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A chrome-wrapped BMW in Toronto's Yorkville area. (Paul Hodgson)

A chrome-wrapped BMW in Toronto's Yorkville area.

(Paul Hodgson)


Yorkville: Home to well-dressed yuppies and blinged-out cars Add to ...

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. In coming weeks, we’ll 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 pcheney@globeandmail.com, find him on Twitter @cheneydrive (#spotted), or join him on Facebook (no login required). All photos by Peter Cheney unless otherwise noted.

Paul Hodgson

From Bohemian to Bling

In the 1960s, Toronto’s Yorkville district was a hippie district where you went to panhandle, smoke pot, and listen to singers like Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot. Today, Yorkville is where yuppies show off their expensive clothes and blinged-out cars. My friend Paul Hodgson spotted this chrome-wrapped BMW.

Paul Hodgson

Shine of the Times

Although there doesn’t appear to be a formal schedule, luxury car owners gather in Yorkville every week, drawn by the same mysterious forces that tell the birds head south, and drive the lemmings to the cliffs. If you want to stand out in Yorkville, you need a really expensive car – or chrome wrap.

Paul Hodgson

Slipping Through Town Unnoticed

My friend Paul also spotted this matte pink Mercedes. If you’re looking for business ideas, how about opening a car-wrap franchise in Yorkville?

Paul Hodgson

The Yorkville Express

This is an Excalibur, a U.S.-made car designed to look like a pre-war Mercedes. The Excalibur car brand was launched in the sixties by designer Brooks Stevens, who also designed Lawn Boy mowers, Allis-Chalmers tractors and the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. Excaliburs used fibreglass bodies that concealed Studebaker and GM running gear. Buyers included Dean Martin, Liberace, and Sonny and Cher. Had it been equipped with GPS, the Excalibur would no doubt have come with Yorkville preloaded as a waypoint.

Patrick Dell

Meanwhile, On the Other Side of Town…

I never cease to be amazed at what car owners can do with duct tape. My friend Patrick Dell spotted this never-say-die VW convertible near Woodbine and Danforth in Toronto.

Patrick Dell

No, That’s Not a Crocodile Skin Roof

Here’s a close-up of that duct-taped VW convertible. It’s definitely a distinctive look - and it’s cheaper than a new top. (Good thing duct tape comes in colours other than silver now)

The Fixer-Upper

I saw this crashed Mercedes getting rolled into the shop at Dupont Auto Collision this week. Not exactly showroom condition. (They’re cutting it up for parts.)

The Sacrificial Car

Despite the massive damage caused by the crash, the Mercedes’ passenger compartment was nearly intact. It’s amazing how well modern cars can protect the humans inside – the kinetic energy of a crash is dissipated by the deformation of the metal structure.

Go Big or Go Home

If you’re going to get a pickup truck, why not make it a big one? And why not deck it out with camouflage trim, jacked-up suspension and a billet grill? I spotted this GMC here in downtown Toronto. What better machine could there be for our city’s tiny parking spots, crowded streets and sky-high fuel prices?

Size Matters

The GMC made my car look like a bug that was about to get stuck in its grill. Respect.

Duck Dynasty Edition

The GMC had no shortage of camouflage trim. A thought: if you wanted to hide a truck, shouldn’t you to camouflage the entire thing, instead of just the mirrors, wheels and fender flares?

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

This looks like a mount point for a snowplow. The name says it all.

The Non-Macho Pickup

My wife and I spotted this Volkswagen Kombi pickup in a Toronto alley. No camouflage trim or Boss logos on this one.

A Dash of Colour

I’m noticing a lot of bright-coloured wheels lately. This Mazda with lime-green rims rolled past me last week here in Toronto. The impact of wheel colour on resale value remains to be seen.

A Trend

I’ve seen at least a dozen cars with unexpected wheel colours recently. Here’s another lime-green-wheel special – I spotted this one on Queen St. West in Toronto.

The Refrigerator Motif

If you don’t care for lime green, pink or orange, you can always paint your wheels to match the rest of your car. I spotted this Amana-esque Golf on Robert St., in downtown Toronto.

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