Thursday, June 28, 2012

Morgan Heir Drives a $40,000 Tricycle Across the Country

Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN.  Photo: Charles Morgan

Charles Morgan is the head of Morgan Motor Company and grandson of H.F.S. Morgan who founded the storied marque 102-years ago. As part of the 2012 Gumball 3000 cross country race, he decided to travel with a lovely female companion the entire breadth of the country in a newly reissued $40,000 version of the 1911 Morgan 3-wheeler.

The story is one that will no doubt inspire you to perhaps venture beyond your road trip comfort zone this summer after you see the routes the duo traveled through America's biggest cities and across her more modest rural towns. From potentially life-threatening close calls in the middle of Death Valley to riotous parties in "dreadful nightclubs," it's a heck of a read. If he could pull off some of these adventures in what's essentially a tricycle with oversized motorbike tires, we're pretty confident you can make some memories of your own in that Subaru wagon out in the driveway.

Read the full story here: 3,500 miles in a Morgan 3 Wheeler

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

1927 "Lost Mercedes" Owned by One Family Since New to be Auctioned

Bonhams auction house does not deal in the mundane nor the ordinary when it comes to the provenance of automobiles chosen for their auctions. Nothing less than a single-family owned 1927 Mercedes Type S would do, in fact, for their upcoming September 15th auction at the Goodwood Revival.

The lightweight, fabric "sports tourer" bodywork was formed and fitted by coachbuilders Cadogan Motors of London on the as-supplied Mercedes-Benz 26/120/180 chassis with it's accompanying supercharger, or Kompressor as the motoring world so lovingly refers. The car was registered in 1928 after the modifications were complete, finding it's way into a family who's appreciation for such a fine motorcar would span decades. The car hasn't been on the road since the 1950's.

The car comes in wholly original and unrestored condition from it's stealthy "Battleship Grey" exterior down to it's well worn blue leather interior, and is estimated to bring in $2.3 million, tho that is simply a pre-sale estimate likely put in place to increase interest and give even the monied few the hopeful impression that they could, if the stars align, walk away with this beauty. The harsh reality may be even more costly to their portfolios when you consider that the last "S" series car offered at the Goodwood Revival in 2004, a 1929 Mercedes-Benz 710 SSK 27/180/250 Sports Two Seater, hammered at an astounding $6.5 million.


Monday, June 18, 2012

All Ages Love Kidd's Toy Museum

Tucked away in an unassuming, modest little building with no windows on SE Grand Street is one of those Portland gems that even most lifetime residents are unaware. The appropriately named Kidd's Toy Museum is the lifelong dream of Frank Kidd who's grand collection of literally thousands of antique toys lines the wall-to-wall display cases spread amongst several rooms. The collection primarily spans the late 1800's to the mid-20th century, but there is a smattering of more recent finds, evidence that the collector still finds some time to make new acquisitions.

Upon entering the Willy Wonka-like tribute to childhood, you will see various scales of antique diecast, tin, and pressed steel toy vehicles & airplanes, pedal cars, models, displays, advertising pieces, cast iron banks, retro-futuristic spacecraft from before the age of moon landings, along side less expected items like a vintage padlock collection, Christmas ornaments and cotton-bodied miniature zeppelins. Some pieces evoke simpler times while others remind us of a cringe-worthy era when Black Americana pieces were a typical source of humor.

One sour note in the history of the museum occurred in early 2010, when two men allegedly stole over $350,000 worth of overflow materials that were being stored in a separate location, tho the primary collection remains intact. The men were only charged for theft of three valuable carousel horses that later turned up at a resell shop, being the only items that could be directly tied to them, and were forced to repay only their value, approximately $10,000.

Kidd's Toy Museum has casual hours so call ahead to verify before making the trip down, and for God's sake, only knock once when you arrive if the doors are locked. We were scolded for knocking twice by the docent on duty who explained to us that it takes her some time to get to the door, tho she was very friendly and accommodating for the remainder of our visit. Sure it's a bit quirky and musty inside, but so is Portland.

Click "Read more" to see the full photo set!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance to Celebrate Mercedes-Benz

Photo Courtesy: Bruce McCaw/Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance

Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance to Celebrate Mercedes-Benz

Car enthusiasts from the Pacific Northwest and beyond are invited to celebrate Mercedes-Benz on July 15. The 40th annual Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance will honor Mercedes-Benz as the featured marque with a special display showcasing 60 years of the Mercedes SL.  From the iconic 1952 300SL ‘Gullwing’ coupe that won at Le Mans, to the all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550, this event brings to life the shining stars of automotive history.

The Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance features more than 300 vintage, sports and collector cars presented on the campus of Pacific University, just west of Portland, Oregon.  Classic automobiles compete for awards in over 50 judged classes.  Keith Martin and Donald Osborne from Sports Car Market magazine emcee the awards ceremony, telling the stories behind each car.  What makes this Concours special is the gorgeous tree-shaded setting and the relaxed nature of the event. Great food and live music make it a perfect day out for the whole family. 

Photo Courtesy: Bruce McCaw/Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance
The 1952 300SL coupe entered by Bruce and Jolene McCaw is the honored centerpiece.  Taking first place at the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1952, it became the genesis of Mercedes-Benz sporting style and design that continues to this day.  Clubs such as the Mercedes-Benz Club of America and the Gullwing Group will participate.  Mercedes-Benz Club of America National Concours Chairman Pete Lesler is Senior Judge.

On Saturday July 14, a Vineyard and Lake Tour will wind through the picturesque Tualatin Valley to a local winery for lunch, then on to Henry Hagg Lake for excursions in vintage wooden boats.  On Saturday night, entrants and guests are invited to the Evening of Elegance Dinner. 

Registration for entrants is open at the Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance web site.  The entry deadline is June 30.  Judged classes for Mercedes-Benz include pre-War automobiles to 1945, early post-war to 1960, post-war from 1961 to 1971, and Mercedes-Benz SLs.  Advance-sale tickets can be purchased at the Forest Grove Concours web site, or at the gate on the day of the event.

The Concours is produced by the Rotary Club of Forest Grove, with all proceeds benefiting Forest Grove Rotary Foundation college scholarships, youth sports, scouting programs and various service projects.  The Concours d'Elegance has raised almost one million dollars for the community, including scholarships and financial aid to over 700 Washington County students to Pacific and other colleges.

To learn more about the 2012 show, see photos of the 2011 winners and learn about the rich history of this unique event, please visit

More information is also available through email at or by calling the Concours hotline, 503-357-2300 or, toll free, 1-888-359-2530.

(Disclosure: MotoArigato are invited guests of the Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance as part of our press coverage of the event.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rose City Round-Up Hot Rod & Custom Show This Weekend!

Image credit:

The 2012 Rose City Round-up Traditional Hotrod and custom show is this Friday and Saturday (June 15 & 16) at the Jubitz Center in Portland, OR. Check out their official website for more info for what promises to be a fun show with lots of live music! The event is free for spectators who bring two cans of non-perishable foods as the selected charity this year is the Oregon Food Bank.

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