Yes, it may seem odd that we live so far away from the automotive world that surrounds the GTA, but when you want to travel some wide-open roads, then we might be in one the best spots in the province.
As the darkness soon gives way to the light, our stomachs start to grumble as we have yet to eat a hearty breakfast. And after a quick stop to fill up on some greasy fast food, we are off once again and, on our way, to hog town.
Our travels soon lead us off out wide-open roads of the North and onto the over congested roads of the south. There we find ourselves face to face with our arch nemesis, morning traffic. Being that we are from the North we tend not to find much of this back home, so for us morning traffic is more an automotive nightmare rather than a part of our lives. But hey, I guess when you do it everyday it just becomes part of your daily routine.
Slowly we manage to make our way down the Gardiner Expressway before finally reaching our off-ramp which will bring us one step closer to the Toronto Auto Show. And as we make those final turns through traffic, we sigh a bit of relief as we finally make it to our parking spot.
After a quick shoe change and head count, we are off to the auto show.
If you have ever been to the Toronto Auto Show you will have an idea of where we have entered the show and if you haven’t, well we are on the wrong side of the tracks. Quite literally as we always like to start our day off at the Exotic’s showcase.
We have come to realize that if you try to enter the exotic showcase any time between 11:30am and 3:00pm, you may have some trouble getting a good shot of the rides you want to see. So, for us that is why we always head there first. And like we said, we have to cross over the main track line in downtown T.O. to get there, as we have entered the show from the South Convention Centre.
To get to the North Convention Centre you have to traverse three (3) flights of escalators and cross over one massive amount of train tracks. But don’t worry as you will cross over them on a covered bridge which is usually sponsored by Subaru.
On the other side of the bridge you will find yourself a level up from the main showroom floor of the North Convention Centre. This is a great spot to stop and take a look at what manufactures are there so you can plan your path for later. After you quick stop be ready to follow signs as you will need too, to be able to make your way down three (3) levels of escalators to reach the basement. This is where you will find the home of the exotics and a special display. This year’s display was a few cars from the Barrett Jackson collection. You may also find a few vendors as well, but like us, try not to spend too much time with them as you only have a window of an hour before the rush comes down.
For this year it seems that the DeLorean sales dealer of Ontario decided to grace us with a taste of what they can do. And if you’re like us, then you will get lost in a sea of stainless-steel heaven. But being from the Nickel City, stainless steel is nothing new to us.
After a quick snapshot of both the car and the chrome lady, we moved into the main floor of the exotics. There we found a vehicle that has never been to this side of the world before. This vehicle in particular has a starting rating of 2000hp and hails from the U.A.E. Yes, we are talking about the Devel Sixteen. And it is way better in real life than it is on your screen.
Seems that T.O. is the place to be as the original Aston Martin Red Bull AM-RB-001 concept made its first stop here as well. Too bad the same couldn’t be true for any of our Canadian manufactures as we have only ever seen the HTT Plethore at the Toronto show. Guess this show is like the LCBO, there’s always room for everyone else except our own.
Moving from there we find ourselves surrounded by highly desirable classics. But this year there was the added touch of a vendor who specializes in racing memorabilia. Too bad we didn’t have $25,000 on hand as we really wanted that autographed Senna helmet.
From there we moved down and again found our usual crowd from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Lotus even Karma Automotive. Yes, that old Fisker is back and it seems they really want to sell them in Toronto. But not if Tesla and their full lineup booth had anything to do about it.
Of course, we tried out the Tesla lineup and even check out the space in the frunk, but what really caught our eye in the exotic space was the world premiere of Canada’s own F1 team and their car. Sure, it doesn’t seem like much as their not a top tier league, but this is Canada’s own claim to fame in the world of F1 racing. And if that wasn’t enough for you, they have a few Canadian sponsors as well. Guess we’re not only concerned about Hockey in this country, as it seems that a few people and companies have come together to make the Racing Point team a reality.
Next to Canada’s own F1 car was the biggest stand in the exotic ring and that was held by McLaren. Not only did they bring a near complete product lineup, but they also brought a bare-naked carbon version of the Senna. And next to that you found their next greatest products, the ride-on toys for the kids. Guess that’s a way you can keep both dad and the kids happy.
From there we moved onto the Barrett Jackson special exhibit where we found a few good rides to choose from. As usual this showcase wasn’t really all that special, but I guess you need to fill space with something.
After a quick escalator ride up two (2) levels, we again find ourselves face to face with the main North Hall. And like every year for the past couple of years, Jeep took up the back wall to showcase a bit of our backyard. Guess they should have told us as we could have brought them some of our 50cm of snow we received the week before. But then they would have to keep it cool and that might take away from the display.
From there we moved our way through Nissan and Mazda and onto the back wall where we found something a bit more familiar. Someone from our youth was standing tall against the back wall and just had to get a picture with them. Seems that Bumblebee teamed up with Volkswagen to showcase his original form. Of, course we could be wrong and that Volkswagen may have teamed up with Bumblebee to showcase how a VW Beetle was the original Bumblebee vehicle. Not that glammed up Camaro you find today.
Besides Bumblebee VW did decide to grace our showroom floor with the likes if the I.D. Cross and I.D. pike’s peak cars as well. They just can’t let Bumblebee steal the show can they.
From there we moved past the Mitsubishi and Hyundai stalls as there wasn’t much fun there. The Palisade is better to see in real life, but really, we have seen the i30 Touring Car before.
Next to Hyundai we found ourselves again at the Nissan stall. This time we wanted to check out the Nismo Leaf RC and the tracked Altima. And worth it is to see them both in real life.
After the Nissan pavilion we made our way to the FCA stand. And as usual they have the biggest in the North hall. And this year they had the largest all around as even GM lost some ground in the South building.
As usual FCA had their standard display which emphasizes more on the Jeep and RAM brand while the Fiat brand is tucked away in the back corner. Too bad as the entire Chrysler, Fiat and Dodge MPV lineups were pushed aside to make more room for the trucks and SUV’s. We would have like to see a few more options of the Charger, Journey and 300, but since trucks rule today, then sedans have to make way. Although even the Jeep and RAM brands couldn’t keep us occupied as they both didn’t have anything extravagant to show us.
Next to FCA was the usual Honda / Acura pavilion where they showcased their standard products along with their recreational and home use products. But they did bring one wow factor vehicle with them, as they showed up to Toronto with an original 1978 Civic. Kind of makes you realize where you came from when you get to see the cars from a company’s past.
After Honda we made our way through the Subaru booth and past the updated Legacy. Sure, it’s been updated, but to us it's just a mild makeover.
From there we made our way our and back over to the South building where the biggest part of the show was held.
Just one floor up from the main hall in the South building you will find the main attraction to the Toronto Auto Show this year. Sure, the Devel Sixteen was great, but nothing can compare to a working replica of a Bugatti Chiron. And when it’s made from Lego and it actually works, then you have something that is truly great.
The Lego Chiron is something that is a must see for all automotive and Lego fans. As it is not only a replica of a real vehicle, it is one that actually runs. And who can really say that they haven’t played with Lego at some point in their lives. Well if you never have then you would do just like us and head on into the Lego play centre. This is where we got to build our own automotive Lego creation, then got to test it out. And while most of our vehicles failed the barrier wall, we still had loads of fun.
Across from the Chiron you found yourself immersed in the lowrider car culture. This display was the proud culmination of personal vehicles and museum pieces on loan from the Peterson Museum in L.A. And if you’re like us you will want to get yourself to L.A. sometime to see the entire collection from Peterson Magazine. Just remember to get their early so you can get on the list to see what’s in the basement collection.
Next to the Peterson exhibit we found ourselves once again surrounded by the vehicles from Canada’s own Concours d’Elegance. Cobble Beach is where you will find our show and if you want to see what Canada and Ontario has to offer, then check it out sometime. Inside the exhibit we found the usual array of classics which showcase our past and like most years we got to see a few vehicles you usually won’t see at your standard car show. Our true favourite here was the Buick Y-Job concept from 1938, this was truly a sight to see. Just like the Tucker Torpedo from last year.
As we moved down to the main hall in the south building, we started to feel like the show just kept going. And that it did.
Unlike other years we decided this year to start in the far west corner and again found the Mini booth tucked away. They still bring their lineup, but it seems like their parent owner, they wanted to move a bit of swag as well. But sorry that’s not for us as we don’t need a BMW or Mini had. The truly great thing here was that BMW did let you sit in an i8. Funny how Audi next door didn’t let us inside the R8 as they have in the past.
As we moved past the likes of all the luxury marks, we started to feel like we actually were in a dealership. Sure, there was not sounds or smells from the garage, but really there wasn’t much else besides new vehicles. As only Lexus brought a concept to Toronto. No, the EQC isn’t a concept anymore, it is just another bland Mercedes that blended into its surroundings.
And as we were all about to lose all hope that there could be something great down here, GM gave us a lifeline. That lifeline came in the way of a free espresso from Buick. Of course, they have done this for the past three (3) years, but who can blame them for keeping something that great.
The Buick stall didn’t have anything else to impress, but GM did keep us on our toes with their display of the new Sierra tailgate. We did see this last year, but were unable to test it out. This year they let us play around with it and we had loads of fun. This could be the reason why GM has moved up in our world, well that along with the better design language.
From their we moved past Chevrolet and the poor attempt to bring back the Blazer nameplate and moved on over to the smaller than usual Toyota booth. This is one that we had been waiting for as we were really hoping that Toyota had brought the all new Supra. And they did. Again, this is a vehicle that you really have to appreciate in real life as pictures don’t really do it justice.
Next to Toyota sat a slightly smaller version of the standard Ford pavilion as it seems they gave away some of their land to Toyota. Guess with no sedans to showcase, they really didn’t need all that room. But of course, they still had the GT and all new Shelby Mustang on display. But their real claim to fame this year was there showcase of the all new Explorer. If that is what you want to see, but for us it wasn’t. We were more interest in the life size Lego man.
After a quick run through of the last remaining companies we were finally on our last leg of the show. And what better way to end out show than with a stroll through an army reserve. No, we actually didn’t go to the army, we just wandered through the showcase the Canadian Military had. Too bad they showed us the old Bombardier vehicle as we all know how Mercedes beat out our home-grown companies. But hey this is Canada, we don’t like to support our own automotive industry.
And on that note, we moved our way back upstairs to test our hands at the Forza championship. Too bad we didn’t have more time as we would have like to see if we could have set the fastest time of the day. Winner of the week moved onto the finals and could have potentially won $20,000, but we didn’t have anymore time as we needed to get back on the road.
It was now close to 3:00pm and with that came rush hour. Again, the headaches of traffic and congestion. We don’t like it and neither did our vehicle as we were about to embark on the worst part of our day trip to Toronto.
Our story turns a bit sour on our way-out Toronto, but that is where this story will end.
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