Tuesday, April 13, 2021

McLaren Rethinks Going Backwards With Its 205-Mile Per Hour Artura

Photo Credit: McLaren Automotive



For a supercar driver, the greatest sensation is travelling forward at a speed unreachable by a typical passenger car. The McLaren Artura, the latest high-velocity, road-going creation from the British auto racing team that expanded into exotic performance car builder is set to become another desirable machine for those with the style, courage and money to explore the wider boundaries of automobile performance.  

Touting acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour (96.56 kilometers per hour) in just 3 seconds and a top speed of 205 miles per hour, McLaren’s Artura supercar muscle goes with the sophistication expected for a vehicle in the third decade of the 21st century. Momentum for the Artura is supplied by a new hybrid electric/gasoline powertrain combining a lightweight, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine generating 671 brake horsepower with a 94-horsepower E-Motor that produces 165 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with a 7.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, the McLaren Artura can travel up to 19 miles (30.6 kilometers) on a pure EV mode for a maximum speed of 81 miles per hour (130.3 kilometers per hour). The compact electric motor also acts to supply extra torque in concert with the gasoline engine. 

Besides the focus towards propelling their newest supercar offering forward through an innovative high performance power unit, McLaren Automotive made a bold step in engineering the manner the Artura travels backwards. The McLaren Artura’s eight-speed transmission is described as a Seamless Shift Gearbox lacking the typical reverse gear. Instead of shifting to a specialized gear to back up, drivers of the Artura will be propelled in reverse by the supercar’s electric motor. The same E-Motor unit capable of supplying up to 81 miles per hour of forward momentum spins in the opposite direction to allow the plug-in hybrid supercar to back up. This clever engineering approach towards having reverse movement travel handled through an electric motor permitted McLaren to create a lighter transmission with a 1.6-inch shorter gear cluster. Through managing battery usage, the automaker insures that there will always be enough energy retained in the temperature-controlled lithium-ion battery for reversing as well as starting.


Photo Credit: McLaren Automotive



Electrification for the McLaren Artura goes beyond the propulsion supplied by E-Motor located within the transmission’s bell-housing. In addition to the electro-hydraulic steering and E-Differential, the new British supercar will provide heating and cooling to occupant using an eHVAC system.   

The first plug-in hybrid supercar to be sold by the premium car builder, the Artura is not McLaren’s first foray into combining gasoline and electric propulsion. Alongside the LaFerrari, the 903-horsepower McLaren P1 was one of the earlier production hypercars to employ a hybrid powertrain when built between 2013 and 2015. Last year, McLaren’s Speedtail, a so-called Hyper-GT, boasted a top speed potential of 250 miles per hour through a combination of a twin-turbocharged V-8 with an eMotor producing a maximum output of 1,035 horsepower. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

GMC's Electrified HUMMER Revival Adds SUV For 2024

Photo Credit: GMC/General Motors



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The announcement and unveiling of the GMC HUMMER EV last year sparked a great deal of curiosity towards how a macho electric truck will be embraced going against the grain of the traditional fuel-burning vehicles. A muscular style revisiting the military-derived aesthetic of the original Hummer models and marketing performance numbers such as 1,000 horsepower and 11,500 lb-ft of torque seems to have successfully drawn attention to the upcoming vehicle’s capacities. Ahead of the release of GMC HUMMER EV Supertruck with early models arriving in the United States later this year, a companion model with a sport utility body style is announced for early 2023.


Boasting the same athleticism and tough design as the previously-unveiled truck variant, the 2024 GMC HUMMER EV SUV’s inclusion of an enclosed cargo compartment will provide owners access to as much as 81.8 cubic feet of cargo space. Integrated load floor storage and side compartments behind the second row passenger seating allow for organized, secured handling of smaller items.


Photo Credit: GMC/General Motors




Compared to the HUMMER EV pickup truck, the SUV version of the upcoming electric vehicle features differing exterior dimensions. At 196.8 inches (4,999.5 millimeters) in total length, the GMC HUMMER EV SUV is 20 inches shorter than the truck. As nimbler version of GMC’s electric platform operating on a 126.7-inch (3,218 millimeter) wheelbase, the SUV actually outperforms the earlier-announced variant in turning radius. When equipped with optional 4 Wheel Steer, the 2024 HUMMER EV SUV can complete a full turning circle in just 10.8 meters. Vehicle width, suspension system, maximum ground clearance and max approach angle remain nearly identical on both body styles of the GMC HUMMER EV SUV.


Standard equipment that will be appearing on the 2024 GMC HUMMER EV SUV lineup includes a tailgate-mounted, full-sized spare tire, Digital Key and a 13.4-inch diagonal infotainment screen that possesses in-depth details relating to energy management as well as battery performance. The HUMMER EV SUV will be available with various trim levels accommodating different equipment and powertrains. With a retail sticker of $88,898 (Canadian price), the HUMMER EV2 SUV has a rated range of 402 kilometers and is propelled through a two-motor setup. The $104,898 GMC HUMMER EV2X SUV maintains the two-motor configuration but contains a larger capacity 20-module Ultima battery pack providing an increased maximum driving range of 482 kilometers. A three-motor setup delivering a maximum output of 830 horsepower and 11,500 lb-ft of torque is found on the HUMMER EV3X SUV priced at $119,398. An Edition 1 building from the GMC HUMMER EV3X SUV will be the first version of electric vehicle to release in early 2023 arriving with standard premium 22-inch wheels, floor liners and will be offered with a special Moonshot Green Matte exterior paint option.  


Photo Credit: GMC/General Motors




Available features on the 2024 GMC HUMMER EV SUV is extensive including the before-mentioned 4 Wheel Steer with CrabWalk and a Power Station generator. An Extreme Off-Road Package adds underbody armour and rock sliders, heavy-duty ball-spline half shafts as well as 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires mounted to 18-inch wheels. Also included in the extensive off-roading package is an UltraVision camera system giving the driver an underbody view over terrain.

 

The first production version of the GMC HUMMER EV Edition 1 pickup truck (VIN 001) recently sold at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson car auction for $2,500,000 US with proceeds fully benefiting the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. While the prominence of being the first vehicle of its type and the charity element of the auction listing played a part, the sale fetching an amount more than 22 times higher the electric truck’s $112,595 retail price highlights the level of anticipation for the potentially game-changing product line.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Canadian International AutoShow Revisited: 2014 Edition

James Hinchcliffe with Honda Fit
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Theme of the Show: Beyond Expectations

For an event that featured the Canadian debut and/or exhibition of several high-performance vehicles, the opening ceremonies were a particularly high-octane affair. The late Sergio Marchionne, than-CEO of Fiat Group and later Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), took to the stage for the company’s press conference followed by a Q&A in an act that could be viewed as brave or foolish. Just ahead of the auto show, his automaker had been reportedly asking for $700 million in government assistance to upgrade their Canadian manufacturing short of five years after the company accepted nearly $3 billion in loans from the Ontario provincial and Canadian federal governments in order to restructure Chrysler Group. Despite the allegations there was some serious hardball being played by the auto company, Marchionne’s speech and tone attempted to divert any hostilities drawing heavily on his personal Canadian connections. Marchionne would take a defensive posture under questioning from members of the media. 

After the conclusion of what was a tense exchange between Sergio Marchionne and the media (by the way, FCA would ultimately withdraw their request for government funds on that occasion), there was a great deal of personality in the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow. Exciting new cars, engaging new concepts designs and tons of performance machines. Canadian content for the year’s show was rich too thanks to a display honouring road racer Ron Fellows as well as a surprise appearance of IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe. 


Notable Vehicles:

2015 Chrysler 200

2015 Chrysler 200 Blue
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Two years after the Dodge Dart arrived, the newly-assembled Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would add another sedan to the North American lineup based on the Fiat Group-derived compact car platform. The new generation 2015 Chrysler 200 was launched with the intent to battle in the very competitive mid-sized family sedan market in North America. Sporting a new design language for the Chrysler brand and boasting higher class material use, the 200 sedan touches included a rotary e-shift dial for the nine-speed automatic transmission instead of a shift lever. Propelled by a 2.4-liter MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine with standard ESS (Engine Stop-Start) technology or a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 powerplant that generates 295 horsepower, all-wheel drive, Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen and Adaptive Cruise Control Plus were standout available features on the 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan. In a similar outcome to the Dodge Dart, the Chrysler 200 was promoted by the automaker out of the gate but was dropped quickly and silently. 2017 was the final production year for the 200 sedan.



2015 Ford Mustang

2015 Ford Mustang
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Entering the golden anniversary of the great pony car, Ford Motor Company’s celebration included the introduction of a radically all-new Mustang. The 2015 Ford Mustang adopted a more modern thinking exterior than the heavily retro-inspired shape of the 2005 Mustang redesign. Still distinctly Ford, the new Mustang front end drew deeply from the Evos concept of 2011. The side of the 2015 Ford Mustang adopted a smoother profile losing the mock side vents ahead of the rear wheels that was present in some manner on the three previous generations of the pony car. In addition to a potent 3.7-liter V-6 engine as well as the Canadian-made 5.0-liter V-8 Coyote engine found in the GT model, a four-cylinder EcoBoost powerplant joined the performance lineup for the new Mustang. This latest Ford Mustang also touted a growing list of available high-tech equipment including Blind Spot Information System, adaptive cruise control, Intelligent Access with push-button start and the latest SYNC connected vehicle technology.    



Jaguar C-X17

Jaguar C-X17
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Some observers believed the reason why Jaguar held off producing a premium crossover vehicle was in treading into the territory belonging to their corporate sibling Land Rover/Range Rover. By 2014, Jaguar couldn’t afford to be left out of a market segment where premium brand competition has introduced one or more products. First shown in Frankfurt in 2013, the C-X17 concept vehicle showed to the world what badge with the mighty cat could create for the luxury compact crossover marketplace. Constructed on a modular platform incorporating the extensive use of aluminum, the four-passenger Jaguar C-X17's crossover shape featured the luxury car maker’s familiar prowling appearance. Other traits employed on the C-X17 included 23-inch alloy wheels, Interactive Surface Console with Wi-Fi access and a V-6 engine paired with a high-tech all-wheel drive system. Classified as a concept, there was little hiding the fact this crossover design would become a production reality. 



BMW Active Tourer Outdoor

BMW Active Tourer Outdoor
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


An attractive, compact spectacle in a Gold Race Orange paint colour, the BMW Active Tourer Outdoor utilized the underpinnings of the 2 Series for a highly versatile adventure vehicle. First shown to the world in the summer of 2013, the BMW Active Tourer Outdoor’s design demonstrated itself as a sturdy companion for recreational activities with a durable interior and an integrated bicycle carrier. The concept car was propelled by a BMW eDrive plug-in hybrid system consisting of an electric motor and a 1.5-liter gasoline engine. Despite showing the Active Tourer Outdoor concept at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow, BMW would have no intention to sell its production variant in North America.  


2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150 Pickup Truck at 2014 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


While Ford Motor Company’s rebooted Mustang could have potentially generated enough debate, the automaker’s 2015 model lineup also featured an all-new F-150 pickup truck that took the top-selling vehicle in a radical new direction. Continuing to proudly project the attitude of a tough half-ton truck, the 2015 F-150 would realize working hard also requires working smart. The 2015 Ford F-150's most publicized feature was the extensive use of military-grade aluminum in combination with the added application of high-strength steel contributing to a weight savings of 700 pounds. Available high-tech equipment for the new pickup truck included LED headlights, 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control as well as trailer hitch assist. A new, smaller 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine was added to the Ford F-150's powerplant lineup for the 2015 model year.  


Volvo S60 Polestar

Volvo S60 Polestar at 2014 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


An auto company mostly associated with vehicle safety, Swedish’s Volvo has asserted itself as a performance-capable brand through its history. Through the 1990s and 2000s, Volvo sedans (and even the 850 Estate wagon) competed in touring car categories. Starting in 2012, the notion of bringing the sport favour to the street with special high-performance version of the S60 sedan was teased to audiences. Launching the Polestar sub-brand in 2013 with a limited release of 50 vehicles sold in Australia, Volvo introduced its latest lineup to a wider global crowd that included Canada. The Volvo S60 Polestar received a sizable list of special equipment including special 20-inch wheels, Ohlins shocks, front brakes with six-piston Brembo calipers and a unique interior. Paired with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle-shifters was the S60 Polestar’s 345-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine. Selling for $64,895 in Canada, the Volvo S60 Polestar was exceptionally limited. Only 750 total examples of the S60 Polestar and its sister vehicle the V60 Polestar would be sold for the year. Entering 2021, the Polestar name is taking on a modified persona as the Volvo performance line is based around electrification. 

Infiniti Q30 Concept

Models with Infiniti Q30 Concept
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


During the early 2010s, many luxury car companies considered producing a new compact vehicles for the younger automotive consumers. Infiniti’s plans for the entry-level premium car segment was teased with the Q30 Concept. Expressing its design as a fusion of coupe, hatchback and crossover body styles, the Infiniti Q30 Concept featured flowing character lines displaying muscle as well as elegance. The premium compact concept’s interior included real carbon fiber, leather seating with violet stitching and sculpted ceramic details in the front seatbacks. A production version of the Infiniti Q30 Concept and a crossover vehicle called the QX30 would be built on a platform shared with German luxury rival Mercedes-Benz A-Class and GLA-Class. With both vehicles manufactured in the United Kingdom, Infiniti only delivered the QX30 crossover to North America. The plant located in Sunderland stopped producing the Q30 and QX30 after the 2019 model year.


McLaren P1

McLaren P1
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


A low-volume, highly expensive niche in the automobile sector, it would seem illogical there is such a large crowd wanting to be seen at the pinnacle of the supercar market. Already having to overcome the mainstay names of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, McLaren took an independent plunge into the premium performance landscape with the MP4-12C (later simplified to the name 12C). At the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the British sports car company introduced a top-tier vehicle for the ultra-elite hypercar customer. Appearing at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow for the first time as part of Auto Exotica, the McLaren P1 demonstrated superior performance and power. The P1 utilized a hybrid powertrain marrying a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 engine with an electric motor generating a collective 903 horsepower. The momentum from the power unit was enough to propel the largely carbon fiber machine from 0 to 300 kilometers per hour in 16.5 seconds. Capable of a top speed of 217 miles per hour (350 kilometers per hour), the McLaren P1 hypercar included a fully array of equipment making it responsive at any speed such as a Drag Reduction System, Brake Steer, RaceActive Chassis Control and Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires. Only 375 examples of the McLaren P1 were sold starting a $1,190,000 Canadian.


Nissan Micra

Nissan Micra at 2014 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


For the same price as the spoken-for McLaren P1 in the Auto Exotica display at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow, someone could theoretically buy 119 examples of Nissan’s all-new for Canada Micra subcompact car. At a total length of 3,827 millimeters (150.67 inches), the budget-friendly hatchback launching with the lowest sticker price of $9,998 in Canada (before freight and other applicable costs). For its entry-level price, drivers received a Nissan Micra powered by a 109-horsepower 1.6-liter engine, electric power steering, 60/60 split rear seating and a full assortment of air bags for safety. Doing more than just adapting the European model to Canadian road regulations, Nissan performed a number of refinements to the Micra to make it feel better at home with customers in the country. The suspension and power steering were re-tuned after testing on Montreal roads, larger 15-inch wheels were standard equipment and the rear passenger row received their own heating ducts. Sold in Canada until the 2019 model year, the car was central to the Nissan Micra Cup operating from 2015 to 2020 and was advertised as one of the most affordable touring series in Canadian auto racing.


Chevrolet Corvette Z06

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Low Res Shot
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


At the previous year’s auto show in Toronto, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray’s Canadian debut gave audiences the opportunity to see a seventh generation of the long-running sports car boasting the greatest standard horsepower from its new LT1 V-8 engine. For the 2014 edition of the Canadian International AutoShow, it was time for a new Z06 model to dazzle. Based on the American sports car’s seventh generation platform, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 showed itself superior beyond its sixth generation predecessor. The silver example of the new Corvette Z06 contained a supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 engine that generated a SAE-certified 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. When equipped with the optional Z07 performance package applying advanced aerodynamic features including a carbon fiber front splitter as well as larger but lighter brake rotors, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 could over-perform the 2013 Corvette ZR1 on the race track. An available factory-installed Performance Data Recorder provided drivers with a unique means to capture their experience behind the flat-bottom steering wheel of the high-powered Corvette. 



Mazda SkyActiv Prototype Sports Car 

Mazda SkyActiv Prototype Race Car
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


The presence of racing machines on the floor space of manufacturers has not been uncommon at the Canadian International AutoShow over the years. Due to their connection as the title sponsor of the Honda Indy Toronto, Honda Canada could be often trusted to give attendees a close-up look at an IndyCar Series show car as part of their showcase. Infiniti’s show display would also incorporate a full-scale representation of Formula 1 car (first from Red Bull Racing and later from the Renault F1 Team) on several occasions. For the 2014 auto show, Mazda showed off their latest challenger for prototype sports car racing in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. Based on a Lola B12/80 chassis supplied by Canada’s Multimatic, the Mazda Prototype served as a public test bed for the company’s plans to introduce a diesel engine to North America. The SkyActiv2.2-liter turbocharged diesel used in the race car would closely resemble the powerplant Mazda would offer on the Mazda6 and CX-5. The on-track success of the diesel-powered Mazda Prototype over the course of two seasons proved limited and Mazda would replace the car in favour for one using a turbocharged gasoline engine starting in 2016.   


Special Exhibitions:

Ron Fellows Racing History Display

2001 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R at Ron Fellows Showcase
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


A living legend in Canadian motorsports, Ron Fellows’ career as a driver contained a collection of accomplishments and accolades that included wins in some of the most prestigious events. With Corvette Racing where he played an integral role as an early test driver before the team’s limited 1999 American Le Mans Series campaign, Fellows co-drove the race-prepped Corvette C5.R in three GTS class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, two Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring and took overall victory in the 2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The modest display honouring the Fellows also included a Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z raced in the 1989 GM/Players Challenge series, a 2010 #88 NASCAR Nationwide Series Chevrolet Impala and a 2007 Ron Fellows Edition Chevrolet Corvette Z06. 

Auto Exotica

Lamborghini Gallardo Bicolore Art Car by LISABEL
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


In addition to the already mentioned McLaren P1 hypercar, Auto Exotica at the 2014 Canadian International AutoShow featured a select variety of high-priced vehicles. A Rolls-Royce Wraith, Ferrari F12Berlinetta and a Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster alongside a Lamborghini Gallardo featuring the artwork of Lisabel are among the masterpieces included in the level 100 exhibit. 


Cruise Nationals

Steve Hauck's 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Ten vehicles were gathered once again from local cruise nights representing the best antique and custom vehicles owned by residents surrounding Toronto. The 2014 Canadian International AutoShow was the final time that the Cruise Nationals competition would be part of the special exhibitions. The announcement came shortly after the show wrapped crowning Steve and Tim Thurlow’s 1952 Chevrolet pickup truck as the last gold medal recipient.


Muscle Car Alley

Petty 43 1970 Plymouth Superbird
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada


Joining the Cruise National’s last appearance at the Toronto auto show, organizers sourced a number of exceptional high-performance vehicles constructed between the 1950s and 1970s. One particular highlights of the Muscle Car Alley display was a 1970 Plymouth Superbird stock car belonging and raced by NASCAR legend Richard Petty.


Sunday, April 4, 2021

How Automobiles Hitting Granite In 1906 Launched The Auto Show In Canada

1904 Curved Dash Oldsmobile at Cobble Beach Display at 2020 CIAS
Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/Car FYI Canada



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As February passed this year Toronto’s auto show, a mainstay of the winter entertainment calendar, was one of many events forced into cancellation as we deal with our fight to conquer COVID-19. Missing out on occasions and interactions we have almost taken for granted has hopefully presented the thoughts to us all realizing just how precious those moments are. Reflecting on the past of the Canadian International AutoShow drove me to the event’s deepest origin. Though the current iteration of the exhibition dates back to 1974, the show that first acquainted Canada with the automobile in a large scale occurred 115 years ago.  


In 1906, Toronto was growing rapidly on numerous fronts. The population in the direct city area exploded from 208,000 in 1901 to 376,500 by 1911. In addition to newcomers calling Toronto home in that first decade of the 20th century, city limits expanded through several annexations since 1883. As an epicentre of growth, a world of new technologies would enable residents to unite better than ever before. The innovation of the automobile was initially appreciated as novelty for the rich and affluent was on the brink of becoming an all-too familiar part of the good city.


On a cold Saturday afternoon where the mercury barely pushed above the freezing point on the Celsius scale, the first organized display of automobiles and motor boats in Canada. A monumental gathering organized by the Toronto Automobile Club held at the Granite Rink located at the time on Church Street between Gloucester Street and Wellesley Street, the coolness of an early spring day could not hold the heat of a blossoming culture surrounding the motorized machines.


Granite Rink Area on 1903 City of Toronto Fire Insurance Plans Map




As the crowd convened for the major exhibition, president of the Toronto Automobile Club M.C. Ellis opened the show by addressing the 9th Lieutenant Government of Ontario Sir William Mortimer Clark. In the address commemorating the occasion, Ellis commented in part, “At present in its infancy, it is developing so fast that no man can foretell the greatness of tis future or predict with certainty the extent of the revolution it will work in transit and traffic, and in agricultural operations.”


A total of 20 automakers represented the best of motoring in 1906 at the first show of its kind in Canada with some emerging into titans and others fading into obscurity in a strife for early automobile customers. A few of the marques appearing at the Toronto show that would be the earliest to lose the battle in the auto market was Marion and Royal Tourist. Operating from 1904 to 1914, Marion built an automobile powered by an air-cooled four-cylinder engine. Royal Tourist was a Cleveland, Ohio automaker also founded in 1904 that arrived at the 1906 auto show with a 40-horsepower Model G. Pope-Toledo, Stevens-Duryea, Stoddard-Dayton and Winton were other brands on display at the Granite Rink that never rose to became household names. Other names such as Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Peerless and Thomas (who presented one their famed Flyer Touring Car at the car show) would make a bigger impact in the early 20th century but eventually closed.  


While American auto companies made up the majority of the 1906 Toronto auto show, there were also vehicles representing the European continent. Star and Humber (a brand that would run until 1976) came from the United Kingdom while Darracq was a French-founded, London-based auto maker producing the Type R 10/12 in 1906. This first Canadian auto show also featured a new local automaker. Russell Motor Car Company was established in 1905 by the Canadian Cycle and Motor Company and began production of the 12-horsepower Model A that sold for $1,300 Canadian in 1906 (the equivalent of roughly $38,000 in 2021). More powerful and larger Model B and Model C models were also introduced by Russell by the time of the exhibition.


Postcard capturing Russell Model A on University of Toronto Property




The reality of an automobile marketplace depending on fully electric vehicles has been the key focus of modern auto shows as many automakers cement intentions of producing multiple electrified models in addition to existing options in 2021 such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Ford Mustang Mach-E and the lineup from Tesla Motors. This came after years of car shows where an electric vehicle from a major auto company was relegated to the stage of a flashy concept car. In 1906, the Pope Motor Car Company of Indianapolis, Indiana offered a fully electric range of Waverley horseless carriages with open cabin and enclosed models available. In the later years of Waverley, Canadian customers could buy the electric car through the T. Eaton Company catalogue. The Waverley name would disappear after 1916 as gasoline-powered automobiles won the public relations fight at the beginning of the last century.

  

At the time of the auto show, Henry Ford was still working his way through the alphabet towards the Model T that would arrive in 1908. By 1906, Ford Motor Company of Canada concluded production of their first product, the Model C, and was swapping the assembly lines to the Model N that would be produced for two years. Though greatly eclipsed by the Model T, total global production for the affordable Ford Model N was respectable amounting to roughly 7,000 vehicles.

 

Part of the committee that organized the first auto show in Toronto, William Hyslop would be a major fixture in mobilizing the city in the early decades of the 20th century as part of the Hyslop Brothers. Established for the sale of bicycles, Hyslop Brothers emerged as a name in auto parts and equipment as well as the agents for the sale of Cadillac and Oldsmobile. By 1906, customers of Cadillac were first offered a choice of a closed-body configuration inspired by the 1905 Osceola prototype.


Picture of Cadillac founder Henry M. Leland with 1905 Osceola (Photo Credit: Cadillac/General Motors)




In addition to the automobiles at the Granite Rink, the space contained several accessory suppliers for cars and motor boats. Dunlop Tire and Rubber Company, Canadian General Electric, Jones Speedometer and Canada Lock Nut Company and Toronto Gas and Gasoline Engine Company were among the exhibitors on the grounds. Also present at the 1906 auto show was the mighty T. Eaton Company tempting prospective automotive customers with their array of driving apparel such as coats, gloves, hats as well as goggles for men and women.

 

As the first auto show in Canada generated fanfare, the platform for displaying the potential of motoring quickly expanded beyond the gathering on Church Street (today Barbara Hall Park stands on the former site of the Granite Rink. From April 9th to April 14th, the Mutual Street Rink (soon to be the site of Arena Gardens, the first home to the Toronto Maple Leafs) would hold the Canada Automobile and Motor Exhibition. Before the end of the month of April, the auto show craze would reach Montreal.


Reflecting on the story of how rapidly the seed of the first auto show in Canada 115 years ago grew to such a vast, lush automotive world, there should be great optimism momentum will shift back to finding the automobile as a source of fascination entering deeper into its second century of existence.




Special thanks to City of Toronto Archives for assistance in locating the fire insurance plans maps