Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mercedes Revises Entire-Line Model Nomenclature

Really, we couldn't possibly even attempt to coherently explain the new manner in which Mercedes-Benz plans to adapt their naming structure for all models, worldwide by 2020, so we are publishing the press release for you to decipher for yourself.


"Simple and transparent nomenclature to provide customers with better orientation

The Mercedes-Benz model portfolio has expanded rapidly in recent years and continues to grow. The comprehensive model initiative that is currently successfully under way means that, by 2020, the Stuttgart-based premium brand will have brought more than 30 models on to the market worldwide, among them at least eleven that have no precursor in the current product portfolio. On top of this come the different body variants and drive systems. This results in an increasingly complex situation when it comes to naming the various models. "After more than 20 years of continuity involving some of the most recognised and successful product names in the world, we are now making our system of vehicle nomenclature even more understandable. Bearing in mind the international appeal of our brand, our plan has been to devise an even simpler, more transparent and more logical system for the designations of our model series, with the aim of providing clear orientation for our customers", said Dr Jens Thiemer during the launch of the new nomenclature. "Now is the ideal time to do this, for in 2015 we will be updating virtually our whole SUV model range, providing us with the perfect starting point for renaming the whole family of vehicles."

The system behind the new nomenclature is simple, clear and transparent. The model designation is always an acronym made up of between one and three upper-case letters. The different types of engine are indicated by a lower-case letter. The system centres around the five core model series, A, B, C, E and S, which will continue to be used to provide orientation for our customers. In the case of the model designations for the SUVs, in a tribute to the legendary GClass, all SUV models will in the future have the first two letters "GL" in their name. The "G" here denotes the car's lineage. The "L" is a letter that appears time and time again over the history of Mercedes-Benz. It is a linking letter that makes the model designations easier to remember and easier to pronounce; one that is familiar from the legendary SL, for example, or from the more recent CLS and CLA. It is followed by the third letter, which indicates the relationship to the relevant core model series.

In specific terms:
GLA = GL A-Class
GLC = GL C-Class; previously GLK
GLE = GL E-Class; previously M-Class or ML
GLE Coupé = GL E-Class Coupé
GLS = GL S-Class; previously GL
G = unchanged

The system for the 4-door Coupés is constructed along similar lines. The first two letters, "CL", denote the origin, the third letter the link to one of the core model series: in other words CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, or CLS and CLS Shooting Brake.

From 2016 on the Roadsters will all include "SL" in their names to denote their origin, with the third letter again the link to one of the core model series. The SLK therefore becomes the new SLC. As in the case of the G, the SL retains its designation as hitherto, in recognition of its iconic status.
In a development paralleling that of the model series designations, the different types of engines will also be given new designations. These provide clear orientation and are also shorter than the designations used until now.

The boot lids will in future feature lower-case letters, whose meaning is as follows:
c for "compressed natural gas" (Natural Gas Drive until now)
d for "diesel" (BlueTEC and CDI until now)
e for "electric" (PLUG-IN HYBRID, BlueTEC PLUG-IN HYBRID and Electric Drive until now)
f for "fuel cell" (F-CELL until now)
h for "hybrid" (HYBRID and BlueTEC HYBRID until now)

As has been the case until now, there will be no suffix for the petrol models. The defining and established designation 4MATIC for our all-wheel-drive vehicles will remain unchanged and, indeed, will be celebrating its thirtieth anniversary next year. Given the way that Mercedes-Benz has evolved into the leading brand for all-wheel drive, 4MATIC will in future play an even more important role in our model portfolio. As a result of a steadily growing demand, we will in future be adding further models to the all-wheel drive segment.

"More clarity, more transparency, more consistency for Mercedes-Benz customers – we are convinced that our new nomenclature will support us in achieving this objective. The logic built up on the basis of the core model series will enable our customers to find their way round our growing product portfolio far better", was the way Dr Jens Thiemer summarised the new nomenclature."

Got it? Good, now tell us what to call this thing!

Marchsaydeeze-Bends 6000000SEHell Designo?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Aston Martin Lagonda Resurrected for Middle East Customers

When I was about 19-years old I had the opportunity to purchase what was, at the time and probably still today, one of the most retro-futuristic cars ever designed, the Aston Martin Lagonda. This particular car was a black over black, one of those early 80's behemoths that still had the pop up headlights before they were all integrated into one wide light bar in later editions. I was at the former Kruse Auctions in Auburn, Indiana and the car I had previously only seen on posters in my room and catalogs I had managed to acquire by writing to dealerships around the country. The price was $19,000 and I had my father convinced that this would be the perfect "forever car" and that, at this price, would be hard to justify NOT buying. Being a dad, he found a way. Asking all the normal questions of me such as what kind of fuel economy does it get, where do I find spares, etc., he casually asked, "so where do you get a fender if you have a small accident?" I thought for a moment and recalled what I had read in a book just a few weeks earlier, that Aston Martin keeps build records for each car and would simply pull out the buck, instruct a skilled English Craftsman to lay out some aluminum sheet on his workbench and get to hammering with a mallet on a sand-filled leather bag. Imaging the cost of such a venture ended the deal right there.

Well now it seems my luck has come full circle as Aston Martin announces a brand new iteration of the oft-polarizing Lagonda, minus the part about being able to afford it unfortunately. I'm saving some luck for that.

The new Lagonda will be available only to buyers in some Middle Eastern countries. Why? Who the hell knows, but most likely so this thing can be priced like an aircraft carrier without having to justify it to penny-pinching Europeans and Americans.

Below are a few of the other cars that carried the name, "Lagonda', or were 4-door predecessors to today's car such as the Rapide, but also including one oddball that was actually presented as a legitimate concept but actually just an elaborate April Fool's joke created completely digitally.

1964 Aston Martin Rapide
1974 4-door "V8" model
1984 Lagonda
1993 "Vignale" Concept (front)
1993 "Vignale" Concept (rear) 
2009 Concept Lagonda SUV
2010 Rapide

2009 Concept Lagonda Sedan (an April Fool's joke but beautiful!)

Concept Sedan rear

Friday, August 1, 2014

Ken Zuleger's Photo Recap of Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance

Isotta Fraschini on Awards Platform (Photo: Ken Zuleger)
Ken Zuleger's Photo Recap of Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance
By Marrs

 Here's this year's inspiring gallery of photos from the 2014 Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance just outside of Portland, Oregon. You might remember seeing photographer Ken Zuleger's array of beauty shots from last year, highlighting the fine details of these magnificent designs so we brought him back for more. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Save the Date: Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance- Sunday, July 20, 2014

MotoArigato readers are already well-acquainted with the Pacific Northwest's premiere automobile event, the Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance, so many of you will be pleased to learn that the 2014 show celebrates our collective passion with several highly notable cars on display.

The theme for the 2014 event is "The Art of Italian Motoring" and accordingly, the organizers have assembled a roster of historically important motorcars to attend ranging from one-off specials to former LeMans racers.

Let's dig into the details of the featured cars...

1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 (This Year's Poster Car)
 This carrozzeria Touring bodied Alfa "was built to be a grand touring car in the true sense of the word" according to it's owner, Jon Shirley of Washington, who further describes the car as "fast but very civilized."  Vented rear wheel skirts, a sloping fastback that screams "more speed" and full disc wheel covers all point towards this car's capabilities as a continent crusher, devouring road miles just as it was intended to do when it was new some 76-years ago.

Exceedingly rare, with only 33 built, this example further distinguishes itself from the remaining few by being the winner of the first Watkin's Glen race held in 1948. Under Mr. Shirley's care, the 8C also completed the 1,000-mile Mille Miglia retrospective in 2006, won two awards at Pebble Beach in 2008 including Best of Show, and further Best of Show awards at both the Windsor Castle inaugural Concours 2012 and Villa d'Este in 2009.

1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport
 David Cohen's vehicle is a high class mutt of sorts, with it's chassis & drivetrain of Italian origin coupled with French bodywork, but none of this prevents this car from being an absolute show stopper with it's classic and elegant Figoni-penned hips and finely surfaced curves. Originally fitted with the French bodywork, which easily gained the car top honors at the 1934 Monte Carlo and Nice Concours d'Elegance events, the car was later altered for racing duty with a rebody as an open car for the 1935 24-Hours of LeMans. Eventually it was refitted with it's original closed coupe body and went on to win various awards in shows including the Villa d'Este and Coppa D'Oro in Italy, Pebble Beach (all in 2012) and Kirkland, Washington in 2013. The car lives in Vancouver, B.C. today but is graciously making the trip down to Forest Grove so we may all spend some time basking in it's charm.

1964 Ferrari 250GT/L Lusso
Admired by Ferrari lovers the world over, "Lusso" is a legendary name even among the finest of F-cars, and for good reason. In fact, a similar car was selected personally by comedian Adam Carolla as his choice for "World's Greatest Sports Coupes" at the current Petersen Museum exhibit . Style, grace and capability define the Lusso, and this Portland-owned show winner is no exception. The metallic grey color is said to have been favored by Enzo Ferrari himself, and present owner Robert Ames clearly appreciates being the exception to the rule of "Resell Red" when it comes to italian exotics. Pininfarina designed, this Lusso is familiar yet alluringly unique with it's sharp and low coachwork tipped at the nose by chrome overriders that have to be among the most subtle, yet finely sculpted, examples ever to appear on a sports car. It's little wonder that this car won both Best in Class and Post-War Best in Show at previous Forest Grove events.

1972 Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato 1600
If you're at all like me, the mere mention of the name "Zagato" quickens the pulse, dilates the pupils and causes a shameful amount of envy. While following the design house's 1970's-era cues, those primarily being flat panels, sharp creases, slats, vents and the familiar kinked C-pillars, we can still see the specific design-language that has made Zagato legendary among the aesthete in this example. The long nose and stubby tail denote power and speed, and Zagato touches like the clear fascia and wheel treatment go miles towards setting this car apart from the 105-series Giulia it is based upon. Add in the rarity of being one of only 402 made over the model's lifetime, and you understand this is not a car you're likely to see down at the local Dairy Queen anytime soon. Sold new in Italy in 1972 the car made it's way to Great Britain a few months later, and then on to the US in 2007. It has been owned by Reid Trummel, of Portland, Oregon, since 2013.

1969 AC 428 Fastback Coupe
We could call this car a "hybrid", but certainly not by the modern definition. Given that this Frua-bodied car was designed in Italy, it's chassis built in Britain, and it's engine forged in the US, we can't think of a more appealing setup. The long-embraced tradition of European cars fitted with American iron is a popular one, with cars like the Iso Grifo, DeTomaso Pantera, Dual-Ghia and Facel Vega HK500 benefitting from this type of arrangement. This car was born out of sheer necessity after the 80 rolling chassis already completed by AC Cars intended for use as Cobra units were no longer able to be imported into the US due to changing safety regs. Rather ingeniously, AC sent these cars off to Frua of Italy for fitment with either a fastback coupe version, or a drop top derivative. While maybe not recognizable straight away to the average enthusiast as "cobra-related" you can bet that the American V8 will be instantly noticed on start up or as it laps you on the twisties. We will be treated to both a coupe and convertible AC 428 at this year's Forest Grove Concours courtesy of owner and restorer Jim Feldman of Portland, OR.

About the Event
This year, the event celebrates "The Art of Italian Motoring" while also honoring 50-years of the Ford Mustang and Pontiac GTO.

Rain or shine this event will take place, and being reasonably weather protected with a canopy of old growth evergreens and shaded by historic campus buildings, there's really no excuse not to treat yourself and your loved ones to this terrific family-friendly event. Parking is free among the streets of Forest Grove, and admission rates can be found here. Food is available for purchase at the campus dining hall and they even have vegetarian options among the more standard fare of burgers, hot dogs and ice cream.

The concours is organized each year by the Forest Grove Rotary Club as a means to help fund scholarships for local students. Your contribution comes in the form of your admission fee.

Official Site of the 2014 Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance
See all MotoArigato "Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance" past articles and picture galleries here.
(Photos: Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Mercedes-Benz Formula-1 Team Tweets 60-Year History

Mercedes AMG F1 just tweeted this image contrasting a modern F1 steering wheel to that of it's Silver Arrow predecessor of 60-years hence. Cool eh?

Posted by Marrs

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Create Your Own Motorcade with this Presidential Limo and Parade Car

Posted by Marrs

Portland, OR-- The Pacific Northwest is home to all manner of collector cars, with it's temperate winters and salt-free roads pairing nicely with monied collectors who might have secured their fortune in the tech biz or by designing running shoes.  Today we spotlight two former US Government limousines, both with a connection to former Presidents.

1969 LBJ/Lady Bird Johnson Lincoln Continental Limousine 

First up is a 1969 Lincoln Continental that was taken straight from the assembly line and shipped to Lehmann-Peterson for the conversion to Presidential duty. The car was delivered to Lady Bird Johnson for use at the family property in Texas during the final year of LBJ's Presidency, and "The Ranch Car" as it came to be regarded, continued to serve dutifully until purchased by it's present owner in 1977. 

The car was put in service as a livery vehicle in Portland, Oregon running celebrities, musicians and industrialists to and from concert venues, on airport runs and generally living the easy life.

1965 Lincoln Continental Limousine Convertible Parade Car

Next is a 1965 Lincoln Continental that also began life as a staff limousine for use during the terms of LBJ, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford before being sold off during Jimmy Carter's term as part of his promised reduction in government spending by reducing the Presidential Motor Pool. This car, too, was sold to the current Portland-based owner in 1977.

Originally fitted with a more appropriate somber black with a grey interior, it was converted for Parade Car use by chopping the top, painting the car white, adding red vinyl rear seats and white vinyl up front, and adding in a chrome grab bar for passengers to stand and wave to the adoring public. Other fitments owing to it's previous life as a Secret Service asset include grab handles and foot bars at the rear for agents to ride along and red flashing lights in the front bumper.

This passenger list for the combined cars is an impressive archive of who's-who in American pop culture.

Partial passenger list: Tammy Wynette, Natalie Cole, Billy Joel, Jethro Tull, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Janis Ian, Gorge Benson, David Bowie, The Kinks, Supertramp, Seals & Croft, Bad Co., Pink Floyd, Marshall Tucker, The Tubes, Peter Frampton, J.Geils Band, Joan Baez, Waylon Jennings, K.C. & Sunshine Band, Chuck Mangione, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Bay City Rollers, Tony Bennett, Carol King, Heart, REO Speedwagon, Ted Nugent, Fleetwood Mac, Captain & Tennille, Beach Boys, YES, Donovan, Rush, Grateful Dead, Rod Stewart, Doobies, Bill Blass, CSN, Neil Sedaka, Richie Havens, Hall & Oats, Steve Miller, Average White Band, Blue Oyster Cult, Phoebe Snow, Chicago, Robin Trower, Steve Martin, Andy Williams, Kansas, Johnny Mathis, William Shatner, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, America, Nazareth, Art Garfunkel, Wolfman Jack, Foghat, Patty Smith, Tom Jones, Journey, Proctor & Bergman, Little Feet, Doc Severinson, Boz Scaggs, Tom Petty, Leonard Nimoy, Kris Kristofferson, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Andy Gibb, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Cheap Trick, Little River Band, Bob Welch, Boston, Nantucket, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Foreigner, Brothers Johnson, John Denver, Bread, Kenny Loggins, Toto, Tanya Tucker, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Elvis Costello, Gene Autry, Styx, Liberace, Judy Collins, Moody Blues, Telly Savalas, Village People, Bee Gees, Charlie Daniels Band, ABBA , Cars, Jimmy Buffett, Jan & Dean, Gordon Lightfoot, Dan Fogleberg, Janet Leigh, War, ZZ Top, Frank Zappa, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Tosh, Barry Manilow, Lou Rawls, Sammy Hagar, Quarterflash, Air Supply, Loverboy, Righteous Brothers, The Police, The Go Gos, Scorpions, Triumph, Devo, Def Leppard, Men at Work, Kenny Rodgers, James Brown, Clayton Moore (Lone ranger), The Who.

We're informed that the owner is liquidating several fine, odd and unusual vehicles from his collection, and that these are just the first offerings. We hope to bring you coverage of some of the more unusual offerings as they become available.

Find full details, prices and contact info for the seller in these links:

1969 LBJ/Lady Bird Johnson Lincoln Continental Limousine
1965 Lincoln Continental Limousine Convertible Parade Car

Disclosure: We are in the same local car club as the seller, who is representing the owner of both cars. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Million Mile 250SE Coupe is SoCal Owner's Daily Driver

Ben Clopot's 1966 250se with over 1,280,000 miles under it's belt.
Posted by Marrs

When searching for our next collector car, most of us specifically seek out lower-mileage examples and those with too many zeros are often scratched off the list. Rarely, however, there are extremely high-mileage cars that, for the sheer fact of their durability, and perhaps even utter will to survive, entrance us in a way that only a car with so many stories, owing to so many miles on the road, could tell. Realtor Ben Clopot is the enthusiastic owner of just such a car.

The iconic upright grille is studded with various high mileage awards.
Ben's 1966 250se Coupe came to him with little fanfare after his long and exhaustive search for, "a Euro coupe with manual transmission and air conditioning." His year-long search finally came to an end when a one-family owned coupe was offered for sale last year, but oddly, "they didn't mention much about the miles except for the fact that is has always been taken care of. I absolutely fell in love with it." The deal was a private party sale completed after a friend's suggestion that this could be the right car for Ben, his wife Christine, and their young daughter Isabella.

Ben and his wife Christine.
After going through 300+ pages of receipts that came with the car (totaling some $88,000 according to Ben), and discovering several awards contained in a box in the trunk, a bigger picture of the car's history began to form. Ben quickly realized that he had something very special in his Beverly Hills garage.

The mileage history was no small event for it's original owners, considering that they applied for, and received, mileage awards for 200,000-kilometers (124k-miles) in 1975, 500,000-kilometers (310k-miles) in 1980, and 1-million kilometers (621k-miles) in 1991. Ben adds that the original owner died the following year but that, "ever since then the family has kept great care of it and logged just over 350k miles on it since 1992."

If anyone question's Ben's capacity as the new caretaker for such a unique and possibly needy car, he reassures, "I drive this car every day and love it even more knowing its orig owner had such pride of ownership and I can carry on its heritage." He says that not only does he use the car as a daily driver, this being the favorite among his various and more modern cars, but it is also his preferred mode of transport for regular trips back to visit family in Las Vegas, adding another 35k-miles a year of his own to the well-used odometer. The million-mile mark was actually passed some time ago and today, the car has over 1,280,000 miles and counting! 

As we know, even the finest cars will need regular maintenance and repairs to keep them in tip-top, roadworthy condition, and some of that previously mentioned $88,000 in receipts went towards two bottom end rebuilds, four top end rebuilds, and a twice refurbished transmission. Ben also mentions, "anything that breaks gets fixed immediately and everything on the car works as it should perfectly." To our minds, this is what responsible and passionate ownership is all about.

Not a common sight on a W111 coupe.
Ben, like the rest of us, has heard of several "million-mile" Mercedes fitted with diesel engines, but is curious about how many gas engined cars have attained this level of road experience. What an experience it has become, Ben tells one story, "I had a guy crash into the curb a few days ago because he was starring at me instead of watching where he was going. You could see his girlfriend screaming at him." As many of us who regularly drive Oldtimer cars can confirm, Ben added,  "I also get people on a weekly basis, almost daily, (asking) if I would consider selling the car." Also like many of us, he enjoys the benefits of owning such a beautiful and coveted motorcar, and suggests, "This is a car I plan on holding on to. I consider it priceless."

No stranger to Mercedes-Benz or collectible vehicles in general, Ben details his automotive obsession by saying, "I have owned many different models of Mercedes, my last one purchased new was a 2005  S55 AMG black on black which I drove for 2 years. My kind of cars are all over the place I have had a 1987 BMW M6 (also designed by Paul Bracq -ed.) and a BMW 3.0 csi. I love coupes. A 1987 Porsche 930 turbo, 1989 Porsche 930 turbo cab, original Mini Cooper S dual tank Raleigh car. I love cars but I have had at least ten Mercedes in my life and I even purchased a 1967 250se coupe about 15-years ago. It was white on blue but after all said and done it needed way to much work to make it the way I like so I let it go."

Why the classic W111 coupe over something more sporty or from another maker? Ben explains how his formative years played a role in this decision, "I set out to find a car that reminded me of when I was a child. My dad purchased new in 1969 a white on red manual 280se coupe when he moved to the states. I have just always loved this car."

When it came time for Ben to submit his application for his 1-million mile badge and certificate, he was directed to a specific dealership in order for them to perform a check of the gauges and maintenance records in order to confirm it's eligibility. Needless to say, it passed and today wears it's latest bit of car jewelry as evidence, a small but proud enamel badge proclaiming to the world that Mercedes-Benz, indeed, built some of the finest cars in the world.

Do you know of a gas-engined Mercedes with more than a million documented miles? Let us know!

See full gallery of photos below:

All photos © Ben Clopot

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