If you were disappointed in the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, and its focus on the new Toyota Camry and promises that cars were really, really built in America, you weren’t alone. But this week is the 2017 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Canada, and it may be the best place to find incredible new cars in one place in North America right now.
Patrick George asked me if I wanted to drive down there with my shooter Myle from Montréal to cover the event. I told him I’d do it only if he’d cover our Tim Horton coffee refills during our roadtrip. He said yes.
This year’s show is particularly special since Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary. So if you’re into cars and love Canada (because of course you do), head over to Toronto this week, there’s some seriously cool shit to check out—because Canadians are much more than Ski-Doo-riding hockey players that set their cars on fire the moment they get stuck in a snowbank.
By now, you’ve all seen that batshit-crazy Aston Martin, Redbull hypercar concept. It was the opener of CIAS, and carried the torch for the theme of this year’s show: cars rule, and their future won’t suck.
My personal favorite section of CIAS was Auto Exotica, where sits an admirable collection of super, hyper, and sports cars exceeding $100 million in total value. One of these hypercars is the almighty Bugatti Chiron, which, with a base price of nearly $3.4 million, helps contribute to the displayed wealth sitting in Toronto right now.
The Chiron is impressive in photograph, but it’s when you’re standing next to it that you notice the insane attention to detail such as the carefully weaved carbon fiber body and interior that resembles an expensive yacht with its overabundance of fresh cow hides and precious metals.
Pfaff Commission - by Singer Vehicle Design
An auto show that puts the emphasis on the passion for the automobile can’t be complete without the presence of one of the most desirable Porsches of all time - the 911 done up by Singer.
This one is a particularly special example, as it marks a partnership with Singer Vehicle Design and Pfaff Automotive from Ontario, Canada. The car is actually called the Pfaff Commission.
It’s a spin-off vehicle that features Singer’s 4.0-liter engine, a pair of sport high bolstered seats, a balsa wood shift knob, an exclusive blue and red paint job with red Fuchs-inspired wheels, as well as a unique interior that was specially crafted for the car.
2017 Ford GT
A 2017 Ford GT because we’re just not getting tired of seeing this thing now are we? Behold, the 647 horsepower 2017 Ford GT. The car you probably can’t afford or can’t purchase if you can because all of them are sold out already. Enjoy staring at it. Because it’s the freakin’ Ford GT.
God almighty, I am not worthy for this car.
A Lot of Vintage Ferraris
Among other forms of sex on wheels presented at CIAS’ Auto Exotica exhibit sat a solid collection of vintage Ferraris from Ferrari Ontario. The admirable collection counts an F40, of course, because no Ferrari collection is complete without the presence of an F40. There’s also a 458 GT race car, a 365 GTB4 Daytona, a Dino 246 GTS, a 512 BB, and the legendary 250 LM.
Fun fact: a 250 LM, like the one you see here, was last auctioned at a staggering $14.3 million and was the top lot of the “Art of the Automobile” car auction held in Manhattan back in 2013.
Cool, I’ll have one!
Aston Martins Everywhere
British sports car maker and Bond favorite Aston Martin is the star of this year’s CIAS. Aston has brilliantly scattered DB5 and DB11 Easter eggs all over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for you to find.
As if the iconic DB5 wasn’t exclusive enough, there are actually two of them sitting in Toronto right now. Head over to the show to find them for yourself.
Here’s a hint: the other one is black.
Several DB11's sitting at key locations around the show, as a reference to the fact that Aston was leading this year’s carshow with the AM-RB 001 concept car.
Orange. That’s the color I’d get my DB11 in.
Because nothing is a bigger middle finger to crossover domination and autonomous driving than a tubular frame, four wheels, and a supercharged Honda engine sitting behind your head.
17 years ago (wow already?) there was a movie called Gone in 60 Seconds. It was one of the most iconic car movies of its time and featured Eleanor - a 1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 that refused to be boosted.
Looking at Eleanor at CIAS made me realize how diluted today’s, ahem, so-called car movies have become. No offense Vin Diesel.
2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
Because the answer is always Miata. Especially in coupe form.
1951 Buick Lesabre Concept
Thought that Ferrari 250 LM up there was epic vintage shit? Wait until you get a hold of this: the 1951 Buick Lesabre concept.
Designed by Harley Earl, the ‘51 Lesabre concept represents the pinnacle of post-WWII jetfighter-inspired automotive design. The front air intake on this thing even looks like a jet turbine. But even more impressive, is how much this Buick is worth. Have a seat. Open up a cold one. Ready? $15 million US.
Have a nice day.
Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R and AMG GT C Roadster
I know the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT is old news by now, but I felt it was important to take the time to acknowledge how extraordinarily epic this car is, especially in roadster form.
As if the current AMG GT wasn’t mad enough, there’s also the AMG GT R. Yes Mercedes-Benz’ AMG gurus have hatched an even more insane, track inspired version of the AMG GT. According to Mercedes-Benz, it’s every bit a race car for the road thanks to the addition of active rear-wheel steering, a nine-way adjustable traction control system and adjustable coil-overs.
The AMG GT R can be had in a radical green paint job, and is instantly recognizable as a GT R thanks to the “Panamericana” grille that houses a Mercedes-Benz logo the size of a large pizza.
Of course, I just had to exit the damn thing like a BAMF.
Here’s a Dodge Viper in its most radical ACR form with insane aero and wing everywhere. Because this is one of the last times we’ll actually see a Dodge Viper on a showroom floor. Ever. So enjoy it while it lasts.
Remember this face. It’s the face of a car that will haunt us forever because we ignored it and bought Corvettes instead. May you rest in peace Dodge Viper.
2018 Kia Stinger
Even Kia focused on cool cars in Canada with the Stinger - the star of the 2017 North American Auto Show in Detroit. While we’re worried people won’t actually buy this thing from fear of their addiction to crossovers, the idea of a beautifully-styled, rear-wheel drive, Nürburgring-tested sports sedan from Korea is exciting news.
2018 Hyundai Accent
I know, there’s nothing hair-rising about an Accent, but this is the all new 2018 model! It was revealed in Toronto, in case you didn’t notice.
It’s also refreshing to see an honest to goodness car being unveiled instead of another crossover. I like this little Accent, it looks all grown up now, like a mini Genesis. I can’t wait to review it.
Volvo V90 R-Design
Volvo station wagon with R-Design package. Volvo wagon station with R-Design package.
Volvo R-wagon with station design package. Volvo package wagon with design station R.
Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport
A slightly tuned Jaguar F-Type, the 400 Sport takes Jaguar’s already potent 3.0L supercharged V6, and cranks it up to 400 hp. The 400 Sport also gets a reworked front bumper, an all new set of gunmetal 20-inch wheels, as well as a configurable dynamics braking system.
Jaguar also mentioned something into the effect of lightweight slimline seats which lower the car’s weight by 18 lb, apparently.
The 2017 Canadian International Auto Show premiered a trio of new additions to the Audi model range, notably RS stuff like the all new RS3 sedan and TT-RS. They also unveiled the all new R8 V10 Spyder.
The RS3 sedan is powered by the same 2.5-liter, 5-cylinder turbo as in the TT-RS and pumps out 400 hp. Four hundred god damn horsepowers in a compact Audi sedan. Audi claims a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds.
The R8 Spyder V10, although not fresh Audi news, remains an absolutely gorgeous thing to behold. I wonder how that thing feels with the roof down during a Canadian winter.
Audi Canada also has another R8 on the floor. This one, however, has been given the half race car, half street car treatment - an homage to Audi’s participation in GT3 racing, but more importantly, a nod to Canadian-based company, M1 GT Racing, who works closely with Audi for the development of its GT3 race car.
Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari 312t4
Of course, Canadians know a thing or two about Formula 1. And Canada can’t celebrate its 150th birthday without underlining its 50-year implication in the sport.
Here is Canadian F1 legend Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari 312t4, the car in which he battled René Arnoux for second position during the 1979 French Grand-Prix, which goes down in history as one of the most epic F1 battles of all time.
Villeneuve’s F1 career was tragically halted in 1982 during the qualification session of the Belgian Grand-Prix. He remains to this day, one of the most talented drivers to have ever sat inside a Ferrari Formula One car. Sorry Vettel, but you ain’t got nothing on this Québécois.
The 2017 Canadian International Auto Show is going on right now through February 26th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.