Category Archives: driving

1999 Plymouth Prowler in Prowler Yellow Clear Cote


plymouth prowler yellow clear coat (1 of 1)Shown here in Prowler Yellow Clear cote, the Plymouth Prowler was the last Plymouth sold in Canada. and it featured massive 10inch by 20inch rear wheels right from the factory. With a small 3.5 v6 and a 4 speed automatic, it’s not a car for driving, but with a car for cruising. The Prowler was preceded by the Reliant Rapist as the least appealing name for a car for a woman to own.  Assembled in Detroit!

Brighton to London ECO Run at Fanshawe College

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Beautiful sunshine greated the participants of the AJAC ECO Run including Clare Dear, AJAC president and Jim Kenzie long time writer. I even saw former Autonorth writer Chuck Reimer with his fulltime gig at Mazda. In addition to great weather, local dignitaries Stephen Orser, Ed Holder, Anne Marie DiCicco Best, and Fanshawe brass we’re on hand to tout their Centre for Applied Transportation Technology, a major win for the London area.  While my eye was caught by the Porsche Panamera Hybrid and the Twin Turbo CLS 63, the real stars were the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, representing, for me, true progress in the Electric car market.

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Sponsored by CAA, The Government of Canada, who publish the Eco Guide fuel economy ratings for new vehicles, and an electrical company that provided generators for the electric cars just in case. A couple of neat SUV entrants were also there, the 2013 Ford Escape and the 2013 Mazda CX5, which represents the spot filled by the departure of the Tribute, the sister vehicle t0 the Escape. The Mazda is going after the X3 buyer with agressive styling and a promise of fun to drive combined with exceptional fuel economy due to the Skyactiv Direct injection system. The Escape is an all new model this year and as Ford’s quality is still strong, other than nagging SYNC Telematics issues, the Escape will play a strong part in the next generation CUV market as new models have now arrived from nearly all manufacturers but Toyota.

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The true Mass Market vehicles we’re there, the Prius in a Plug In format, the Camry hybrid ( I drive one), and the Lexus CT 200h ( I’ve spent a lot of time in one), the Mini, and the Passat TDI. The technology is no longer NEW but it is definitely improved!



In the Needs Work column, GM’s offerings from Buick miss the mark, the Ford Focus plug in is still in development, and the Fiat. Perceived quality is reality and while Buick scores highly on most reliability studies I don’t feel special around their product, from the brand story, to the interior materials and fit, to the dealer network.  Fiat on the other hand has all the beauty of a brand new dealer network with a different attitude towards fun passionate driving, but scores poorly on reliability. Fiat’s Multi air Valve lift technology is on display to save fuel in this City car. Finally, the Mitsubish Imiev feels as if it fell out of the late 90s. I assume it’s built to a price, but it does not feel substantial, even when compared to the Scion iQ, notably absent from the fray.

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There was even a DIY converted Jeep. The owner made some bold claims about his home brew but my guess is longevity might be the compromise achieved in this low price build.

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Thank you very much to Elinor Schwob for the invitation and Fanshawe College for hosting such a great event.

CNIB UnGala At Civic Gardens Complex in London, Ontario

Industrial Age Paparazzo

The handle bar mustache features prominently in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a period marked by the 2nd industrial revolution.  I’ll leave @3oh6 Photography to wow you with his shots of the event but I got there early so I had time to capture Jody in his elegant 3 piece white linen suit with knee length shorts, and snap a few shots of the grounds at the Civic Garden Complex in London. #ldnont has some beautiful sights but the Civic Gardens at Springbank Park were lovely even soaked in a cold September rain. I look forward to seeing the area in bloom next spring now that the secret is out.




Conservative Party Member of Parliament, Ed Holder

Local Celebrity, Member of Parliament, Ed Holder


Tim Felsky tasting Dessert in the Dark

Engine Noise Roundup

Lots of Engine Noise News lately. Here are a few of my favorite stories and videos. Tuning a vehicles acoustics is part art and part science.



BMW V8 Artificial Sound

New Prius V audible low speed warning via Consumers Reports



Lexus LFA inlets for engine noise via


The engine’s induction and exhaust sounds are carefully channeled into the LFA’s cabin. The main channel runs from the surge tank into the cabin below the main dash panel. This is complemented by two further channels– one at the upper cowl opening and the at the lower reflector. These sound channels ensure the driver sits at the center of a 3-D surround sound theatre of engine performance



GM Open House CAMI Ingersoll

When I heard that GM was opening the doors to the CAMI Ingersoll Plant I was excited to go. I've been through the Lexus Cambridge Assembly which builds the RX 350 since 2004 and the Coventry Jaguar plant which was closed a few years ago.  This I thought would be a more maintream plant, a car for everyone built which the solidarity of unionized labour. Here is a brief introduction to what goes on in Ingersoll, Ontario, 30 minutes from London on highway 401 and 90 minutes from Toronto.

Ingersoll CAMI GM Plant

The tour started in the parking lot with a huge line up stretching from the gates to the plant all the way back to the end of the property. The line passed a GM Apparel vendor, and the OPP demonstrating their Roll Over Simulation. 


CAMI builds the GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox, but used to build the Suzuki XL7 and the Pontiac Torrent. The plant has the last Torrent and XL7 hoods on display as trophies of the past models. 

G4S Security GMC Terrain assembled at CAMI

We took a school bus from the main gate to one end of the factory. A Cami employee handed out safety glasses which were a mandatory style accessory while on the premises. We got a further safey briefing on the bus before being dropped off at the stamping press. Photography was forbidden but these shots were leaked.

Possible defects are addressed on a digital display


The main stamping machine towers above you seemingly 10 stories tall, dropping dies onto the sheet metal at high force, pressing out more intricate details with each pass. These pieces are then passed to an army of welding robots which put all of the stampings together into subassemblies. Three or four sub assemblies welded up comprise a body structure. These body shells are then dipped and  treated a number of times to ensure rust inhibition and adhearence of paint. Robots apply the paint evenly and then humans are tasked with inspecting for any flaws or defects. Any defects are recorded and addressed immediately on display screens so problems with the manufacturing process don't affect other vehicles


Bright lights for checking paint on a Chevrolet Equinox.

 A hydraulic system raises the engine and drive train up to meet a painted body and then wheels and suspension are bolted in. The rolling chassis is then moved to the final assembly stages where the interior and trim is installed. These vehicles undergo a number of tests and adjustments before passing final quality control.


Final touches on this GMC Terrain before it's shipped to a dealer.


A production GMC Terrain comes off the line.

Ontario Provincial Police GMC Terrain assembled at CAMI Ingersoll


CAMI has provided vehicles to a number of emergency services, OPP, Security, and Fire.


Fire Department Chevrolet Equinox



Manufacturer CAMI Automotive
Production August 10, 2009–present
Model years 2010-present
Assembly Ingersoll, OntarioCanada
Predecessor Pontiac Torrent
Class Mid-size crossover SUV
Body style 4-door SUV
Layout Front enginefront-wheel drive /four-wheel drive
Platform GM Theta platform
Engine 2.4 L I4
3.0 L V6[1]
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase 112.5 in (2,858 mm)[1]
Length 185.3 in (4,707 mm)
Width 72.8 in (1,849 mm)
Height 66.3 in (1,684 mm)