Good thing AJAC’s criteria is more stringent than mine

Norris McDonlad writes Unlike my survey, however, AJAC’s tests of the 50 new vehicles eligible for Canadian Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year are formal and scientific to a “T.”

  • AJAC

I look good in a Cadillac Escalade.

I use the present tense because if I looked good in one at the Automobile Journalists of Canada’s annual Canadian Car of the Year Test Fest in Niagara Falls last week, it follows that I would still look good in one today.

The Escalade I was driving was black, and when I conducted my survey I was dressed in black slacks and a black leather jacket. I was also wearing sunglasses.

Everybody I asked said the car and I were made for each other.

Now, my survey was completely informal and unscientific. Everybody I asked works for me and — well — what were they going to say? There’s a tendency to pull your punches when the boss asks for your opinion, particularly when it has something to do with his or her vanity.

(“I look pretty hot in this Escalade, don’t ya think?”

“Damn right ya do.”)

Unlike my survey, however, AJAC’s tests of the 50 new vehicles eligible for Canadian Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year are formal and scientific to a “T.” Upwards of 70 automotive reporters and editors, all of whom were assigned specific categories, conducted back-to-back tests of all the vehicles over the same roads on the same days last week.

Their scores are being tabulated as we speak. Category winners will be announced in Toronto on Dec. 2, the Best New Technology winners will be announced Jan. 15 at the Montreal auto show along and the Canadian Car and UV winners will be announced Feb. 12 at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

We’re jumping the gun a bit. Wheels writers were a big part of the judging process at Test Fest and we are turning over this week’s issue to their reports on all the categories. It will be interesting to see how their judgments stack up against the votes of their colleagues.

As a result, one or two of your favourite features may be missing from Wheels this week but they will return next Saturday.

Anyone who reads Toronto Star Wheels regularly knows that we are big supporters of an extracurricular high school program called F1 in Schools, in which students from around the world design and build — from scratch — miniature racing cars powered by a compressed air cylinder. There are municipal, provincial, national and world competitions.

One of the young fellows I got to know in recent years is named Eeshmam Munir. A Ryerson student these days, Munir took a team made up of SATEC@W.A. Porter Collegiate Institute and Woburn C.I. SATEC students to the F1 in Schools world finals in Abu Dhabi two years ago.

This past summer, he was a marketing intern in Italy with the Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 team, which shows what can happen if you play your cards right.

A team from W.A. Porter C.I., calling itself the Phronesis Group, will again represent Canada at this year’s final in Abu Dhabi Nov. 13-22. They are: Menojh Jeyakumar, team manager; Tausif Syed, communications manager; Debrish Sarma, operations manager; Saqeb Chowdhury, graphics designer; Tevin Devasagayam, chief engineer; Matthew Wong, manufacturing engineer; Tameem Quader, coordinator of internal affairs and Mobarrat Shahriar, assistant engineer.

“Our mission is to inspire teenagers all across Canada to become involved in science, technology, engineering and math projects,” said communications manager Syed. “We hope to be a role model for others by showing what students can accomplish through this competition.”

The winners will receive a whopping C$1.5-million scholarship to study Automotive/Motorsport Engineering at City University in London, England.

Good luck, boys!

If’s official. The 2015 Honda Indy Toronto will be held at Exhibition Place the weekend of June 12-14. For details and to read what I have to say about it, please call up, which is a new Toronto Star Wheels website where, in addition to me, you will find all your favourite Wheels writers.

Don’t forget the Canadian premiere of the documentary “1: Life on the Limit,” a film that traces the evolution of the motor sport during its most dangerous era, that will be shown at the Regent Theatre, 551 Mr. Pleasant Rd., next Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Tickets are $15, tax included, and can be purchased by calling 416-488-7663, emailing or at the Mini Grid automotive hobby shop on Mount Pleasant, across the street from the theatre.

Finally, congratulations to John Tory for winning the election for mayor. During the campaign, he promised to personally chair the committee that determines the time and sequence of road closings in an attempt to quell the chaos that has enveloped the metropolis this year.

Good luck with that. I don’t think he knows what he’s gotten himself into.

Example: I’m driving my wife to work this week on Monday morning, Oct. 27. We are going south on Islington; she works at Islington and Birmingham. To get there, you cross a bridge over the rail yards. But a cruiser is blocking the intersection. They are filming a movie on the bridge.

There is a sign: bridge closed to traffic, 8 p.m. Oct. 26 to 6 a.m. Oct. 27.

It was then 6:30 a.m. and my question to the new mayor is why the police didn’t tell the movie company to pack up and vamoose because the permit to close the bridge had run out.

As I drove east on Judson St. to Royal York, south on Royal York to Birmingham and back along Birmingham to Islington, I was composing this column in my head.

Follow on


Show Comments