Posts By: Brendan McAleer

By on June 15, 2012

You can read Jack Baruth’s extremely thorough track-test of the 2013 Mustang V8 here. All right stop, collaborate and listen: The Mustang’s back in a brand-new edition, Recaros, grab a hold of me tightly – Flow through the corners daily and nightly “Will it ever stop?” Yo, I think so, It’s got grabby pads and […]

By on June 6, 2012

As noted in a triumvirate of TTAC reviews, the Scion iQ is a fun little box that’s hobbled by a somewhat crappy CVT transmission – though, it should be noted, not to the “’Tis but a scratch” extent that the SMART is de-limbed by its godawful gearbox. The above text message was received from my wife after she drove one briefly.

Naturally, after telling her how disappointed I was in her total lack of ethics, I felt rather pleased. When I met Katie, she was a dedicated cyclist and transit-taker who hadn’t bothered to get her driver’s license until her early twenties. With a series of Acura mid-sizers rotating through Dad’s driveway, she regarded the car as either an appliance or a necessary evil.

And then, along come I with my idiotic fervour for the things. Sure, I gave up my first car for the engagement ring, but when we got married I bought a Ford Escort GT with a 5-speed and set out to teach my new wife how to drive it.

It wasn’t easy. There were frustrations and setbacks, tantrums and whining and sometimes I thought the tears would never stop coming.

She wasn’t that thrilled about it either. (Read More…)

By on May 28, 2012

Vancouver’s a funny place when it comes to car culture. One one hand, we’ve got a downtown core that’s switching over to highly affluent residential living, similarly well-heeled Western regions and, carved into the hillsides of West Vancouver, a community that rates its own “Real Housewives Of…” unreality show.

Fuelled by wealth swirling off the Pacific Rim, there’re a lot of high-status automobiles on the streets: throw a rock at random and you’ll likely hit a Supercharged Range Rover, but only after a bounce off two 911s and a Ferrari California. I’ve seen more curbed dubs, beat-up Vantages and hack-job ‘tuner’ M3s than I care to remember. I even recall seeing an RS4 with doilies on the headrests.

Still, to each his own, and for the residents of East Vancouver that means a backlash against conspic-consump buggies and an affinity for hot-rodding. Quick, hand me a ballpoint before somebody notices I don’t have a neck tattoo. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2012

I’d like to lend you a car for the weekend. It’s going to be sunny, and you can head off early before the crowds get out. Take a nice road-trip: maybe, as I just did, blast up the Sea-to-Sky and into the rolling foothills beyond the Pemberton Valley.

Your choice, take anything below.
Car A: 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds
Car B: 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds
Car C: 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds
Car D: 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds
Car E: 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds

So, what did you pick? Click the jump to find out.
(Read More…)

By on May 20, 2012

In the summer of 1989, I was ten going on eleven. The fastest car I had yet ridden in was probably my dad’s 535i, clocked by the CHiP at well over the tonne, a ticket which the patriarch of the family talked himself out of with a “Not bad, right?”

It was hard to say if I really cared about cars yet: obviously they were important to my dad, and I’d already learned to drive our Series III Land Rover at walking pace on the banks of the Fraser River, but there were new Pirate sets coming from Lego, and G.I. Joe had just released a barely-disguised SR-71 Blackbird for the Cobra forces. Sean Connery had joined Harrison Ford in a quest for the Holy Grail. A friend had just gotten the new, side-scrolling Zelda Game.

The world was full of simple distractions for a young man: Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, E.T. and Ewoks, Yop bottles filled with vinegar and baking soda, Thundercats and Space Quest III.

Then, one day, in the basement of a Ladysmith home, I climbed behind the wheel of a 16-bit Porsche 959 and the whole world changed. I was exposed to the founding tenet of automotive enthusiasm.

What? The supercar? Don’t be daft, I’m talking about arguing. (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2012

Yesterday was my day off, and by “day off” I of course mean, “day in which I work my ass off sans remuneration”. No doubt this’ll strike a chord with those of you who also have older houses with plenty of, uh, character.

It was a day no thumbs would die by accidental hammer-blow: there was work to be done on the car, and they don’t call me “Spanner” McAleer just because I’m a bit of idiot. Actually, maybe they do – well anyway, to arms! (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2012

Both Derek and Steven have recently had a go at their worst new small cars (and if you haven’t already, Jack’s take on the Eclipse is as entertaining as that car is not).

I’ve had a few abysmal drives in the past few years, notably a Smart Fortwo and an auto-equipped Scion tC, but one car stood head and shoulders below the rest. I drove it immediately after spending a week with an Evolution GSR, and my first thought was, “Well, that’s the end of Mitsubishi then.” (Read More…)

By on April 18, 2012

Some of you may be confused as this video seems to depict a warm sunny day, a dearth of moose (mooses? meese?), and the miscreant in question isn’t wreaking havoc with a snowmobile. But trust me, this is Canada, and this is one of our normally polite citizens tearing it up on a blue Yamaha R1 at extra-legal speeds on a crowded highway. He probably drank some bad maple syrup or something. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2012

Derek Kreindler is pondering selling his lovely BRG Miata and using the funds as “a down payment on a home of my own.” *Sigh.* Here on the West Coast of Canada, I’d have had to sell my (imaginary) Aventador to pull off the same trick. Spend half-a-million bucks: get half-a-bunkbed in some split-level commune. Pot to piss in, not included.

But that’s not his point, it’s whether or not to let the First One go. The first car you paid for with your own money. That first taste of wheeled freedom. Be it ever so humble, you’ll never walk away from your first without a twinge of regret and many backwards glances.

I remember when I did it. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2012


If you’d like, you can read about my father’s MGB here, or find my thoughts on our Land Rover Series III here. The first taught me of the unspoken bond a father and son can feel when working side-by-side on a restoration project. The second’s lessons were mostly about swearing.

Both cars are still in faithful-if-intermittent service, the Landie as a sort of farm tractor, the MG as the tinkerer’s delight. However, if you’ve the patience, I’d like to tell you about my dad’s real car.

These days, the oul grey fellah pilots one hell of a boulevard-strafer: a six-speed-manual E60 550i M-Sport. It’s his sechste Funfer, and marks a quarter-century of 5-series ownership. To my mind though, he only ever had one. (Read More…)

By on April 14, 2012

Even when on vacation, I can’t help tripping over interesting stuff. In this case, quite literally. Ouch. My toe’s still bleeding. (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2012

We have at least two dandies on staff who make Beau Brummel look like Christian Audiger, what with their Zegna blazers and tailored shirts and handmade shoes and watches that aren’t also calculators. In the ordinary course of things, I leave it in their capable, well-manicured hands to wax eloquent on the concept of style. […]

By on March 31, 2012


Recently, while praising the growly note produced by the VW GLI, I made an off-handed remark concerning the multitude of axle-backs I’ve bolted onto my WRX over the years. Unlike most of the hyperbole that is my métier, such statement was actually based in reality.

I really did swap out back-boxes like Jack cycles through guitars, desiring both an uncorking of the rumble produced by a flat-four with unequal-length headers, yet without the yobbish blatting of some angled oil-barrel. A straight STi swap? Nope, all the metallic unpleasantness of chomping tinfoil. The Borla Hush? Stealthy in looks only, but drones like Ben Stein playing the didgeridoo.

If you’re interested, I ended up with a 2.5” single-tip Maddad Whisper, a fine, US-made piece of engineering which I paid through the nose for. Worth every penny though: just enough bass at idle to flip my on-switch, crest 4K in the rev department and suddenly Nicky Grist is calling out the pace notes.

And here’s the thing, of all the facets of the motorcar that are constantly being refined and improved and modernized, it’s the sound I’ll miss the most.
(Read More…)

By on March 24, 2012


This previously published article appears courtesy of my local regular print publication, the North Shore News.

Some dear friends of ours have a pair of twin boys that are just entering their latter teens. I have seen them grow from precocious eleven-year-old scamps to lofty, sullen, intimidating goons. Actually, just joking, they’re both about as sullen and intimidating as a basket-full of labrador retriever puppies.

However, they’re allowed to drive now. Eeep! (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2012

LAGUNA SECA – It’s called the Corkscrew, and for good reason. Perhaps the single most famous piece of racetrack topography in North America, this left-right two-punch combo can unsettle an unsorted chassis just as fast as the steep 18% gradient can unsettle a novice driver’s stomach. Jack Baruth was here in the same car. I’ll […]

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