Brendan McAleer

Automotive Writer and Photographer

Vancouver, BC

Brendan McAleer

Likes cars, loves stories.



Behind the Lens: How Marcel Lech makes automotive art

Marcel Lech has shot it all -- from a Lamborghini Reventón to the McLaren P1 -- and we get a first-hand taste of what his photoshoots are like. says one of the onlookers, “I hear a bull. An angry bull is coming!”. Atop a parking garage in Vancouver’s Gastown, the echoing and re-echoing note of a large-displacement V12 hammers off hard concrete surfaces, seeming to come from every direction at once.

On Driving a Manual Transmission Ferrari V12

Ferrari is no longer in the business of selling cars with manual transmissions. Primarily, this is because they’re in the business of selling cars, and hardly any supercar buyer these days seems to give a crap about the appeal of a close-ratio six -speed and the three-pedal waltz. Not that you can’t still buy a very fast car with a manual transmission, but when Lamborghini and even Porsche both kiss-off the stick in their track-focused models, we can hardly be surprised.

Defenders of the Realm: Classic SUVs are off-road icons

The timeless Land Rover Defender is good enough for the Queen herself but still likes to get dirty. One imagines Her Majesty likes to get her knuckles bloody. Somewhere on a carefully groomed estate in Scotland, there’s a noise as an old battered Land Rover grinds to a halt. A silver head emerges from the window.

Mercedes-Maybach S600: Opulence knows no bounds

Entschuldigen sie mich bitte? Sie haben keine “Grey Poupon?”. Meet the Mercedes-Maybach S600, a most Teutonic form of luxury. While BMW and Volkswagen prefer to disguise their bratwurst as bangers n’ mash with Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Mercedes calls on an elder statesman German marque. The Maybach name is nearly a century old, and once produced the finest of luxury automobiles.

Four stories of Gilles Villeneuve

When man becomes myth, oft-times the human element is lost. The stories are told and retold, the feats and the failings, and a figure becomes fixed in the imagination like a colossus. We read, and watch, and we think we know – but often we don’t have the whole picture. Gilles Villeneuve, born today sixty-five years ago, is still considered one of the finest drivers to have grasped a wheel, and is a national hero both for Canadians and for Ferrari-crazed tifosi.

Test Drive: 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD

Great Scott! Is it 2015 already? Well, let’s take a quick look-see at how accurate Back to the Future II was. When Marty McFly successfully navigated the trials and tribulations of time travel, his reward wasn’t a stainless-steel super(ish) car, it was a truck. And as for the Toyota pickup truck, hoo-boy, is that ever a prediction gone wrong.

First Drive: 2015 Tesla Model S P85D

All-wheel-drive comes to Tesla's electric Model S and brings a whole new charge to riding the lightning. Insane mode is not a euphemism. Delve into the Controls sub-section on the Tesla Model S P85D’s enormous touchscreen interface, and you’ll find a little slider that asks: would you prefer Sport mode, or dare you flick to the right and start the insanity?

Driving the Micra, Nissan’s sub-$10,000 sparkplug

Ordinarily, there is nothing cheerful about being cheap. We are encouraged at every turn to loosen the purse strings, lest we be accused of being Scrooges – irrespective of the time of year. Automakers, who would have us deck the halls with boughs of horsepower, are no different. Look at the headline-grabbers from 2014: a brace of Dodge Hellcats, the Mustang Shelby GT350, the return of Mercedes-Maybach ultra-luxury.
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Top Picks: Beyond the Test Drive

It’s not that modern cars are boring, it’s that their stories have yet to be formed. For instance, you’d never assert that either of the Hellcat twins was dull – hoo boy, no sirree Bob – but what’s truly interesting about them besides the pavement-destroying horsepower and the ear-rending exhaust note?

Road Trip: 2015 Subaru Outback

In New Delhi, it’s the rickshaw. In Bangkok, the tuk-tuk. In Taipei, it’s the scooter. In Eastern Africa it’s the Land Rover, and in the Middle East, it’s the Land Cruiser. Every place around the globe has one vehicle that is so much a part of the backdrop, it might as well qualify as official landscape.

Final Drive: 1984 Lotus Esprit Turbo

“Shockingly reliable.”. This is not the phrase that you expect to hear associated with any of the more esteemed British sporting marques. If Colin Chapman’s creations truly embodied his mantra of “Simplify, and add lightness,” then they also often got in the spirit of things by shedding important bits at speed.

Robust Unimog a no-nonsense, do-anything beast

A brief encounter with possibly the most capable wheeled vehicle on the planet. LANGLEY, B.C. – Out amongst the fields and farmlands, there is a workshop where mighty beasts stand guard. They are huge-wheeled, blunt-nosed, squared-off and ready for anything. This is the home of perhaps the most capable wheeled vehicles ever to crawl across the Earth.


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,, 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.