Brendan McAleer

Automotive Writer and Photographer

Vancouver, BC

Brendan McAleer



The Fabricator: A look inside a one-man shop, and the mind of the man behind it

East Vancouver, British Columbia – His hands are holey, gloves scorched and torn. Fingers spin a fragment against the belt sander, shooting little trails of sparks. It’s an icebox in here, breath hanging in the air, but the black-clad figure doesn’t seem bothered by the cold. He moves with economy from place to place, shaping, welding, drilling, assembling, creating.
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Poised and polished, the Lexus RC-F Track Edition proves tuning is about more than big numbers

This is not a car for accountants. The numbers simply don’t make sense. Despite the wings and the carbon-fibre hood, this machine is clearly built only for Lexus fans. Or perhaps, judging by the front end, waffle-maker enthusiasts. But toss those spreadsheets out the window, fellow specifications nerds.

Empire in the East: The vibrant past, present and future of British cars in Japan

We chart the course of British-Japanese automotive history in an Aston Martin and a Mini. Perhaps no place is as representative of Japan's concentrated humanity as Shibuya Crossing in the heart of Japan's capital city. When the traffic lights go red, upwards of 3,000 pedestrians scramble through the intersection, a tidal mass of well-ordered people, ebbing and flowing based on the rhythm of highly organized public transit.
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55 years later, Paddy Hopkirk’s 1964 Monte Carlo Rally win is still the greatest racing underdog story

No one expected him to win, not the competition, not the race officials, and not even the driver himself. Yet 55 years ago, Patrick “Paddy” Hopkirk and his co-driver Henry Liddon came out ahead in one of the greatest David versus Goliath motorsports battles ever. Pitched against factory teams from Mercedes-Benz, Saab, Volvo, Citroën, and Ford's onslaught of eight V-8-powered Falcons, Hopkirk's bright red Mini Cooper S emerged victorious as the winner of the 1964 Monte Carlo rally.

The Hakosuka Nissan Skyline GT-R was a legend well before it was named “Godzilla”

When the mighty twin-turbocharged R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R laid waste to a field of Fords and Holdens during its first foray into Australia, a local journalist dubbed the car Godzilla. The name stuck, and would become synonymous with the fire-breathing 2+2. But the car’s reputation was established more than two decades before with a small, almost nondescript coupe that looked a bit like a boxy Nissan 240-Z and went like hell.

Wolf Countach: The global ambassador of prototype Lamborghinis

In Yokohama, a wolf roams free at midnight. It howls along the elevated highways, strobing between the streetlamps, crimson-hued from jaw to flank. It is the first of its kind. It is the rarest of the breed. It is a Lamborghini Countach, one born under the sign of the Wolf. Every Countach is special, but only three are this special.

Rare Zanardi Edition NSX comes back from the brink, just like the legend himself

When Mitch Farner was a boy, he convinced his mother to drive him down to his local Acura dealership and shine her car's headlights into the showroom so he could see the NSXs parked there. Later, he would get a job working at that dealership to be closer to the car he loved. When Farner was 18, he bought a crash-damaged 1991 NSX and repaired it over the course of a year.

This Mazda-restored Miata may be the most perfect example out there

Ikuchi Island, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan—Keiji Nishimoto is making tea. He measures out the green matcha with a bamboo spoon, adds hot water, then whisks it thoroughly and carefully before handing the bowl over to his guest. Ritual is important: lift and cup the bowl in the left hand, turning it clockwise with the right, once, twice, three times.

American icon in a foreign land: Japan’s police-spec Tochigi Mustang Mach 1

With 10 million Ford Mustangs on the road, you’d expect to find them everywhere, but perhaps not here in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Tochigi is a couple of hours north of Tokyo, and its driver licensing center is a plain, officious-looking building. No one speaks English here; foreigners applying for a license must bring an interpreter if they do not speak Japanese.

Canada’s Peel P50 was a little car for a big country

Donald “Windy” Erhardt was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to work in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, when he spotted something tiny and irresistible sitting in the window of a marine supply store. An auto body man by trade, Erhardt grew up in the Canadian prairies with a love for everything on wheels—but he'd never seen anything like this miniscule red car.

The Ultimate Jensen Interceptor

Rain, a typical September feature of the British Midlands, soaks the tarmac of a decommissioned RAF airfield. Spitfires and Hurricanes once flew here; today the place is quiet, expectant, waiting on an interceptor of a different kind. A matte-white coupe sits on the runway, looking like a Mustang II but somehow wrong.
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This Is the Only Good Porsche Cayenne

The first-gen Cayenne is arguably the worst Porsche ever. Not that there isn't plenty of competition for this booby prize: The 924 is slow, the 914 is slow and has a gear linkage like shaking hands with a corpse, and the original Panamera resembles a whale schwanz. Yet for many Porsche fans, the original Cayenne marked the point at which Stuttgart pivoted from being a company where performance and heritage were utmost, to another mass manufacturer churning out crossovers and profits.
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Brendan McAleer

Brendan McAleer first drove a stick-shift at the age of eight, and it's been pretty much downhill from there.

He has written stories on everything from a mint-condition Hyundai Pony to a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead. His work appears in the Globe & Mail, Time's TheDrive,, Road & Track, and elsewhere.

His inbox is always open to hearing about the machines that move us, physically and emotionally. He currently resides in North Vancouver, British Columbia.