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Motorsports and Maserati Enthusiast Doug Magnon Dies at 55

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/6/2015 Motor Trend Staff
Motorsports and Maserati Enthusiast Doug Magnon Passes Away

Douglas Magnon, founder of the Riverside International Automotive Museum (RIAM), has lost his battle with cancer and passed away February 4. He was 55. Magnon regularly attended races at the Riverside International Raceway before it shuttered in 1988. The raceway’s closure led him and his father Raymond Magnon to establish RIAM, which is renowned for its collection of historic race cars.

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Doug Magnon is survived by his wife Evonne; his parents Raymond and Elaine; and many siblings and nieces and nephews.

A successful businessman, his many ventures continue to thrive including the Magnone Trattoria Italian restaurant and Newport Italian, a motorcycle dealership specializing in Vespa, Moto Guzzi, and Aprilla. Magnon was also a passionate Maserati collector and his love for the brand eventually led him to cross paths with two Motor Trend staffers, Frank Markus and Jonny Lieberman. Below are their thoughts and memories of Magnon.

Technical Director Frank Markus

I first really got to know Doug a decade ago during the festivities surrounding Maserati's 90th anniversary. We chatted at length about the Ferrari Enzo-derived Maserati MC12, one of which I had the pleasure of testing at Alfa Romeo's Bolocco test track, and one of which Doug was awaiting delivery of. 1973 Maserati Bora© Provided by MotorTrend 1973 Maserati Bora

Among people I've met with the wherewithal to own a large collection of cars as fabulous as the MC12, Doug certainly ranked as one of the most unassuming, approachable, and gracious. Every time I had the pleasure of interacting with Doug, he invited me to come by and drive one or another of his rare Maseratis. He was totally game for whatever photographic requests Motor Trend Classic had when covering his Bora and Merak, and gave Jonny Lieberman carte blanche in obtaining driving impressions. That was just how Doug rolled--and no doubt is still rolling, spreading the Maserati gospel and keeping the car-lovers in the great hereafter enthralled.

Senior Features Editor Jonny Lieberman

The first time I saw Doug his feet were hanging out of a Maserati Bora we were supposed to immediately drive down to Palm Springs. There was a hydraulic leak of some sort. No big deal, Doug explained. On the way out to the desert, the poor Bora broke down three or four more times. Doug and I bonded over its refried electronics. And, we fixed it, each time!

That evening Doug refused to let me stay in a hotel. I'd just met the man and he insisted I stay in his home as his guest. I'll never forget that, nor the kindness that he and Evonne showed me every time I saw the both of them. Nor the wine. I'll miss my friend who loved Maseratis more than any man I've ever met.

1967 Jaguar Mark X/420G© Provided by MotorTrend 1967 Jaguar Mark X/420G
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