Sunday, July 31, 2011


Kiehls, established in 1851, has always had a motorcycling connection; every store has a vintage bike or two inside, a legacy of the family's longtime love of bikes, planes, etc, and desire to share their collection in their retail outlets.  Having long been a sponsor of motorcycle events in the US (such as the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours), they've branched out in the past two years into holding annual LifeRides, to support and publicize a special line of Kiehls products which are 100% slated to charity.  This year, they've guaranteed $100,000 to amfAR, the premier AIDS research foundation in the US, and the ride includes a gaggle of celebrities who want to show support for Kiehl's generosity, while helping publicize HIV/AIDS issues in the areas ridden.
Chris Salgardo, president of Kiehl's
This year's route starts in Philadelphia, and makes a 1300 mile loop over 5 days, ending up in Manhattan, where 160 riders will join the LifeRiders for a parade through Manhattan's streets, on Saturday Aug 6th (if you're in Manhattan, please join us for a good party), ending up at the Kiehl's original flagship store in the East Village (109 3rd at 13th).
A pair of racing Jags; D-type in front, C-type in rear...yummy catlike wraiths
I've been asked along to document the ride, and raise awareness of this event in the Vintage bike community, which is the Kiehls family stomping grounds.  We won't be riding vintage motorcycles though (I know, I know...), but BMW have generously loaned every rider a new machine, plus some riding gear.  Ruby helmets have provided us all with lids, so we'll look damn stylish meandering through the Amish backroads of Pennsylvania.  What will I be riding?  An S1000RR, the fastest production motorcycle on earth...certainly a change from a '38 Velocette!
Artist Conrad Leach with actor Grant Reynolds
As a pre-ride treat, a visit to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia was planned for our Sunday evening get-together.  The Museum founder Frank Simeone gave us a personal tour of his unusual collection of Sports Racers, ie, racing cars which have two seats and are road legal, as used in Le Mans and most American endurance races (Sebring, Daytona), although these days a mechanic isn't required in the passenger seat!
Ferrari Testarossa and arch-rival Maserati; warriors at rest
Simeone is a forward-thinking collector, and has long valued original paint, unrestored machines in his collection, although these are increasingly difficult to find.  Half of the incredibly rare racing cars in his vast warehouse have battered and oxidized bodies, and are absolutely glorious.  We were treated to a demonstration of a 1-of-6, original paint ex-Shelby Corvette racer, which boomed around the 3-acre parking lot out back, slithering its fat tires under the masterful helm of Le Mans veteran Alain de Cadanet.
Alain tries out the 'Vette Grand Sport, in original paint
BMW 328, also in original paint, found in Holland after WW2, where it had been hidden in a hay loft.
Original paint 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spyder...
1909 American 'Underslung'; the chassis was below the axles, making the mudguards the same level as the hood...dig those 42" hoops!
Brooke Zaugg, organizer of the LifeRide...and the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours
The back end of a Bugatti Type 57 'Tank'...
...and the crazy wheels, shared with the open-wheel racers.  It is a two-piece wheel; the brake hub has a toothed engagement to the separate wheel rim.
Actress Marguerite Moreau takes a spin with Alain...
...and decides the noise and wheel-sliding is pretty fun!
Original paint Shelby Daytona coupe, which took a 12-hour record at Bonneville at 150mph!  The shapely body reputedly added 20mph to the top speed, and was sketched out on a napkin.  No wind tunnel testing, but it worked.
Hudson Hornet H-Power...
The Hudson in question, H-powerful.
Alain takes instruction from the owner...rev it harder!
Alain holds court with actor Jason Lee and friends
MG 'K' Magnette supercharged ex-Brooklands racer, in for repairs
To the victor goes the spoils...
Custom builder Paul Cox checks out a LeMans Porsche
Frank Simeone discusses some of his earlier cars
White with blue stripes; must be American...Allard J2X and Corvette
Photographer Travis Shinn gets in close to a Stutz...
That 8C Alfa before a replica Brooklands backdrop
Mellow Yellow Ford GT40
The same holds true for motorcycles...


jonathanb said...

undoubted a worthy cause, but Kiehl's started around 1850, 1855 in what is now called the East Village, Third Avenue and Thirteenth Street, which would make that the flagship. The shop, by the way, has a wonderful collection of vintage Harley Davidson's, a mini musuem in itself, which would make it even more appropriate.

Cortes said...

The white car with blue stripe is mislabeled. The first of the two cars is an Allard J2X, not a Cunningham. They are all beautiful and the early post war sports racing cars are my favorites.

Don O'Reilly said...

Who is the DOLL in front of the checkered flag, and is she in the ride?

Anonymous said...

As usual, you are ahead of the curve.
I read in The Vintagent this past summer about an auto museum I had never heard of, in my old home town of Philadelphia.
So on my annual pilgrimage back from S of France, I visited the Simeon museum, and was blown away - they even had a temporary exhibit of vintage Ducatis.
Thanks again for all your wonderful work.

- Allan P