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Brendan McAleer

Automotive Writer and Photographer

Vancouver, BC

Brendan McAleer

Likes cars, loves stories.

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Lunatic, beautiful McLaren 650s will bring out the devil in you

The swoopy McLaren 650s should be terrifying, but the supercar actually inspires confidence behind the wheel. The rampant stallion, the raging bull, the small, plump, flightless bird. Wait, what’s that thing doing here? Two quick clicks of the paddle-shifter, and the kiwi leaps forward and annihilates the muscular Italians in the manner of the rabbit from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail.
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Test Drive: 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum

Four a.m. on a Monday is an in-between time. The debauched have ended the weekend passed out on somebody’s sofa, their hangovers still hours away; the obsessively healthy sleep on, yet to rise and don running shoes and Lycra. The city is a lonely wasteland, lit by the orange glow of sodium arc lamps.
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Final Drive: 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle

Out back, there’s a professionally built 2.1L flat-four making something like 150 hp, more than twice what 1600cc Bugs made over here. It makes a noise like whackata-whackata-blat-blat-blat-blat-hrrrnnk-hrrrnnk-rrrrrrrr-RRRRRRR-YAAAAAAA! Or wait – that might be me.
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Legendary Acura NSX was equal parts weapon and art

Over the years, Marc Millman has owned a series of icons. When he was 18, he had a Triumph TR6. After that, he drove a Datsun 240Z. He once took delivery of a ’78 911 right at the gates of Porsche‘s factory in Stuttgart. But more than two decades ago, he came across a car that just clicked – one that put an end to the sports cars rotating through his driveway.
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Three ways the Irish helped improve your daily drive

This Saint Patrick's Day, we celebrate Ireland's contributions to motoring. When Henry Ford built a factory in Cork in 1917, he was, in a sense, returning home. His father was an Irish immigrant and Henry himself was born on a farm belonging to the Aherns, also immigrants from the Emerald Isle. The best story I’ve ever heard about that factory, which produced cars from 1917 until 1984, concerns a very cheeky sort of deception – just the kind of thing the Irish are known for.
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First Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon

It’s chilly in Texas. The rain lashes down, and the fog clusters in around the hills like so much cotton wool. On the radio, The Scorpions are playing Rock You Like A Hurricane. Well, at least that last part feels like it fits. Meet the new Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon, also known as the SportWagen in the U.S. for some arcane reason known only to the marketing department.
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Local Hero

“I’d be ashamed,” my driving partner said, clucking his tongue behind the wheel, “It’s embarrassing.”. Just up ahead, the shining flanks of a Cayman GT4 rippled along this undulating road – 20” alloys, a 3.8L flat-six making a highly-underrated 385hp, functional aerodynamics, huge brakes. It’s a fantastic little car, terrier-like in tenacity, grippy like a gecko; the best blend of raw driving pleasure and mid-engined docility you could wish for, stirred up with a proper six-speed manual transmission.
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First Drive: 2015 Porsche Cayman GT4

The Cayman GT4 isn't quite perfect, but that's what makes it excellent. It is the flaw that makes the jewel, the marred franking that makes a stamp the philatelist’s dream. We are drawn to imperfection, and this new little monster from Porsche is not quite perfect – but that makes it excellent. The Cayman is already the most likeable car in the Porsche range, particularly in GTS trim.
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Book ‘em Danno: A ride in Hawaii Five-O’s Mercury Marquis

The drums, the image of a single curling wave, the brass coming in with a punch – I’ll bet you can play the theme song in your head without even thinking about it. Da-da-da-da da-daa! Time to tune in for another episode of Hawaii Five-O where Detective Steve McGarrett and his team of crime fighters sweep the islands clean of criminals like the nefarious Wo Fat: “Book ‘em, Danno.”.
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The Quick and the Dad: 2015 Volvo V60 Polestar

The Ferrari F40: common. The Lamborghini Aventador: ubiquitous. The Bentley Continental: might as well buy a Volkswagen Golf. If exclusivity and rarity are your bag, then this is your baby: the Volvo V60 Polestar. With just 750 produced worldwide (and another 750 on the way) and only a dozen or so bound for Canada’s shores, it’s a rare beast, a sort of mythical unicorn-moose hybrid.
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Final Drive: 2006 Audi S4 Avant 6-Speed

Some time ago, when on assignment for this publication covering the launch of the then-new Audi A3 sedan, I wandered away from the pack and happened upon a flock of unicorns. They were spectacular, each a wondrous sight to behold: a pugnacious little A1 hatchback, an even-more-pugnacious A1 Quattro (just 333 made and bearing the signature of Stig Blomqvist) and a Nogaro Blue RS4 Avant.
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Requiem for Mr. K: Nissan rebel wanted more joy in cars

Yutaka Katayama, legendary Nissan maverick, has died at age 105, but his legend will live on. Blessed be the mavericks – they make all our lives interesting. Last Thursday, one such unlikely rebel finally received his own personal chequered flag at the age of 105. Yutaka Katayama, better known as Datsun’s Mr.

About

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 National Post and Vancouver Sun, BBC Autos, Autos.ca, the Glacier newspaper group, The Truth About Cars, 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.