irish civilians, in parts of neighbouring townships.

Although dampened by rain at about noon, many interesting cars were on display.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

Charity Car Show

By canadianpontiacguy

The wife and I attended a Charity Car Show on Saturday to raise funds for our local Queensway Carleton Hospital.
About 100 cars in total, with a good mix of North American and Imports on display.
Plenty of "Door Prizes", and I must tell you the experience I had with mine.
We left the house about 9:00 AM and went for breakfast at a local eatery-Cost-about $10.00
Put about 1/2 a tank of gas in the old Pontiac-Cost-$30.00
Then over to register at the Show-Cost-$10.00
At lunch time, we each had a BBQ'd hamburger and drink-Cost-about $10.00.
Later in the afternoon,went up to the Registration Tent to collect our "Door Prize".
It was a Die-Cast model of Michael Waltrip's 99 car.
Was told that one of the exhibitors had offered $60.00 if I wanted to sell it!
Walked over to his car and covered the entire cost for the day!



GM posts largest quarterly profit since 2004

By canadianpontiacguy

General Motors Co posted its biggest quarterly profit in six years on Thursday, a day ahead of an expected IPO filing that would open the gates for the U.S. government to slash its stake in the automaker.

The top U.S. automaker reported second-quarter net earnings of $1.3 billion, compared with $865 million in the first quarter. The second-quarter profit was the largest since 2004.

Sources told Reuters on Wednesday that the largest U.S. automaker had secured a $5 billion credit facility, marking its return to the capital markets a year after it emerged from a government-funded landmark bankruptcy.

The credit facility was a last hurdle toward filing for an initial public offering of stock that allows the U.S. Treasury to reduce its nearly 61 per cent stake in GM — and the automaker to begin to shed its "Government Motors" label.

Canada Day!

By canadianpontiacguy

Happy Canada Day to all the Canucks on Motortopia!!!!!!

Frequently referred to as "Canada's birthday", the occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867.

Most communities across the country will host organised celebrations for Canada Day, usually outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts. There is no standard mode of celebration for Canada Day; professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford Jennifer Welsh said of this: "Canada Day, like the country, is endlessly decentralized. There doesn't seem to be a central recipe for how to celebrate it — chalk it up to the nature of the federation."

However, the focus of the celebrations is the national capital, Ottawa, Ontario, where large concerts, presided over by the governor general, are held on Parliament Hill, as well as other parks around the city and in Hull, Quebec. And this year, the sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, will also be in attendance at Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.

Brockville Atlas

By canadianpontiacguy

Brockville Ontario Canada is my place of birth, and has some history of early automobile production.
Thanks to retired school teacher Doug Grant for the research on this interesting auto.

By 1895 the Canada Carriage Company's Brockville plant was possibly the largest of its kind in the Dominion of Canada. The company manufactured carriages, surreys, traps, phaetons, wagons and sleighs. These were shipped throughout Canada and the United States, as well as foreign countries. About 300 to 400 men worked in the factory, and the payroll amounted to $3,500 each week.

In 1898, an experimental automobile, designed by William J. Still for the Canadian Motor Syndicate used a carriage built by the Canada Carriage Co. as a chassis, and added his engine and controls to it.

By 1911 the Canada Carriage Co. had acquired the Canadian rights to build the “Everitt”, an American car. About 80 Brockville 30 autos were assembled in Brockville that year. It appears that they were actually Everitt 30s.

A new company, the Brockville Atlas Automobile Co. was formed in 1911 by Brockville businessmen, William H. Comstock, Charles W. MacLean and Thomas J. Storey with about $200,000 capital. A new car was designed for 1912, the Brockville Atlas, model A, priced at $2,000. Bodies and chassis were built by the Canada Carriage Co., an engine was mounted which came from the Atlas Engine Works of Indianapolis, Indians, hence the name. Transmissions were supplied by the Warner Gear Co. of Muncie, Indiana.

Between 1912 and 1915 the Atlas Automobile Co. in Brockville produced models C, D, E, F and G. For example, the model D was a five- or seven-passenger car, with a 40 hp engine, right-hand drive, dual magneto, optional electric starter, headlights, sidelights, tail light, speedometer, licence holder, mohair top with side curtains, electric horn, black with nickel trim and fine striping, multiple disk clutch, and leather upholstery stuffed with horsehair. By 1915, about 300 cars had been built.
1915 was the last year for the Brockville Atlas, as the pressures of World War I created material shortages and lagging sales, and production was suspended.

In my album is a 1914 Model G, that originally sold for $1800.

In Search of the Canadian Car

By canadianpontiacguy

The Canada Science and Technology Museum is opening an exhibit called " In Search of the Canadian Car" tomorrow.
I hope to get over there this week-end to see it.
Here is a sample of some Canadian cars.

And a link to the Museum's on-line promotional photos.


What makes a car Canadian? How is the national identity of a car defined: by its design, fabrication, marketing, the preferences of Canadians? This exhibition presents unique automobiles from the Canada Science and Technology Museum’s collection as well as memorabilia and promotional materials.

Billings Estate Museum Show

By canadianpontiacguy

A small car show has been a Father's Day tradition at the Billings Estate Museum for many years now.

Ottawa has a rich history and heritage that stretches back over 200 years.
"Home of settlers Braddish and Lamira Billings, this elegant two-and-a-half storey frame house was built on this site in 1828 to overlook the Rideau River. The 8.4 acres includes historic outbuildings and a cemetery. Five generations resided here until the City of Ottawa acquired it in 1975 along with some 24,000 artifacts."

Hope you enjoy the photos!

Chrysler, Ford sales jump in Canada

By canadianpontiacguy

Chrysler Canada said Tuesday it saw a 53% spike in its Canadian car and truck sales during the month of May compared with the same period last year.

“Sales of our current vehicles are booming and orders for our all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee are quite strong -- the additional manufacturing shift can’t come soon enough.”said Reid Bigland, Chrysler Canada chief executive

Chrysler Canada said it had record May sales for four of its vehicles, including the Dodge Journey, Ram pickup, Jeep Wrangler, and Dodge Challenger. Year-to-date, the Detroit automakers sales in Canada are up nearly 28% with sales improving as consumer confidence does, aided by large incentives in the market by all competitors.

Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., saw its own sales improve 19% in May, with year-to-date sales up 25%, compared with last year.

By contrast, Toyota Canada Inc., which has been struggling to offset the negative impact of a series of recalls in its vehicles earlier this year, saw sales of its Toyota and Lexus brands in Canada fall 16.1% during the month of May compared with a year ago.

That included a 16.6% dip in Toyota models and a 10.6% dip in Lexus.

Honda Canada Inc., which has refused to participate as fully in the incentive game as its competitors and has also seen a number of recalls recently, saw sales fall by 26% for its Honda and Acura brands.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. and Kia Canada Tuesday they had a record May with unit sales increasing 12.6% and 13.9% respectively for the same period last year. For Kia, May marked its largest single month of sales in its 11 years of selling cars in Canada.

Year-to-date, Hyundai’s sales have increased 20%, while Kia’s are up 22.1%.

An Analysis of General Motors Annual Report

By canadianpontiacguy

By Porter Stansberry-DailyWealth

After studying the GM report for several hours, here is what I would have written to my shareholders, were I the chairman of General Motors:

Dear Shareholders:

We own one of America's proudest companies, whose heritage and reputation far exceeds its operational capabilities today. We have infrastructure and employee obligations that outpace what we can afford given our greatly reduced profit margins and debt load. Our ongoing results reflect these important structural problems, which may be beyond our best efforts to fix.

Last year, we did our best to cut costs, terminate extraneous employees, and retire our debt load. A key to this process was selling a controlling stake in our finance company, GMAC, to a Wall Street hedge fund, Cerberus Capital Management.

However, these Wall Street guys are no dummies. First, they only offered us about five times net income for our most profitable division. And they forced us to guarantee GMAC's estimated $14.4 billion book value. Thus, every single bad subprime loan we made over the years will have to be paid for out of your equity. So far, in the last few months of 2006, that bill came to around $1 billion. Our CFO tells me GMAC is "leaning away" from subprime loans now, but we have no ability to quantify what that means.

The good news about the deal, though, is it removes a lot of debt from our balance sheet. Investors (you guys) won't be able to easily measure the extent of our GMAC risk, which, as a result, means our share price probably won't tank in line with the other subprime lenders.

So, here's where things stand now – officially.

Like the crew on a sinking ship, we've shoved overboard as many hard assets and employees as we possibly could over the last year. We sold our investment in Suzuki ($2 billion). We sold our desert proving grounds in Arizona. We sold our investment in Fuji Heavy Industry. We liquidated a joint venture with Fiat. And we've spent $5 billion-$7 billion (we don't know the real number) paying off union employees to retire, so we can close down money-losing production lines. We even cut our dividend in half – and, honestly, we can't afford even that diminished amount.

We've done a great job cutting costs. Our total operating expenses declined last year by 17%. Even so, our ongoing operations (leaving out all of the special charges) in the fourth quarter lost $132 million. All of our fourth-quarter "profit" came from nonoperating income (asset sales) and tax benefits, which will not recur. For the whole year, things look a lot worse because most of our cost cutting didn't benefit the company until the end of the year. Our operating loss for all of 2006 was $7.6 billion. I don't have to tell you that losses like that, if they continue, will surely bankrupt us.

There has been a lot of talk in the press about the size of our cash balances. Unfortunately, that's a lot of smoke and mirrors designed to fool the credit-rating agencies. The truth is pretty ugly. We've got about $64 billion in cash and cash-like holdings. But we also have $67 billion (that's $3 billion more) in current debts. You can imagine our cash position as being a lot like what your checkbook probably looked like in college: You weren't bouncing checks, but only because they took three days to clear.

I've saved the really bad news for last. The truth of the matter is we've been operating at a capital loss for a long, long time. Simply put, it's been a while since we made enough money to pay interest, invest in our business, and pay dividends. As a result, we've racked up a stupendous amount of debt. Even after selling our finance operations, we still have $33 billion of long-term debt, $50 billion of post-retirement benefits other than pension benefits, and $15 billion of deferred income taxes. (Take another look at our post-retirement obligations. Any wonder why Detroit has more pharmacies per-capita than anywhere else in the world?)

Even if you assume that our post-retirement benefit obligations don't grow faster than interest rates (and that's not a safe bet) and even if you assume future losses will offset all of our tax obligations, we're still staring down the barrel of more debt than we can afford to service. You can probably do the math in your head: $83 billion of long-term obligations multiplied by steadily rising interest rates, thanks to our deteriorating credit ratings.

If you estimate a 7% rate for 2007, you'll see that we need to make at least $5.81 billion from operations just to pay interest. There's also a very good chance that interest on our debt will increase more than I expect. In the last year alone, the average interest we pay, globally, on our entire debt portfolio increased from 5.25% to 6.01%. In the last two years, we've gone from being one of the best credit risks in the world to being a junk-bond debtor. This fact, more than any other, makes it very unlikely that we'll escape bankruptcy.

The simple fact is, we can't afford our debts. We haven't made more than $5 billion from our car operations in a long time. Probably not since 1992. It's very, very unlikely that we'll ever make that kind of money again because we're facing never-ending declines in our global market share.

Back in 1992, we controlled about 30% of the world's car business. Last year, despite the progress we made in launching some great new trucks, our global market share fell to 13.5%. And that's down from 14.1% in 2005.

As I hope you can understand, unless something radical happens to free us from our employee obligations, there is no way I can honestly tell you that GM will not go bankrupt.

Please invest accordingly.

Your Chairman

Electric car plant coming to Hawaii

By canadianpontiacguy

HONOLULU - South Korean electric car manufacturer CT&T announced plans Thursday to build an assembly plant in Hawaii that will eventually produce up to 10,000 vehicles a year and employ as many as 400 people.

The plant would make small two-seaters that reach speeds up to 40 mph and be deployed onto Hawaii's city and neighborhood roads.

Their batteries will last for 30 or 60 miles, depending on the model, and then be recharged at electric stations that are planned to begin popping up by the end of this year.

"The islands portray themselves to be perfect for our types of vehicles," said Joe White, chief operating officer for CT&T. "The speed limit here, 25 to 35, fits perfectly into our type of vehicle."

The assembly facility is expected to be built within two years, he said. The company is looking at four Oahu locations to build the plant, which will cost between $35 million and $50 million for the building alone. In all, the company expects capital investments reaching $200 million.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle and CT&T CEO Lee Young-gi signed an agreement Thursday committing the state to helping the company establish itself. The deal says Hawaii will ease permitting obstacles and provide electric vehicle consumer incentives.

Promoting electric vehicles fits in with the state's goal of producing 40 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030. Hawaii is the nation's most dependent state on foreign oil, getting about 9 percent of its power from renewable sources. The state also has the highest gasoline prices in the United States.

CT&T's cars will cost between $8,000 and $20,000, depending on the model and accessories.

The company showed 12 models at the Hawaii Capitol, including a hatchback, golf cart, mini pickup and police parking enforcement vehicle.

Besides CT&T, Nissan Motor Co. announced this week Hawaii will be one of its first markets to launch sales of its electric vehicle, the LEAF. Sales would begin early next year.

CT&T announced last year it would build its first North American assembly and sales facilities in Pennsylvania.

Working Downtown

By canadianpontiacguy

Working in the downtown section of Canada's Capital offers a unique opportunity to see some interesting automobiles being driven to work. Spring arrived early this year, and this week I had the opportunity to see a 1964 Impala HT, a 1966 Plymouth HT. and a Mercedes 550 SEL.

I also had the chance to stop on the street and speak with former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge. He was the equilavent of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
No bodyguards, no entourage, no convoy of bulletproof vehicles to contend with.
Just said "good morning Mr. Dodge", and he stops and strikes up a short conversation.

I'll try to keep you up-to-date on other interesting happenings downtown.
In particular, I'm looking forward to seeing the 1958 Mercedes 190SL that sometimes parks outside the office!

North America Crucial to Fiat's 5-Year Plan

By canadianpontiacguy

Alfa Romeo will play a key role in the U.S. market, Jeep will lead the charge in Russia, Chrysler cars will bolster the Lancia lineup in Europe and Dodge crossovers and SUVs will wear the Fiat badge in Europe. Those are key elements of Fiat S.p.A. CEO Sergio Marchionne's new five-year plan for the Italian automaker.

The plan won't be unveiled until April 21. But based on earlier announcements and conversations with industry watchers, we've been able to sketch out some likely key elements of the plan.

Marchionne already has promised that Fiat Group and Chrysler Group will sell a combined 5.5 million to 6 million vehicles by 2014. He says Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram will account for 2.8 million of the total. This means Fiat's seven brands (Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia, Maserati, Fiat Professional) will have to sell 2.7 million to 3.2 million units in 2014 to do their part.

Last year, Fiat Group sold 2.3 million units while Chrysler Group sold 1.3 million.

Alfa Romeo is still struggling to build a strong business case to make a large sedan to replace the discontinued 166. Alfa needs a large sedan to compete in the U.S. market, but that segment is nearly dead in Europe and does not appear to be ready for a rebound.

If built, Alfa's new large sedan would be based on the Chrysler 300's rear-wheel-drive platform and manufactured in Chrysler's plant in Brampton, Ontario.

Fiat began taking over distribution of Chrysler Group vehicles in Europe this month. The changeover should be completed in 18 months. The April 21 presentation should explain how dealers for Chrysler Group and Fiat Group Automobiles will be combined in Europe and Latin America. Marchionne also is expected to detail how the Chrysler and Lancia brands will be combined in Europe.

Dodge will continue to sell its large rear-wheel Charger sedan and Challenger coupe in Europe under Fiat management. The same will be true for a future version of the Viper sports car. Front-wheel-drive models such as the Caliber and Avenger will be withdrawn from Europe. In Europe, the Nitro large SUV will become a Fiat-brand model by the end of the year. The Journey crossover will be rebadged as a Fiat starting in spring 2011.

Amazing Weather

By canadianpontiacguy

An amazing weekend here in Ottawa Ontario Canada.
Temperatures shattered on both Friday and Saturday.
High Temps of about 84 degrees both days , topping the old records of about 69 degrees!
Things are much more normal today, but still warm for this time of year, about 65 degrees, and sunny until tomorrow!
Pontiac is still in storage, as we are in for plenty of rain this month.
You have probably heard the expression "April showers bring May flowers"

Photo of sunset taken from our balcony after supper Apr 2/10.

GM Canada recalling workers

By canadianpontiacguy

General Motors of Canada says it will recall workers at Ontario plants this year to build more Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossover SUVs.

GM said Friday it will recall about 600 laid-off workers at its Oshawa assembly plant, moving to three shifts from two in October.

All 127 laid-off employees at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll will be recalled April 6 and the company will recall 158 employees laid off from plants at other plants in Windsor, St. Catharines and Woodstock.

GM also said it expects to add 70 new jobs at CAMI by August.

The body shop at the CAMI plant will expand to produce more Equinox units, which will then be sent to Oshawa for paint and final assembly.

CAMI will also be able to increase production of the Terrain, GM said.

Combined sales of the Equinox and Terrain are up 100 per cent in Canada and 128 per cent in the United States over the last quarter, the company said.

The Equinox and Terrain vehicles look like SUVs but employ a car platform.

Straw from Ottawa area farmers helps fuel Ferrari's F1 dream machines

By canadianpontiacguy

A local connection to Formula 1 and today's winner, Team Ferrari.

Ruth McLaren spent a cool, blustery Saturday morning as she usually does, doing chores on and around her Mountain, Ont., Canada, farm. Among other things, she fed the cows and loaded straw onto a flat-bed truck.

A world away, in the dry heat of Manama, Bahrain, Spanish driver Fernando Alonso was savouring his excellent performance in qualifying runs earlier in the day for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix. And he did it using fuel made in part with straw supplied by Ruth McLaren.

Ferrari runs on straw?

Double Diamond Farms, a family business run by McLaren and partner Don Duncan for 22 years, collects straw from farmers across eastern and northern Ontario and ships it to Iogen Corp. of Ottawa, a biofuel manufacturer. Iogen uses the straw to produce cellulosic ethanol, which it supplies to Royal Dutch Shell, which adds it to the gasoline it supplies to Ferrari.

Today's race marks the first time cellulosic ethanol has been used in the Grand Prix, and the folks at Iogen are pretty excited about it. So is McLaren.

"To be able to see the product going from the field to the vehicle like that is pretty amazing," said McLaren on Saturday, as she took a break between chores and dinner.

Jeff Passmore, executive vice-president of Iogen, said the Ottawa company is thrilled to be making Formula One history, even if it's not of the kind most fans would ever notice.

"No one else in the world is making large quantities of cellulosic ethanol like Iogen is," said Passmore. "We're talking about several thousand litres of fuel here."

Shell owns 50 per cent of Iogen's energy division.

"Since 2008, the rule of Formula One is that biocomponents make
up 5.75 per cent by weight of the gasoline," said Rainer Winzenried, spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague. "The Iogen ethanol is not competing with the food chain, and has a clear advantage compared to other components for gasoline."

Unlike other forms of ethanol, cellulosic ethanol uses waste product and does not divert crops intended for the food chain.

Canadian GM dealers sue GM for $750M

By canadianpontiacguy

A class-action lawsuit seeking $750 million in damages on behalf of 215 Canadian General Motors dealers was launched Thursday in the Ontario Court of Justice.

The suit claims General Motors of Canada Ltd. breached franchise laws when it terminated dealers in connection with last year's government bailout of the auto industry.

The suit also names a Canadian law firm, which had been retained in advance to represent dealers in a GM restructuring or bankruptcy, alleging the firm failed to disclose it was also acting for the Canadian government, which had insisted GM scale back its dealership network as a condition for public funding.

"These dealers include some of the best in the country," said David Sterns, lawyer for the lead plaintiff. "The offer they were handed gave them a fraction of what their businesses were worth, but they had no collective representation and precious little time."

GM boosts Camaro production

By canadianpontiacguy

Unexpectedly high sales of the reintroduced Chevrolet Camaro and the addition of the Buick Regal next year both bode well for General Motors' workforce at its Oshawa Ontario assembly plants, says the automaker's vice-chairman.

"The Camaro has become more important to our product lines than we expected and sales volumes are higher than we thought they'd be," said Bob Lutz. "It's a dynamically excellent vehicle and design-wise we really nailed this one.

"The key is that it's not a straight retro version of the '67 Camaro, which at first dismayed owners of the '67 Camaro, but it harkens back to its heritage without redoing it."

It's expected that GM will also start assembling the Regal in Oshawa in the first quarter of next year. Currently, it's being built in Europe.

"It'll be low-volume until we get the Canadian plant going," said Lutz. "I hope the auto media don't view it as a flop because it's low volume by necessity until we get added capacity in Canada."

The full production model of the Regal, modelled after the Opel Insignia, is expected to transform Buick's image as a nameplate for stodgy sedans into one which stands for performance, styling and tight handling in the same way as it European counterparts.

"With the Regal, it's a clear sign that we are getting back into the performance game," said Jim Federico, global chief engineer for the Regal. "If we choose to launch this vehicle as a production vehicle, it will change Buick's image forever.

Happy 75th Elvis!

By canadianpontiacguy

ELVIS Presley may have left the building nearly 33 years ago, but a raft of new events and books released this week to mark what would have been his 75th birthday ensure The King lives on.

Teenagers in the 1950s and '60s turned Elvis Presley into an icon. His shaking hips and curled lips sent rock 'n' roll shockwaves reverberating around the world. As we celebrate what would have been his 75th birthday on January 8th, we should take note of the impact he had on our culture.

He emerged from his impoverished childhood in Tupelo, Mississippi to become America's pop culture superstar. His controversial singing style, mixed blues, country (at the time called "hillbilly"), and black and white gospel music with a sexually charged stage presence.

Controversy surrounded Elvis, but he went on to record 151 albums, singles and extended-play records that went gold, platinum or multi-platinum, star in 31 feature films, break all attendance records in Las Vegas, be nominated for 14 Grammy Awards (winning 3) and be the subject of over 608 books. And it hasn't stopped. He earned over $55-million last year, even though he's been dead for more that 32 years. Graceland, his home in Memphis, attracts over 600,000 visitors a year from all over the world.

Freezing Rain Hazard

By canadianpontiacguy

Freezing rain downed hydro wires and blew up transformers on the fringes of rural Ottawa, causing power outages that at one time Saturday night, left about 1,500 mainly Hydro One customers without power.

A Hydro One official said about 400 people would not have power restored until about 4. a.m. Sunday.

Ottawa firefighters were busy Saturday night putting out small tree fires caused by falling wires, mostly in the rural areas.

70 Car Pileup in Foggy Conditions

By canadianpontiacguy

Imagine not being able to see the car in front of you -- until you hit it.

That's what it was like Monday morning on Highway 416 near Ottawa Ontario for some of the drivers involved in a 70-car pileup that closed the highway for five hours.

Despite the massive scope of the collision scene, only minor injuries were reported.

Reports of the big series of crashes began pouring in to OPP at about 7:30 a.m., not long after thick fog blanked out visibility.

Within minutes, it was chaos. Cars were on their sides, on their roofs and in the ditch.

OPP Const. Guy Prevost expected the outcome to be a lot worse when he arrived on the scene just before 9 a.m.

"We were very surprised in a good way -- a lot of people walked away from the collisions they had," he said.

It would have been a different story if there were tractor-trailers involved. "You put in a couple tractor-trailers and that would have changed the whole dynamic. We would have had major injuries, if not deaths, and we would have seen a lot more damage to cars," Prevost said.

Frank Fenn was one of the drivers surprised to find himself in the middle of the action. Fenn, the marketing director at Carlingwood Mall, said he was lucky that when he was rear-ended it was "just a little bump."

Trying not to hit anyone himself was a bit of an adventure, though. He said he had winter tires and kept a good distance between himself and the cars ahead, but he still counted himself lucky not to crash into anyone.

"Everybody seemed to be going off in all directions in front of me, so I didn't have much chance (to hit anyone)."

Shelley Polywkan was travelling south to Kingston and surveyed the wreckage from the other side of the divided highway.

"It was pretty phenomenal," she said. "It looked like something you'd see in a movie."

Polywkan said she snapped about 15 pictures, but only five turned out because the fog was so thick.

"The fog was pretty dense, you definitely didn't want to go fast because you couldn't tell what was ahead of you," she said.

Prevost said the cause of the crash is under investigation, but police don't expect to lay any charges.

"We're a bit perplexed as to what caused it," he said.

The crash kept Ottawa-area tow-truck operators busy. Prevost said drivers from every company he could name sent rigs to help clean up the mess.

Cars > canadianpontiacguy’s Garage > Blog

Print your passion at (