I have been a General Motors man just about my entire life. My Dad drove nothing but Chevs and Pontiacs and I followed.
With the exception of one Ford in the late 1950s, and a Plymouth for about six months in the ‘70s, there have been nothing but GM products in my garage.
The greatest vehicle I ever owned was a 1982 Chevrolet Beaumont van. It had V8 horsepower and was big enough to carry a small army. It was nice and high, so that when you drove into the parking lot at the shopping mall, you could look over the tops of all the pipsqueak cars and find a parking spot close to the doors.
I also used to pull a trailer with that van that had my supermodified racing car in it. That race car was powered by one of the two 465 c.i. big block Chevy engines that I owned. It was a bomb.
I loved that van so much that when I win the lottery, I’m going to have GM build me one specially; if they won’t do it, I’ll get somebody to restore one for me.
I have been – and remain – loyal to GM to a fault. So I think this loyalty allows me the anger that follows because General Motors has browned me right off.
Toronto is the only metropolitan city in North America with four successful daily newspapers, each of which publishes a serious automobile supplement each week. When I say serious, I mean they contain reviews, breaking news, opinion, competition – you name it and it’s in them.
Toronto Star Wheels was the first (and remains the best) but Globe Auto, the National Post’s Driving and the Sun’s Autos sections are all in play and are successful.
No other North American city is served by so many newspapers with so many stand-alone sections devoted to coverage of the automobile industry. And hard as it might be to believe, the auto industry is still covered primarily by print. Radio and TV might pay lip service, but the electronic media - as in everything - are here one second and gone the next. Newspapers (and, to be fair, the motoring magazines) stick around to tell the whole story.
Tomorrow – Thursday – the Canadian International AutoShow (better known as the Toronto auto show), will hold its media preview day at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and it will be open to the public on Friday. From what I understand, there is going to be lots to see and do at the auto show, but unlike the auto shows that preceded it in Los Angeles, Detroit, Montreal and Chicago, there will be no first-time-ever "debuts" or "unveilings."
Now, Canada doesn’t have its own car company. We used to, back when they invented the automobile, but no more.
However, we do have our own "car." The Chevrolet Camaro is made exclusively in Canada, at the General Motors plant in Oshawa.
The Camaro has become a bit of a Canadian icon. And it’s arguably the most famous "muscle" car on the continent. In fact, the Camaro convertible is going to be the pace car at this year’s 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. And NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick flew up here just a couple of weeks ago to take possession of the first two or three 2012 models that rolled off the line.
So where did GM decide to debut the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro? To announce to the world that it had arrived?
Chicago, that’s where.
To do it in Detroit or L.A. would have been bad enough. But Chicago?
To paraphrase Al Capone: "I don’t know what street Chicago’s on."
They did that last Wednesday. If they’d waited eight days, they could have done it in Toronto tomorrow.
And why should they have done it in Toronto?
Because the car is made about 40 kms east of the Canadian International AutoShow, in nearby Oshawa.
There is a huge auto show in Toronto.
There are four daily newspapers, all with special automobile sections, to cover it.
And because the taxpayers of Canada – in part – kept General Motors going a couple of years ago, they owed it to us.