If you’re heading to the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, you’ll find a lot more than just new cars on display. The show always features collector vehicles, and this year, it needs you to pick your favourite.
It’s down to the wire for five rides, already selected from 75 for a spot at the show. The winner, to be announced February 20, will be selected by public votes and a judging panel and will earn $5,000 for its owner.
Normally such contestants will be fairly similar, but these are all over the map: a 1936 hot-rodded Ford pickup truck owned by Mike Livia; a 1971 Citroën 2CV owned by Sebastien Lagourgue; a 1971 Mustang Mach 1 owned by Sagi Marisi; a 2011 Mustang GT owned by Daniella Sementilli; and a 2015 Corvette Z06 owned by Les Tokar.
They’re not together on the show floor and you’ll have to search (hint: Levels 100 and 700). Find them, choose your favourite, and text your vote.
It’s not just the cars, but the stories, too. “I always loved muscle cars and grew up around them,” Daniella Sementilli says of her Mustang GT. “The Mustang caught my eye right off the top.”
She bought the car in Pennsylvania, already modified and putting over 660 horsepower to the wheels. “I had a 2012 V6 Mustang, but I always wanted a faster vehicle,” she says. Although she’s only 20, she races in the OSCA drag series at Cayuga, and over the season, as she became familiar with the car, got it down to a quarter-mile time of 11.3 seconds. She also participates in a Mustang show in Pennsylvania each year and will drive it down as part of the Ontario Mustang Group.
Sagi Marisi also found his bright yellow Mustang out of town. His father had owned a Mach 1, and it was Marisi’s dream car. “Around 2014 I finally had some money saved up. I kept looking, but we don’t choose our cars, our cars choose us,” he says. “Then my brother found this on Kijiji at a classic car dealership in St. Jerome. It was Thursday morning. I said to my brother, ‘Clear your weekend,’ and Friday morning we drove to Montreal.”
Marisi knew what he wanted in a car, and to his surprise, the ’71 had virtually every option he desired. It was also very close to original, with minimal restoration needed. After it was delivered, Marisi’s first drive was to his father’s. “I let him take it for a spin, and (he was) the happiest guy,” he says. “It’s just the sheer beauty, the lines, everything.”
Sebastien Lagourgue’s Citroën made an even longer journey, all the way from his home country of France. He’d always wanted a project car to bring to Canada, and his father bought it for him as a Christmas gift in 2002. Lagourgue did much of the work on it before shipping it to Halifax, because he was driving it to Toronto.
“The staff at the Autoport all referred to this as ‘the little funny blue car,’” he says. “Security at the gate even gave me binoculars and showed me where my car was parked in a sea of new German cars ready to be delivered to dealers.” The 2,500-km trip took four days, using only country roads and at an average speed of 75 km/h. “We discovered Canada and the beauty it gives us,” he says. “Not a day goes by when I drive this car without getting the thumbs-up, a wave and smiles, or people coming to me in parking lots telling me that this car brings back memories when they were in Europe.”
Mike Livia’s 1936 Ford is the most radical of the five, but wasn’t his first choice. A hands-on hobbyist who started out building choppers, he went to a hot rod show and fell in love with Fords. “Two weeks later I bought a ’32 sedan,” he says.
The problem? It was in such nice shape that he couldn’t bear to cut it up. So he found this cab and body, and work began. It has a flathead engine he originally purchased for the sedan, and the roof is chopped three inches. “I built it myself with a lot of help,” he says. “It’s my design and my vision.” At last year’s Cobble Beach show in Ontario, which normally draws high-end original classics, Livia took first place in the new Traditional Hot Rod category.
Unique among the competitors, Les Tokar bought his Corvette Z06 brand-new. Only a few were allocated to Canada and he called dealers across the country, finally finding one in Quebec City. “I had a lot of specific things I wanted to do to the car, and I started customizing it right away,” Tokar says.
That included a boost from 650 horsepower to 720, a Stage 2 exterior carbon-fibre kit, and custom interior touches by Caravaggio Corvettes. Tokar and his wife then took it across Canada and the U.S., putting 15,000 km on it in just three months. A veteran with the Royal Canadian Regiment, Tokar pledged $1,000 to VETS Canada (Veterans Emergency Transition Services) if he made the top-five cut. He’s already given that, and will hand over the $5,000 prize to the charity if he wins.
For more information, visit AutoShow.ca. To vote, text the car’s number to 306-500-6715 (SMS messaging fees may apply):
1 – 2015 Corvette Z06
2 – 2011 Mustang GT
3 – 1974 Citroën 2CV
4 – 1971 Mustang Mach 1
5 – 1936 Ford Pickup