Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Canadian singer, songwriter, and composer Gino Vannelli with his Honda Ridgeline 4WD outide his Troutdale, Oregon studio.

Jonathan House/The Globe and Mail

Gino Vannelli

  • Profession: Singer and songwriter
  • Age: 61
  • Hometown: Montreal

Notable achievements

  • Released his first album in 1973; Brother to Brother was certified Platinum in the United States in 1979, Powerful People was certified Gold in Canada in 1976
  • His first foray into classical music, Parole Per Mio Padre, earned him a performance with Pope John Paul II in 2000
  • Received several Grammy nominations and won numerous Juno awards including Recording Engineer of the Year (1991, 1987, and 1986) as well as Male Vocalist of the Year (1976 and 1979)


Story continues below advertisement

  • North American tour dates include a concert at Flato Markham Theatre in Markham, Ont., on Oct. 23; Brampton, Ont., Oct. 26; Montreal, Nov. 2-3; Beverly Hills, Calif., Nov. 8, and Detroit, Nov. 15


Gino Vannelli has sold more than 10 million records in a career that has spanned more than four decades. The Juno award-winning singer and songwriter is best known for hits such as Black Cars, I Just Wanna Stop, Wheels of Life, Appaloosa and Wild Horses.

At 61, the Canadian rock icon is still going strong and is touring North America. When he's home in Oregon, he doesn't drive flashy, fast black sports cars any more – his ride is a 2012 Honda Ridgeline.

Why did you buy a 2012 Honda Ridgeline?

I'm leasing it temporarily. I only got it because we decided we would heat with wood so we needed it to pick up our own wood. We live out in the mountains so we're always hauling stuff like gravel. It's practical, safe and it's really great for hauling stuff.

I just gave up my 2009 S2000 sports car because I figured I was pushing the limit. It was a great car, a fast car, but I just thought I'd kill me or somebody else, so I figured its time to go away.

I'm right in the middle of shopping for a car right now.

Story continues below advertisement

Have fast cars landed you in trouble in the past?

Yeah. I nearly bought it with my Porsche 25 years ago.

I used to have a Porsche Targa and I nearly killed myself with that one. I spun it around and I nearly went off the highway. We used to live near, they used to call it Norwegian Grade [stretch of road in Conejo Valley, Calif.], and if you spin around and go off you'll go down about 200 feet so it was sure death and not a good one.

So, I sold it. The car is a bit squirrely anyway because of the engine – it's really rear loaded. After that, I said, this is crazy. I figured the S2000 isn't too bad. But the thing goes 160 very quickly. I was doing over 100 and had another close call. So, it was time to go away. It's not worth it.

What's your best and worst driving story ever?

The best and the worst are the same. The best was doing 140 in the Porsche. I felt like I was as fast as the wind. And then the back end came around and it was the worst experience.

Story continues below advertisement

What was your first car?

It was an old Mazda RX-7. It was $1,300 – it was beat up. But the greatest thing about it was it was mine.

When you made it big did you treat yourself to a new car?

When we had success I had a series of Porsches until I decided never to own one again.

What else have you owned?

I owned a Mustang and a Camaro Z28, but I keep trying to avoid the fast cars because I have a terrible foot.

Story continues below advertisement

I keep looking for cars that are mild-mannered and I keep gravitating towards the 5-litre, 6-litre cars. My friend has a Corvette he wants to sell me. It's a fantastic 1965 Stingray and it's in mint condition. The thing has got only 70,000 miles since 1965.

Buy it!

I know. It depends. He wants 100 grand for it.

You've travelled a lot of roads while touring, what's your favourite?

One of them has to be the autobahn in Germany. Our tour manager had a BMW 734 and we were just doing 150-200 km/h all the way to the next gig. It was smooth as ever. That's a great car and a great road.

What do you listen to on the road?

Story continues below advertisement

I love classical and jazz music. The classical station and the jazz station are always on. If that's not on, it's the alternative rock station just to see what's happening. Talk radio sometimes to see who is doing what to whom. I rarely listen to my own music. When I'm mixing something and I just want to see what it sounds like I'll listen in my car.

If I can bring you the keys to any vehicle, what would it be?

That's what I'm trying to figure out.

Lamborghinis and Ferraris are too exotic for my tastes. I've driven them before. They're great and fun, but they're noisy. You feel like you've driven 3,000 miles when you've done 20 miles. I'm not so into cars that I invest a small fortune into those things. I like all kinds of cars.

My wife drives a [Toyota] Avalon which seems to be a great car. I was thinking about the Hyundai Genesis – it's a pretty nice car with a 400-hp engine and its one of the quietest cars I've ever ridden in. It was used as the limo car at one of our gigs. When we went on vacation, Trisha [his wife] and I rented a Genesis and thought that's a possibility.

There's so much competition and a lot of good cars these days. Lincoln has a new compact car that's kind of nice. Some of the new Cadillacs are pretty nice, too. And I still think Mustangs are pretty nice.

Story continues below advertisement

Sometimes my mood will go really retro. Of course, when you go retro, you have to deal without all of the bells and whistles and airbags and so forth. New cars have a lot of stuff going for them including computer technology, mileage and comfort. But they're less fun than the retro cars. The Thunderbird that Ford doesn't make any more was a pretty nice idea. They only had it out for a couple of years, but I think they were on to something.

I've gotten to the point where I don't believe it's worth my while to spend so much money on a car. It's very little payback for me, especially when I've spent so much money in the past and nearly killed myself.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Twitter: @PetrinaGentile

Send your automotive maintenance and repair questions to

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies