Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mercedes-Benz W111 Fintail Coupe Shooting Brake Fantasy Car

The new CLS Shooting Brake surely can't have all the glory...

Once in a while you just need to sit back, have a nice cup of piping hot green tea and let your mind wander. When we find ourselves in this transcendental situation our brain inevitably wanders into the realm of "what if Mercedes built...?" so we plugged in our computational devices, stoked 'em with coal and randomly poked buttons with a Slim Jim meat stick until this popped out:

It's purely a fantasy car that has never been produced to our knowledge, but we think the elegant lines of the classic W111 coupe lends itself quite well to the treatment. Who knows, maybe one day we will find a donor car and make this flight of fancy a reality. The design is based on a standard wheelbase coupe with the only structural change being the addition of the elongated roof and associated glass in the rear and one pane on each side, the rest is OEM. The rear glass would retract into the tailgate, oh did I forget to mention the rear gate folds down making this the perfect beach/camping cruiser. You could even sleep in there.

Here's the weekend version.

Update: Here's an image that somebody posted a link to in the comments, thanks to the anonymous reader! It appears to be an photoshopped image done in the style of the era, but takes a more open-air concept than what I designed.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Gullwing Group 50th Anniversary Reunion Documented by Mercedes Heritage

Photo property of
The Gullwing Group is a family of enthusiasts dedicated to owning, driving and preserving the fantastic 300 SL coupes and roadsters. Formed in 1961, the informal club of like-minded enthusiasts agreed to gather at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge for a photo shoot that none in attendance that day could have imagined would be repeated 50-years later, in the same spot, with many of the same vehicles, plus a few more added over those decades. The Gullwing Group today is comprised of over 600 members studding 22 countries with their automotive gems.

Mercedes Heritage was there to document this historic gathering of Gullwings in 2011 and thoughtfully presents this video for your envy enjoyment. See if you can spot any alloy-bodied specials or former race cars in the video!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Historic Fangio Racer Goes Up for Auction as Stirling Moss Queens Out

Fangio's W196 from 1954 courtesy Bonham's Auctions
There are two interesting blips on the historic Formula 1 radar this week, most excitingly the decades-lost W196 Silver Arrow that was raced by Juan Manual Fangio will reappear before the well-monied public in a high profile auction at Bonham's Goodwood sale in July. This is the car in which Fangio won both the Swiss and German Grand Prix events in 1954. The car disappeared for several decades and only recently rolled back into the spotlight but with a remaining air of mystery considering that the auction house is revealing neither the seller nor releasing a pre-auction estimate, but really how can you conceive of a number that will in any way reflect what will go down in the sale room that day. (Click through the image above a couple of times to see it in much greater detail, you will see every chip in the paint, speck of dust and hose clamp.)

In "never meet your heroes" news, former F1 driver Stirling Moss stirred the pot of political incorrectness when in response to an interviewer asking who he would like to play him in a movie about his life Moss belched, "I hope the actor would be masculine, not a poofter or anything like that." We can only imagine he then batted his eyelashes and his pulse quickened as he gushed in a Freudian-slippish way, "Perhaps the guy from Skyfall" in a reference to Daniel Craig.

Poofter is British slang for a homosexual and is considered a slur today on par with racial epithets.

Moss seems to be confusing masculinity with sexuality, and while that was certainly common in his youth and the heyday of the sport, it is woefully out of touch with modern sensibilities, especially amongst the well-heeled and well-traveled set that support the sport of Formula 1 today. "Just ignore grandpa, he's tired and hungry," is what we imagine his handlers spoke to the interviewer after the foot-in-mouth episode.

We here at MotoArigato are curious exactly how Moss plans to determine the sexuality of the actors auditioning for the role. To us it all sounds like another classic example of his legendary charm, perhaps in his old age Moss is feeling experimental in the bedroom, bored of bedding prehistoric wenches and falling down elevator shafts, maybe he needs something new to give him a taste of that long lost spark of excitement. What better way to casually experiment with your own sexuality than to have a legitimate cause to approach a handsome young actor and coyly inquire, "Are you gay? No, well can you prove it to me back in the trailer?" That didn't happen of course, but we think he would be game, you know, if nobody finds out. We think his heart clearly aches to be Daniel Craig's next Bond Girl.

Sir Stirling Moss with a "friend." 
Perhaps realizing the error of his ways Moss followed up in another interview with the Daily Mirror, "I think it would be difficult for someone of the other persuasion, who is homosexual, to take on the part, as I have spent my life driving cars and chasing girls" clearly not realizing gays have been successfully piloting cars for some time now. The bit about chasing girls, well Stirling ol' buddy, that's where the "acting" part comes in.

Here's to hoping Stirling Moss gets his wish and can convince someone super masculine and totally not gay like John Travolta, Tom Cruise or Kevin Spacey to play him in a movie.

He polished the second interview off by saying, "I’m sorry I’ve caused offense, but I’m disappointed anyone could be so narrow-minded as to take offense. It was not meant to cause any" and proved to us that his intellect is nowhere as quick as his lap times considering he chose the classic "it's your fault if you're offended" routine that bigots adore because it frees them of responsibility all while maintaining the target of the hate as the instigator/wrong-doer. Classic asshole move from an apparent classic asshole. At 83-years old, it may be more prudent for someone of Moss' historical stature to consider his own legacy, one that he unfortunately soiled heavily at the dusk of his spectacular life. Perhaps he will make a realization and offer a true and heartfelt apology, or even just a private a change of thinking without the apology would be noble, because a lifetime of grand accomplishments can easily be undone by simply opening your goddam mouth. Stirling Moss, your still have quick reflexes but apparently not a quick mind, so please consider your historical legacy, friends, family and fans, and think before you speak next time.

In the meantime you can stay on top of Stirling Moss' sexuality by visiting his dedicated Gay-o-meter. Last time we checked he was coming in at a steady 80% gay, or "highly gay" according to the meter. Perhaps the driver doth protest too much? We tried to reach Moss for comment but his spokesman said he was presently unavailable as he was camped outside the O2 Arena waiting for One Direction tickets to go on sale, "Harry's his favorite you know!"

Update: The Daily Mail (UK) has added a forum specifically dedicated to the topic hilariously titled "Poofter Row" and when we checked it last there were already 140 pages of replies. It seems that Stirling is beginning to tarnish a bit after all. 

(This article is clearly parody, we do not think Sir Stirling Moss is gay, but his words are wrong and inappropriate and we believe humor is a better way to approach social issues and continue the conversation about social equality.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Breaking News: 2014 W222 S-Class Spy Shots Revealed

Photo Mercedes-Benz USA
Exterior and interior photos of the 2014 S-Class from Mercedes-Benz were unveiled today well ahead of the car's official debut planned for May 15th. Judging by the license plates it will be known as the W222 in keeping with Mercedes' traditional in-house chassis designation system.

Jalopnik posted some images of the stunning new interior, but what we were really after was a glimpse of the sheetmetal to see how accurate our rendering from way back in February of 2012 was to the real thing. We think we came pretty close, including details like the sweeping CLS/CLA inspired side profile, the massive panorama top, and the front end details. The really good stuff seems to be all tucked inside, including new dual flat screens massive enough to make a drive-in theatre envious, advanced new front seats with 14 heated mechanical air bladders to simulate a hot stone massage, cloud storage for on-board computing needs, and heated armrests of course... the elbows of the truly wealthy deserve as much pampering as their rear end. 

Here's a gallery of all eleven exterior images of the 2014 S-Class courtesy of the folks over at Road & Track. Just click through to see them all or hit the thumbnail tab.

Obama Limo Officially More Embarrassing Than Bush Limo

 You may remember this post about President Obama's limousine getting hung up on an Embassy driveway in Dublin, Ireland a couple of years ago, and while that specific vehicle wasn't actually his ominously nicknamed ride "The Beast" it does call into question the practicality of such massive vehicles on State trips.

Today, the actual "The Beast" was sidelined when it encountered a problem two hours prior to the arrival of the President in Israel. Secret Service reps state they do not yet know what caused the breakdown, but it is speculated that the car was fueled improperly. Given that the specifications of the Presidential fleet are top secret we do not know if that means gasoline was put into a vehicle meant to run on diesel fuel, or vice versa, but whatever the case the vehicle was oddly and unceremoniously loaded onto the back of a flatbed and taken to a garage where it is being repaired.

Call us cynical perhaps, but we recall very clearly watching a television special about the Secret Service and how they must take incredibly specific and important measures to ensure the safety of the President and his vehicles. The show described how on overseas flights fuel for cars and aircraft is tested throughout the duration of the trip, sealed with a tamper-evident marking device and guarded throughout by a security team. We also cannot imagine the scene as described by the tow truck driver who claims that when he arrived to pick up the limo, only the Secret Service mechanic remained with the car, nobody else, as they loaded it and drove it through the streets of Israel on it's way to the repair shop. No military bases nearby that could handle the work? No agents left to guard the vehicle against prying eyes or sticky fingers? What about the individual who's job it was to fuel the vehicle, how does one make that mistake? We can only assume there is much more to this story that is being kept from our eyes for the sake of security, but c'mon, this doesn't really inspire confidence in the Secret Service does it? They are already in a bit of hot water over the South American Prostitution scandal and can ill afford any further public humiliations.

Heck, at least the breakdown didn't occur while the President was inside like what happened with President Bush during his 2007 visit to Rome, Italy.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Six Wheeled Behemoth G63 Blitzkriegs the Streets In 2013

Mercedes-Benz was once known for creating massive and durable military inspired vehicles like this one, but it's been decades since the world's oldest automaker has produced anything even remotely approaching those beasts of war. That changed this month when the modest and refined wild children of automotive design at AMG unleashed their newest and boldest offroader onto the world, tho identifying it by it's formal model name "AMG G63 6x6" makes one sound like a Rainman-esque mathematical savant or perhaps Data from Star Trek the Next Generation.

The new rig will feature all the standard (is there such a thing?) G-class amenities plus, well you know, more wheels! There is also a truck bed grafted onto the back in a sort of LM002 fashion, tho the 6x6 is definitely the more desirable Zombie Apocalypse vehicle of choice for the proletariat.

Austrian partner Magna Steyr, who has produced the Geländewagen for Mercedes-Benz since they first started honing them from solid blocks of granite with interiors stitched from Pterodactyl hides, will continue their fine work on the new model as well.

Check out these specs:
  • 37-inch wheels 
  • Torque split on a 30/40/30 basis among each axle
  • 52-degree approach angle
  • 45.5 inches longer, 8.9 inches wider and 10.7 inches taller than a regular-production G-Class
  • Forbes optimistically describes the fuel economy as "negligible" but the vehicle will carry dual fuel tanks to allow a  42-gallons capacity.
Compare the new 6x6 G63 to the "old" 6x6 G4, which would you choose? We will have the G4 please!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Portland International Raceway Major Events Calendar Now Online

Portland International Raceway has released their Major Events calendar and we are thrilled, as always this time of year, to begin making plans to attend the annual Swap Meet, Rose Cup Races, Portland Historics, All British Field Meet and more for the 2013 season.

You can also see all upcoming events including car club track days, Beaches cruise-in, race instruction, motocross, rally events, drag races and all the rest at the Calendar page.

Finish up with your winter maintenance and repair jobs and we will see you there!

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