Brendan McAleer

Automotive Writer and Photographer

Vancouver, BC

Brendan McAleer

Likes cars, loves stories.



Downie's magical lyrics come alive as we drive to the 100th Meridian

At the 100th Meridian, where the Great Plains begin.

Battle of the hot hatches: Ford Focus RS vs. VW Golf R

Nature abhors a vacuum, but she sure loves boost. With the five-door version of the Subaru STI dead for the present, here are two of the hottest hatchbacks on the planet, eager to muscle in on supersonic Subie territory. To figure out which is best at filling the STI’s niche, we took both up to Squamish, home of Subaru’s rally team and some of the best backroads in British Columbia.

The Fast and the Furious is a dumb movie, but a wonderfully inspiring dumb movie

In the pantheon of great car movies, The Fast and the Furious rates low on the list. Compared with the realistic footage of Grand Prix, the brooding silences of Le Mans or the character-driven plot-line of American Graffiti, F&F is a sugar-addled Saturday morning cartoon on nitrous oxide. The dialogue is wooden enough that you could set it on fire and toast marshmallows over it.

Watch 1100 '32 Ford Hot-Rods Take Over an Entire City

Deuce Days is the biggest gathering of '32 Fords in North America. America's love affair with the V8 starts here. Stung by losing sales to Chevrolet's six-cylinder cars, Henry Ford embarked on a stubborn quest to provide an eight-cylinder offering as a replacement for the Model A. When he revealed the machine in March of 1932, it had a 221ci “flathead” V-8 making 65hp and 130lb-ft of torque.

Colossus and cars: We test two tiny rides with the giant from X-Men

Do you find something comical about my friend Dan’s appearance when he is driving his automobile? Everyone needs to drive a vehicle, even the extremely tall. This was the largest auto that he could afford. Should he therefore be made the subject of fun? Well … yes, actually. This is a 6-foot-8 man in a Nissan Micra.

The Renault Sport Spider Was a Wonderful French Twist on a Lotus Elise

What we have here is effectively a croissant designed for hand-to-hand combat. It is small, lithe, airy, unexpected. It is French, weird, low, agile. It is a car that comes to you from the high-water mark of Renault's Formula 1 years, an aluminum and fiberglass confection of speed. This is a Renault Sport Spider, and it's completely crazy.
Road & Track Link to Story

We drive one of the wildest Mustangs in search of the true mustangs

Into the mouth of Hell rode the six hundred. To the left, the mighty Fraser River rages against its granite oppressor; on the right, the bare rock wall stretches up to the sky. There are seven tunnels here, seven looping boreholes through living rock. It’s a bit like being in a nitroglycerine-fuelled version of the hungry, hungry caterpillar.

BMW M2 Quick Review

Critic's Notebook takeaway: BMW, like the author, finds its way back home. Welcome to Critic's Notebook, a quick and off-the-cuff collection of impressions, jottings, and marginalia on whatever The Drive writers happen to be driving. Today's edition: The BMW M2. They're wrong. You can go home again.

Friends surprise B.C. couple with secret restoration

The dream was dead, the car was scrap. Bought as an engagement gift, this 1974 Austin 1000 should have been perfect for a hopeful young couple eager to ride together. A life on the road, touring with their friends in a classic Mini; but the rust had eaten too much, the bodywork needed was too expensive.

Celebrating Aloha Wanderwell, the Amelia Earhart of the Car

Pen in hand, sixteen-year-old Idris Hall stepped from the crowd and away from her past. At six feet tall, she stood head and shoulders above the dapper little man in the Boy Scouts uniform, the one they called Captain Wanderwell. She asked for his autograph, then petitioned him for a place in his band of merry nomads, the Work Around The World Expeditionary Force.

Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 Quick Review

Dear fifty-year-old me: Sorry about the hearing loss, but it was worth it. At five thousand rpm, the GT350's V-8 is shaking off a head cold. At six thousand rpm, it's just clearing its throat. At seven thousand rpm, it's launching into the final aria of Nessun Dorma. At eight thousand rpm, with the echoes doubling and redoubling off the tiled walls of an L-shaped tunnel, none shall sleep, none shall sleep—vincerò!

Dads, Daughters, and Life Behind the Wheel

The red polka-dotted helmet now sits in a glass case somewhere, a heroine's crown at rest. You'd see it bobbing around at the wheel of a Porsche or Jaguar, a mix of the fierce and the feminine. We miss Denise McCluggage these days: she had joy and vitality and sharpness of wit in abundance. She was a hell of a racer, and a hell of a writer.


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.