Lauren Tang, 13, stands next to her bullseye at Lykopis Archery School.
Lauren Tang, 13, stands next to her bullseye at Lykopis Archery School.
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During my normal mind-numbing morning work commute crawl, I was briefly entertained when I saw this:
A shiny black Lamborghini sporting the classic green new driver emblem! When I told my co-worker, she said it could be a 40-something new immigrant who is in the process of getting their drivers license (nah, who are we kidding — It’s Richmond!)
Back for the first time at BC Place post-renovation, the Vancouver International Auto Show makes its 92nd appearance and manages to keep things fresh for consumers who are finally starting to buy again.
“We’re not back to the pre-2008 levels – you know 2006 and 2007 were strong, strong years in theNorth American auto markets,” said Blair Qualey, president of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. who organizes the show.
“At the worst of the time a couple of years ago (the United States sales were) 10 million vehicles, andnow they’re projecting over 14 million vehicles this year. I think it’s pretty significant for an industry that went through such a challenging time,” said Qualey.
A quiet crowd milled about the stadium opening night that coincided with a Canucks home game. The theme this year for the show focused around technology – particular of the clean energy variety that continues to evolve. Nary a manufacturer was without some type of green offering from the zeroemission Nissan LEAF to the high-stamina Chevrolet Volt that can travel between 40 to 80 kilometres on electric power alone. It still may be some time before we start seeing them rival the Civics and Mazda 3s on the roads, though.
“Slowly but surely — it’s a long slow process anytime you have a new technology. If you think back to big screen TVs when they first came out, not a whole lot of people had one because they were pretty darn expensive,” he said.
“The manufacturers are working really hard, and now with this clean energy vehicle incentive they get up to $5,000 off one of these qualifying vehicles so it makes it much easier to get into it perhaps a little sooner than they might have otherwise.”
Further helping with the cause to go electric were the luxury-sedan Fisker Karma boasting a top speed of approximately 200 km/h, and the Tesla roadster that takes a mere 3.7 seconds to go from zero to 100 km/h.
Aside from purely environmentally-friendly offerings, about 26 of the automotive brands present at the show had their usual staples on display with some debuting brand new models like Scion’s highly-anticipated 200-horsepower rear wheel drive sports car the FR-S. A joint project with Subaru who will be releasing their own version dubbed the BRZ, the affordable sticker price of $25,990 already has enthusiasts signing up on growing waitlists.
“The price was just released on Monday,” said show representative Steven Yago. “In June it should be available at dealerships.”Sleek coupes like the FR-S represents an aesthetic renaissance in the world of cars said Qualey.
“Some people have suggested that the industry is bringing sexy back in terms of design in the vehicles. There was a period of time that design wasn’t the big focus, but we’re starting to really see some fun coming back into the vehicles,” he said.
“It’s OK now to love your car again.”
The show runs until Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $4 for kids. Formore information visit www.vancouverinternationalautoshow.com.
From the March issue of CHARGED magazine…
Everyone has a friend or ten who graduated from business school to go on to practical, yet perhaps unglamorous careers in finance, or accounting. Taiwanese-American singer Jason Chen started down that path, but quickly realized he had a greater talent to share with the world.
Jason studied business economics while attending UCLA (he graduated in 2010), and while in college his roommates saw his singing potential and encouraged him to sing cover songs and upload them to YouTube. It’s a good thing he did — he’s tackled everything from Bruno Mars (“Grenade”, “Just The Way You Are”), Nelly (“Just A Dream”) and even Beyonce (“If I Were A Boy”) to slightly less R&B and more eastern grooves like Wang Leehom (“Still In Love With You”) and David Tao (“Regular Friends”) netting him millions of views. He’s even caught the eye of celebs like Ryan Seacrest who posted his collabocover of Eminem’s Lighters on his website.
Although gaining fame from creating unique renditions of other artists’ songs, Jason says he wants to focus on his own music. “Long-term-wise, I want to get more into writing and also producing. I really want to stay away from ‘the guy who does covers,’ says Jason. “Because I think everyone out there doing music would want to create original songs and not always get stuck with covers – so as soon as I felt like I got my own little following that cared about original music, I started doing them.”
Perusing the list of tracks that appear when you Google Jason Chen’s name, it’s clear he draws inspiration from urban and pop genres. He cites Bruno Mars, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown as influences, and even a familiar boy band from the 90s. “I really like [the] Backstreet Boys. I kind of denied it when I was younger, but I did like them.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Jason says he would love the opportunity one day to work with Asian artists like his favorites Leehom, JJ Lin and Khalil Fong. The humble singer recently threw a concert in China in December and is looking forward to expanding more into that industry.
“The only thing holding me back is I don’t really understand the way things work [there] in the entertainment industry. I know it’s a lot different compared to here so I am a little hesitant. But I would love to.”
When asked what gets him CHARGED, Jason says it is to one day to bump into a stranger who is playing his music in their car or on their iPod and truly enjoying it.
“It’s a great feeling for me to make a song and have a lot of people listening to it. That’s what keeps me going.”
My most recent article, for Black Press‘ InMotion, about a guy on Vancouver Island who actually got a pretty cool hand-me-down car from his father — unlike the 1984 Nissan Micra with bald tires and a broken engine mount that I learned to drive on (no offense, dad):
David Rogers had no idea in 1951, as a one-year-old, that when his father’s friend Jimmy Pattison sold their family a brand new 1952 Pontiac sedan, he would one day be taking that same car to shows all over the country.
“He drove that car until 1966 when my mother cracked it up. He gave me the ’52 – I had just turned 16 – and he bought a 1965 Pontiac,” Rogers recalls.
Growing up in Vancouver, his father ran an insurance business in the 1950s and ‘60s and frequently worked with Pattison when he was still primarily in the car dealership business.
“Those days, Jimmy Pattison had a dirt lot on Broadway and Cambie,” he reminisces.
Today Rogers owns eight vintage cars, ranging from a suped-up 1971 Chevy Nova muscle car to a 1914 Cartercar – a classic American vehicle resembling a motorized carriage, first manufactured in 1905 – acquired from the Harrah’s museum in Las Vegas. But he wasn’t always into cars – until he attended one particular event.
“(It was) Easter in 1960. I was standing at a street corner at 18th and Cambie watching the vintage car parade. The first (car) drove down through the tram tracks down Cambie Street.”
His passion soon grew into a career as Rogers became an apprentice for a mechanic in Vancouver specializing in repairing ambulances that were made by Cadillac at the time. He enjoyed the work, but says being around solvents and grease all the time took a toll on his health. After his father passed away, Rogers decided on a change in job and scenery and made for Sidney, where he still lives today.
With the ’52 and ’65 in his possession, Rogers began to grow his collection. First was purchasing the frame for the Nova and piecing that together into a 350-horsepower monster with a small-block Chevy V8, which later would become his wife’s car (thanks to Rogers’ influence, almost the entire family is into cars, including one of his daughters who drives an 1983 Monte Carlo SS).
Another integral part of his stable of vehicles is a 1926 Oakland, made by the Oakland Motor Car Company that would later create the Pontiac brand. He had memories of sitting in one belonging to a mechanic at the garage on the Mainland where his father had his car serviced. Rogers found one for sale that was close to home, and his heart.
“So I phoned this guy (and) it turned out to be the mechanic’s son – it was the same car in 1960 that I sat in and went ‘vroom vroom’ as the mechanic fixed the clutch (on my father’s) ’65 Pontiac.”
He (had) lost his parking place in Vancouver (and needed to get rid of it), and two weeks later I owned the Oakland.”
Rogers and his wife perform all the restoration work on the cars, except transmission work and paint, at their Sidney home that has been outfitted with all the bells and whistles of a modern-day shop. Now working as an emergency response advisor for BC HAZMAT Management Ltd., the 61-year-old even modified his work vehicles – two red Chevy one-ton pickup truck s – although they’ve mostly just been given the custom vinyl sticker treatment.
All but two of their vehicles, which in addition to the ones mentioned include another 1952 Pontiac Sedan (parts car), a 1977 Corvette and 2012 Harley-Davidson Trike Motorcycle, have vintage plates. When not torn apart for restoration, all the cars (and bike) get driven to local shows, as well as ones not so local, like when the Oakland made a trip to Detroit for the General Motors 100th anniversary in 2008.
Even with so many toys to choose from, the 1952 that Rogers sat in as a toddler remains his favourite.
“I passed my license on it. It needs a frame off (complete tear-down) now.”