Spotted is Globe Drive writer Peter Cheney’s weekly feature that takes you behind the scenes of his life as a vehicle and engineering journalist. We also highlight the best of your original photos and short video clips (10 seconds or less), which you should send with a short explanation. E-mail email@example.com, find him on Twitter @cheneydrive (#spotted), or join him on Facebook (no login required).
As there are only 500 Lexus LFA’s in the entire world, your chances of encountering one in the wild are extremely low. But I came across this one on King St. in Toronto. The LFA is an engineering masterpiece, with carbon fibre structure and a symphonic V-10 engine. The LFA was produced between 2010 and 2012, and each car was customized by its owner on a specially designed Lexus website. This was the first time I’ve heard an LFA running, and the sound of that high-tuned V10 was otherworldly - if I had to describe it, I’d say it sounds like a jungle cat crossed with a saxophone.
The rolling rainbow
Who needs a custom paint job when there’s duct tape? Rick Maloney spotted this vibrant Chevy van at the Father's Day car show in Bracebridge, Ontario.
The Little Pony school of car design
As I studied Rick’s pictures of the duct tape glitter van, I had a strange sense of déjà vu. Then I remembered my daughter’s collection of miniature fantasy horses. Made by Hasbro, they were known as My Little Pony, and featured names like Lilac Luster and Sugar Belle. If you wanted a van to go with your Little Pony collection, this would be a perfect choice.
Optimus Prime, your car is ready….
John Martins spotted this one-off machine at a Camaro owners meet in Oakville. From the looks of it, the owner has watched those Transformers movies more than a few times.
Blast from the past
If you lived through the seventies, you may remember the Baja Bug craze. You made a Baja Bug by cutting the nose and tail off a VW Beetle and bolting on shortened fenders. This improved the Beetle’s off-road performance. It was also a handy way of eliminating damage. One of my friends turned his Beetle into a Baja Bug after a chain-reaction crash that left both ends of his car crushed. Stephen Van Esch spotted this Baja Bug in Fergus, Ontario. (If you ever wanted a Baja Bug, it looks like this one’s for sale.)
The art of the fake hood scoop
For blue-collar ambience, it’s hard to beat an ex-police cruiser. This owner has made his unique with a giant air intake scoop and hood hold-down pins. Rob Russell spotted it in Toronto. As he noted, the scoop isn’t actually connected to the intake system. Does that really matter? As the French would say: “Vive la difference.”
Faded, still glorious
I spotted this well-worn Jaguar E-Type in Toronto. I’m always amazed at the enduring appeal of this design, now more than 50 years old. True beauty is transcendent, and cannot be diminished by rust, time or shifting styles. The E-Type is a beloved machine for a reason. As Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 55: “You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.”
The great pretender
The Auburn Speedster is one of the classics, capturing the spirit of Golden Age America. I spotted this one in Toronto. There’s little doubt that it’s a kit car (the Auburn has been knocked off by numerous manufacturers) but it still turned heads.
When cars were like boats
The Auburn epitomizes the design ethos of 1930’s America, when many cars resembled luxury speedboats. Check out the Auburn’s angled, two-panel windshield and its tapered aft section, which gave the car its nickname: “boat tail.”
Spousal veto has killed more than a few vehicle sales. This motorcycle dealer has taken a proactive approach to the problem. My friend Scott Jackson’s daughter spotted the sign in B.C.
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