Safe Auto at the Canadian International Auto Show 2023
Safe Auto was very proud to attend the CIAS 2023 ourselves with our shop RS6 as part of the Pasmag RevTV365 display. Safe Auto was delighted to be brought in to move such major brands as Nissan Canada, Vinfast Canada, as well as JRP and Ultimate Exotics.
After 2 years of Covid shutdowns it was great to have the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS 2023) open and bringing in car lovers again. Traditionally the CAIS brings OEM’s out en masse to display their new offerings and products. 2023 brought a slightly different vibe to the show. All of the German OEM’s decided not to attended creating a bit of a gap in the offerings available. North American manufacturers made up the majority of the show, as well as several Japanese offerings. This lack of German OEM’s brought a bit of trepidation as not having manufacturers such as Porsche, Audi and Mercedes left a rather large gap in the potential offerings of the show.
We can happily confirm nothing could be further from the truth. The Concours of Cobble Beach brought an entire history of Porsche cars to the event. This room was one of the crowning features of the show without a doubt, even featuring an original 917 Race Car. We were able to witness the early 356 right up until the hypercar 918, a bevy of amazing Porsches were on display for all to see.
AutoStrada Magazine came out with an absolutely ridiculous line up of cars as well. Lamborghini Reventon, McLaren Elva, Spyker c8, the list went on and on. Great displays like theirs helped to replace the missing OEM’s seamlessly and keep attendees wowed and entertained.
Our RS6 went in the Pasmag RevTV365 booth. We were happy to bring an Alfa 4c Aperta, Carbon Widebody Mazda RX-7, the Fast and Furious 1 Jetta, to join several other top quality tuner cars to round out that booth. This was a real hit with young and old alike.
With record attendance, and happy faces on all of the show going attendees, the 2023 CIAS was a resounding success. Remember if you need your car transported, OEM’s like Nissan Canada, Vinfast Canada and others trust us to move their prized possessions.
As a thank you to all of the people that follow us on Instagram, TikTok and elsewhere we decided to give something back to our car community. We’re blessed here at Safe Auto to be able to see and transport Porsches, Lamborghini’s, McLaren’s and just about any car you can think of everyday. That said, most people rarely see these cars, much less get the opportunity to drive them. We decided to give a select group of random followers the opportunity of a lifetime during our Safe Auto Supercar Giveaway to not only see some of these cars up close, but to drive them as well for 6 hours through the scenic Niagara countryside courtesy of our friends at GTA Exotics.
At Safe Auto we participate in a lot of events. Like, all of the events actually. Did you hear about a car show, race day, or cruise? Odds are we were there. And after the fact we hear a lot of people feel left out, so we decided to hold a month long Instagram contest, randomly choosing winners and invite them to participate in the best exotic car rental experience this side of the GTA.
What a pleasure it is to drive a car. An even better experience is driving a purpose built sports or supercar. What could top that? Putting the pedal to the metal in someone else’s car! Powerful ponies, raging bulls, American super-muscles, JDM hero’s and super-hybrid, German gentlemen-racers, and well majored English thugs. All the heroes present and accounted for.
GTA Exotics will rent you a seat for a 3 or 6 hour experience driving through backroads. The company started when the owner Stew decided to purchase a Viper and rent it out on days he wasn’t using it. One viper turned to two, and turned into a fleet which evolved to a back country driving tour in some very special vehicles.
Our day at the Safe Auto Supercar Giveaway started early on Saturday. We showed up a bit early to get the lay of the land. When you pull up to the main office its not what you think. It’s actually not an office so much as it is a mansion. With e helipad and a full sized fountain at the tip of the circular driveway. Yes-helicopters and supercars. With more than 20 beauties lined up around the lot our 5 winners arrived. We saddled up after a safety orientation.
—Brief aside: when driving any car at any speed, safety first. Seriously. Going fast is fun but do it in a controlled setting. Also, dont crash other peoples cars trying to hang the tail out like your Chris Harris. Be a bit more Canadian than you think you should when pedalling another mans 488.—
GTA Exotics has done this for long enough their system is well refined. Each driver picks a car and sits next to a copilot. Every 30 minutes you swap seats, have a giggle, give the next driver some advice, then carry on. Every hour is a car swap. We started in the back with the new C8 Corvette because I wanted to finish driving the new Acura NSX. After a great day of driving and frequently conferring with our contest winners here’s a quick review of all 6 cars we drove.
The C8 corvette: I don’t care who you are the centre console is ignorantly designed and not at all accessible. Having said that, its is a driver focused mid engine performance coupe. The new drivetrain placement gives the Corvette a totally new level of balance and cornering capability. Which we tested heavily. The 8 Speed Tremec dual clutch transmission is smooth and one of the fastest out there. The C8 Corvette is easily the new benchmark for performance at the sub 6 six figure mark, but not the favourite of the group.
The Ferrari F8 Tributo: 708 hp twin turbo V8? Hells yes. The all-black mid-engine luxury missile is easily too fast for the road. Not because it has too much power but it puts the power down so aggressively that it can’t keep traction. We kept the car in “sport mode” all day and even in this setting it wanted to break tires all day. Was it fast? Absolutely. Comfortable? At all almost all speeds, yes. And very drivable. But it becomes uncontrollable for the uninitiated at half throttle. This car needs to be driven with eyes wide open and a fast foot for braking.
The Porsche GT3 RS: This car is a love letter to every little boy who ever wanted to drive a race car as their daily. Until you stop working out and focus most of your time on work and or family only to develop a dad-bod. The GT3 RS has kept Chiropractors flushed with cash for the last decade, easily. Having said that, the drivability at the limit was sublime. This vehicle (with all of the safety settings on) makes every ham-fisted dope with more bravery than brains look feel like a GT class LeMans winner. The exhaust is deafeningly boomy, but only when its on. I can understand why so many people feel it’s the perfect car.
The Lamborghini Huracan EVO: That’s right-EVO. The top trim Lambo available at the time. Al wheel drive, 631 hp, 5.2 V10. Yeah baby. This this screams and sings and shouts to the 8500 rpm limiter. A playboy middle finger to Ferrari from its inception, it does the same thing as the F8 but differently. The power is smooth being naturally aspirated but still hits hard. A great middle ground between the Porsche and the Ferrari we drove. Thankful for the safety systems in the car as my copilot decided to brake late, almost all day. Loved this car.
The McLaren 720S: Wow. Just F*****g wow. It does everything a Ferrari does but better. A lot less drama when you are foot to the floor with. It lacks drama in a way but when you look at the speedo you are immediately going to jail. The Ferrari by comparison is a handful, and I’m convinced the McLaren will trample it in all tests except for braking. I didn’t expect it be so fun or the experience to be as visceral, and it over delivered on all aspects. This thing is a total thug of a car when giving it 10/10. So be careful, and keep the driving assists on, but enjoy it all with the top down. Love the dynamic rear spoiler too. Very race stuff.
The Acura NSX: The new one. Not the Ayrton Senna developed vehicle of the 90’s. I was truly most excited to drive this one. It’s an underdog that over delivers performance. Yes, a bit expensive for all the interior and styling is a bit boring, but the hybrid systems paired with the twin turbo V6 punches above its badges weight. It doesn’t feel as sharp as the McLaren, as unmanageable as the Ferrari, or sound as good at the Porsche. Saying it is boring isn’t right. But it is actually a mix of all of the other vehicles we drove. Not over whelming but surprising, not a teleported but bogglingly quick. It feels distinctly Japanese-better engineered with lesser quality materials. I think the price for the product has left it over looked, and I agree. But the performance is really a great over all super car.
A big shout out to the Safe Auto Supercar Giveaway for putting us in these great vehicles. And massive thank you to GTA exotics for taking care of us. The staff are knowledgeable when it comes to vehicle driving and their individual personalities while wheeling. They had a very refined plan, ever changing driving route, and such an easy system. Starting at $379 Canadian for the 3 hour and $549 for the 6 hour, its worth every penny. Great gift, team building experience, or driving a bucket list car. Contact GTA Exotics for a backroads jaunt you wont soon forget.
And don’t forget Safe Auto Canada is the #1 Choice in Vehicle Transport and Storage in Toronto, Canada, and North America wide.
Heliboarding? World Cup in Qatar? Supercar cruising in Ontarios backroads? Check, check, check, please and thank you. We hooked up with Prince Adventures for the annual Backroads to Blue supercar cruise and it didn’t disappoint.
Car meets and cruises usually have the respectable members leave early so the youth and careless can hoon about until the fuzz shuts the party down. What if your Friday night Tim Hortons hangout/cruise wasn’t patrolled by every Hyundai Genesis with a cat delete, or dually with something to prove? Is an off camber corner with sloping hills and winding ribbons of uninterrupted tarmac too much to ask for? Prince Adventures doesn’t seem to think so.
The annual Backroads-to-Blue Waterloo-to-Collingwood jaunt in the woods takes place on a warm Friday afternoon. 40+ super and sports cars cast their shadow on an unassuming Canadian Tire parking lot at 1pm. With traffic coming to a halt around us we sticker and saddle up. Go Pros mounted. Gas tank full. Extra gallon of oil in the trunk. We packed up and headed out onto the main road in front of a lineup of cell phones chasing the two groups of drivers.
After 15 minutes slicing through traffic at safe speeds we were in the country. The open roads and skies blessed our drive with perfect conditions. I would have never thought that Waterloo-to-Collingwood could be a fun drive. I truly believed it would be flat like most of the surrounding area in south central Ontario. Though I wasn’t entirely wrong I was thoroughly surprised with some of the roads we found. Porsches glued to my trunk in every turn. Lambos and Mclarens escaping me in every straight away. I was lucky to have put on a set of extra sticky summer tires this year. I managed to pedal my—by comparison—low level C55 AMG hard enough to impress a 560S or two. Bothered a Camaro or Mustang as they couldn’t quite escape me on every strait. And though I wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the serious cars, RS6, Viper, and their company, I believe we all still had a great time.
We descend upon Blue Mountain ahead of schedule. Nothing beats the view when you come through the bands of trees, rays of sun bathing the valley beneath the mountain, and the lake in the close distance. After we parking we noticed we had picked up a few extra cars along the way. Enthusiasts wanting to share in the experience with us. An R32 peeled out shortly after flagging a peace sign. The owner showing his appreciation for rolling hard with us. We were fortunate enough to have a visit from local law enforcement to remind us how to drive safely. Thanks to the boys-in-blue for having our backs and for all of their service.
Prince Adventures is for the enthusiast who wants to go at their own pace with a group of skilled drivers. The point is not to turn the 2 hour cruise into a time attack session. No one is setting lap records. This group of mature-by their age and state of mind-drivers push their cars as far as they are comfortable without being a menace to society. Safety and comfortable pacing is encouraged with this group of gear-heads. After all, you can’t go very fast behind bars, so why push your luck?
Day one ended with a jam packed dinner in the Blue Mountain village, then late to bed. Day two was a groggy start for some but we were all accounted for as the tour left on time to our next destination. The Prince Adventures team carefully planned every route and destination. We were all grouped together for a slow ride north to Sauble Beach. 40+ rev happy rockstar cars flooded an empty parking lot and the town fell over itself with anticipation to see what the fuss was about. Every Nona in the neighbourhood dropped their spaghetti to see the Lamborghinis. The youth eyes shot out of their faces for Mclarens, Astons, and Porsche poster cars. One teen nearly broke a high E sharp when he heard the RS6 Avant has 800hp.
The cruise continued after lunch with more safe driving and camaraderie. With breaks between drives to shoot the shit about how impressed everyone was with each other’s driving or vehicle performance, it was less a chest beating contest and more of a pat on the back.
Prince Adventures sets up a few cruises annually to enjoy Ontarios more scenic patches of tarmac. Taking care to book all of the stops, restaurants, hotels, and features for the participants, summer of 2022 has seen Muskoka and Collingwood on the schedule and we can’t wait to join them again for Backroads to Blue ‘23.
Check out Prince Adventures for the coolest car club in Western Ontario as well as custom destination vacations the world over.
Canadian Car culture has long been underground. An off the shoulder scarf in the wind moving quietly at its own accord not bothering anyone, until. Car culture in this country has plenty of small time events that have grown over the years to support the subcultures of mainstream products with attendance in the thousands. There just isn’t anything that compares to the big American or international gatherings which support car culture as a whole. Shows like Pebble Beach, Goodwood festival of Speed, Car Week in California, we just don’t get them at the same scale. Enter DRIVE Festival.
DRIVE Festival is a weekend long celebration of all things automotive. Everyone is represented from muscle and vintage-to-classic and concept, electric and hybrid-to-custom and import. Manufacturers show up to parade this seasons new models along the race track as well as off road. Not just for the licensed driver, but for the whole family, DRIVE Festival 2022 saw attractions for the coming generations of car enthusiasts. 3 axis racing simulators, electric kids ride alongs, electric vintage style motorcycles and even the Dark Knight himself cruised up with his Bat-mobile.
In 2021 DRIVE Festival had more than 17,000 attendees and 2,500 plus test drives on three test tracks all located inside the scenic forestry of Canadian Tire Mosport Racetrack. For its first year those are impressive numbers. Though we haven’t seen the numbers yet, we trust 2022 DRIVE Festival knocked those numbers into space.
Friday was press day. Easy access and very few if any spectators mucking about while vendors set up and glad hand one another. Manufacturers pitch their tents. Pylons quadren off high speed testing zones. The Fleets Coffee truck finally shows up for on-sight latte service we all desperately need to carry the day on. Friday is a relatively easy day for those involved. Sort of a dry run for the chaos Saturday and Sunday can bring with tens of thousands of enthusiasts storming the gates to test drive electric cars, off-road ATV’s, see historic Mclarens bomb up and down the bespoke hill climb from turns 5 up and down through turn 1 of Mostport.
Safe Auto spent the weekend with BMW True North and our corporate partners Collecting Cars Canada. We were cruising the pits, lapping the skid pad with Continental Tire in the C8 Corvette, and bombing up the hill climb in our 800hp Audi RS6. Did you know gold 22”HRE wheels, though heavy, make decent track wheels….at 200+kmh?
Saturday and Sunday the masses roll up to the gates for 10am in massive lineups. Big wing Scion FRS, Ford F-150 Raptor, Hellcats for miles, Honda Civic Type R (what’s a car show without 200 Civics?), and BMW M3s of all vintage rev their engines and bang off the redline as they roll underneath the entrance bridge to the paddock inside the pit lane.
The Real Fun
Our experience was likely the best of any vendor or guest alike. We cruised the grounds assisted by a golf kart we stole from our friends Windshield Experts (thanks boys) . We enjoyed Nissan, Toyota, and Hyundai in both off-road excursions through the woods to showcase their new lineups, as well as on the back half of the track with electric vehicle test drives for those signed up. Continental Tire took us for a max attack autocross in the new C8 Corvette. Side note: the C8 Vette is quick so buy plenty of tires. You’ll need them. We enjoyed turning our 1000hp Audi RS6 into a hill climb monster. Though its almost 5000lbs, it outpaced more than a few track built vehicle and kept respectable time in the corners. Did you know gold 22”HRE wheels, though heavy, make decent track wheels….at 200+kmh? A few laps were turned out with our camera car setting itself up in front and behind the all new Nissan “Z” pace-car to grab footage for the event.
All-in-all we had an amazing weekend at Canadas largest and fastest racetrack. If you haven’t had a chance to experience supercars, muscle cars, JDM hero’s, off-road monsters, and everything in between we suggest you keep your September weekends open for 2023 as DRIVE Festival is likely to have something for everyone. Canada has a new mainstream attraction for car culture with DRIVE Festival.