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COVERING YOUR CARS & YOUR EVENTS VOLUME 4, NUMBER 4

The GT Roadsters, Hand-Built at the Art Center The next generation E-Coupe, AMG & Linkin Park, F1, NYPD gets smart, Porsche’s Classic Center, LA Auto Show News And much more

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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10 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster 16 Built by Hand at the 2016 Art Center Car Classic 24 A very limited edition W210 E 34 Sonoma Raceway weekend getaways 40 The next gen E coupe 44 Formula One 58 Porsche Classic Center 62 The Simeone Foundation Collection 70 MBenz Society 76 GT3's join IMSA for 2017 82 Big SoCal Euro 86 The Porsche Experience Center LA 92 Mercedes-Benz at the LA Auto Show 102 New engines 106 Mercedes-AMG and Linkin Park 109 Monterey's Legends of the Autobahn 110 NYPD gets smart 114 MBCA San Diego’s Speedfest 116 MBCA OC at the Olde Ship 118 Desert Stars sits down with MB Motors

121 MB of Beverly Hills hosts the LA Section 122 Three Sections at Oktoberfest 124 Desert Stars at Schumacher European 128 Upcoming Events

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events

and much more


The Southwest Star Your cars & your events November 2016 The Southwest Star Magazine is published four times per year by Fitzhugh Media Santa Clarita, California, USA www.fitzhughmedia.com info@fitzhughmedia.com

Special Thanks to

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Mercedes-Benz Club of America

Subscriptions are free of charge, We ask that you support our advertisers as they keep this publication afloat To receive an email notification when new issues are released drop us a note at me2@fitzhughmedia.com We will not share your email address or send you spam. We will send you one email notification each time a new issue is released.

Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz USA Mercedes-AMG

Editorial Daimler AG Editor in Chief Marcus Blair Fitzhugh Managing Editor Veeann Hegreberg Creative Director Karcy Bowles Motorsports Editor Kevin Ehrlich Features editor Marylyn Fischer East Coast Bureau Chief Wendy Fitzhugh

Mercedes-Benz Classic Center Mercedes-AMG Porsche Porsche Experience Center MBenz Society CRP Racing Brian Clearly/BCPix.com AutoMobility LA

Creative Consultant Sean Fitzhugh

Big SoCal Euro

Contributors To This Issue Arica Ohanisian Chase Kaufman Chris Murray Chuck Stanford Debbie Ichiyama Jay Pill John and Roberta Phin Ken Borowitz Laura Dykstra Lynn Hern Matthew Crawford Michael Cooper Paul Bergstrom Paul Kruger Steve Ross Jay Pill

The Southwest Star is available worldwide via the 8 MBCA Southwest Section websites, Issuu, and Fitzhugh Media

Distribution

Queries info@fitzhughmedia.com Hollis and 217th Street

Legalese The Southwest Star Magazine is published quarterly by Fitzhugh Media and we welcome all contributions. Any and all items submitted to The Southwest Star Magazine will become the sole property of The Southwest Star Magazine and are subject, but not limited to editing, comments, and titles. The Southwest Star Magazine is a trademark of Fitzhugh Media. All rights reserved. This magazine may not be reproduced in part or in full – in print, by digital media, broadcast, or in any other manner without the express written permission of Fitzhugh Media. That said, permission is regularly given, so please, just ask first. The publishers of The Southwest Star Magazine believe the content of the magazine to be reliable and correct at the time of publication. We do our best but no representation is made as to the accuracy hereof as this magazine is subject to errors and omissions. With that in mind, neither the publishers nor contributors can be held responsible for any effects arising from the content of The Southwest Star Magazine. This may include but is not limited to excessive time spent tinkering with, admiring, discussing, or dolling out money on Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The views expressed in The Southwest Star Magazine are those of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of the publisher. Advertising is accepted with the understanding that it is accurate and does not contravene the Trade Practices Act. Inclusion of an advertisement should not be construed as an endorsement by The Southwest Star Magazine, the publishers or contributors. The Southwest Star Magazine is independent of Mercedes-Benz, Daimler AG, its subsidiaries, the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, all individual MBCA regions and the associated sections. Neither Fitzhugh Media nor The Southwest Star Magazine is responsible for any claims made by its advertisers or partners. In addition, neither Fitzhugh Media nor The Southwest Star Magazine is responsible for injuries, losses, or damages, to property or self.

All that said, feel free to contact Fitzhugh Media at Info@FitzhughMedia.com Š 2005 Fitzhugh Media

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


From the editor’s desk

S

ome say car meet attendance is on the decline, Others say it’s bigger than ever. Both are right. When I was a kid, I made it a point to be home when whatever show I wanted to see was on TV.

That’s the way it was done in the stone ages. Nowadays, NOBODY stays home to watch anything other than sports. Like television, car meets have changed. Those who find out about events when a postal worker puts a piece of paper in their mailbox are right; no one attends the meets they hear about. Those who hear about an event from a digital device have a much different experience. Despite costing way too much, one point four billion smartphones were sold last year. Smartphones are used to hear about meets, organize details, and post changes. Big SoCal Euro was a good example. It was the largest single day event on the west coast last summer, and the thousands who attended didn’t hear about it by letter carrier. The caravans that were organized to go to/from Qualcomm Stadium weren’t put together by signing up on a piece of paper that was forwarded to the next person. Everyone I know used digital media to communicate – a phone, a tablet, something electronic. Think that’s a one-off? SoCal’s Finest is the same way. When they hold an event, nobody goes door-todoor making announcements.

SoCal’s Finest posts it, a couple of thousand phones blow up, and it’s on.

How is it that a couple of thousand people follow these things? After having attending an event or seeing the coverage, they click follow. For those that are asking, “What coverage?”, look around. Digital content and creativity have exploded. Digital access is why The Southwest Star exists. We want nothing to do with physical paper and the 350,000 people who read each issue seem to agree. Digital access opens the door to the events that surround us.

Marcus Blair Fitzhugh Page | 8


The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Article Marcus B Fitzhugh | photos courtesy Mercedes-Benz

he new AMG GT roadster made its official debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Our last issue contained spy shots, but we have a lot more information today. The new roadster is available in two versions; the standard GT Roadster and the more powerful GT C Roadster. The first model to arrive stateside will be the base AMG GT Roadster. All AMG GTs are powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, but the power levels differ. The GT Roadster makes 476 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. That’s more power than the base GT Coupe, but less than the GT S Coupe. Page | 10


The AMG GT Roadster accelerates from zero to sixty in the same 3.9 seconds, the same as the GT Coupe, and has a top speed of 188 MPH, versus the GT Coupe’s 189 MPH top end.

It appears Mercedes-AMG

made it a point to give the Coupe and Roadster equal performance numbers. As expected, Mercedes-AMG did the same thing with the GT C Roadster and the GT S. The GT C Roadster’s 4.0-liter produces 549 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque. This is opposed to the GT S, which produces 510 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The zero to sixty sprints are almost identical, with the GT C being a tenth of a second faster. That’s is probably due to the increased traction, which we’ll get to shortly. Mercedes-AMG says the GT C also has a slightly higher top speed, 196, versus the GT S at 193. Mercedes has removed performance as a decision when buying a GT.

They’re all

equally fast, the only question is whether the buyer wants a roadster. In typical Mercedes fashion, these are all conservative numbers. Multiple testers at different publications have ripped off 3.0 second zero to sixty times in the current GT S. For those wondering, the GT R is one tenth of a second faster than the GT C and has a 198 MPH top end. Both AMG GT Roadsters have the updated Panamericana grille with 15 chrome-plated vertical bars surrounding the three-pointed star. Behind that grille is the active air management system from the GT R.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


The air management system has vertical louvers in the lower area behind the front fascia. The louvers are opened and closed by an electric motor, which takes about a second. This applies cooling performance as needed and achieves the optimum position using intelligent, fast control. During normal driving with reduced cooling requirements, the louvers are closed to reduce aerodynamic drag and direct air to the underbody.

When

components reach a predefined temperature, the louvers open, redirecting airflow to the heat exchangers.

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Naturally, both cars share the electrically operated folding soft top. The soft-top uses three layers of fabric, and takes 11 seconds to fold away. The roof is available in three colors; black, red, and beige. Aside from the increased power and the new badge, the AMG GT C Roadster has a few other differences. The GT C Roadster has the GT R’s wider track, increased traction, larger rear wheel arches, wheels, and side skirts. Although the GT C Roadster has the GT R rear bumper cover, it does not have the GT R’s rear valance. On the mechanical side, the GT C Roadster also has the GT R’s active rear steering, electronically controlled limitedslip diff, AMG Ride Control with active damping, the GT R’s retuned dual-clutch transmission (with Race mode), and the AMG performance exhaust with variably adjustable flaps. The exhaust is optional on the standard GT Roadster. The interiors received some tweaks. Nappa STYLE leather is available for the first time. The optionally available AMG performance seats are available with the AIRSCARF neck-level heating system. Seat climate control is also available exclusively for the AMG performance seats for the first time. Lastly, the Burmester sound system has a been modified to supply an extremely low bass range. The new External Coupled Subwoofer (ECS) uses the entire interior as a bass box, turning the new roadster into a rolling concert stage. We can expect to see the new roadster in the fall of 2017.

Engine Displacement Output Peak torque Drive system Transmission Acceleration 0-60 mph Top speed

Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster 4.0-liter V-8 with twin turbochargers and direct injection 3,982 cc 469 hp at 6,000 rpm 465 lb-ft at 1,700-5,000 rpm Rear-wheel drive AMG SPEEDSHIFT® DCT 7-speed dual-clutch transmission 3.9 seconds

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster 4.0-liter V-8 with twin turbochargers and direct injection 3,982 cc 550 hp at 5,750-6,750 rpm 502 lb-ft at 1,900-5,750 rpm Rear-wheel drive AMG SPEEDSHIFT® DCT 7-speed dualclutch transmission 3.7 seconds

188 mph

196 mph

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Article Kevin Ehrlich | photos Kevin Ehrich and Mary Fischer

ith a theme of “Built by Hand,� the 2016 Art Center Car Classic sought to feature the unique and specially crafted - the vision of the designer, the skill of the builder, and the historical significance of the limited (or only) example produced. Stewart Reed, chair of the Transportation Design Department, curates the invited cars each year to support the theme.

He likely had more candidates than space would permit for the October

23rd event. Page | 16


The grounds of the Art Center played host to everything from early Porsches and Alfa Romeos to one-off designs from Voisin to production supercars from Italy to current concept cars from Lexus and Acura to a home-built (but very high quality) replica of a 1959 Ferrari Testa Rossa in bare aluminum. Mattel even brought a fullscale version of a Star Wars Hot Wheels car. As with every Car Classic at Art Center, the event really has three parts. First (and most obvious) are the cars on display outside. Second is the venue itself – walking through the halls and seeing student work that is both finished and in-process and many of the tools of the trade. Third is the opportunity to hear from auto designers (many of whom are Art Center alumni). In Reed’s introductory remarks, he was careful to acknowledge that the Art Center retains and emphasizes the importance of skills of drawing and sculpting – even in an age of increasing use of technology and computers. A walk through the hallways and classrooms at Art Center confirms Reed’s comments. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Drawings done by hand lay alongside clay models that are being massaged, adding and removing material to achieve just the right lines and curves. Across the hallway from the graduate design studio, a three-axis drilling machine carved through a block of high density foam to release a new shape from within. In a rare treat, dozens of scale models were on display from the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild – a design competition for teenagers in operation from 1930 to 1968.

Many future

designers got their start with success in the competition, including a teenage Stewart Reed who had two submissions on display. Undoubtedly, other Art Center alumni were represented as well. The model display was impressive on its own merits, but it gave rise to the priceless experience of listening to friends talk about a particular model and realizing that one of them was the original designer several decades prior. Among others, alumni designers currently working at Acura and Tesla offered observations to the crowd from the main stage on the future of car design and the state of the car hobby. The panel talked about the importance and desirability of good design regardless of how autonomous the vehicle may be or whether the car is shared with others. They also talked about the need to be able to communicate effectively with colleagues in other disciplines. Autonomy continues to be the looming threat or opportunity of the transportation world depending on your view and perspectives vary.

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As spectators milled among the cars, Ed Justice, Jr. (head of Justice Brothers – an automotive lubricants, oils and additives company and family with deep roots in motorsports) and Dave Kunz (automotive specialist for ABC local television) did brief interviews with people who brought the cars. Interviews included owners told stories of cars long sought-after, cars with unique history, and cars (and motorcycles and a VW bus with a Porsche engine) tailored to meet a specific vision. Interviews also included Art Center alumni from Acura and Lexus who brought modern examples of concept, near-production and production cars. All the stories easily supported the “Built by Hand” theme. So what about the cars? If you’re reading this, you’re likely minded in the way of the Mercedes. The black 1955 300SL gullwing

kept

an

eye

on

proceedings with both of its doors swung open to the sky, giving a great view of the beautiful gray interior,

wood

Nardi

wheel,

tailored luggage on the deck behind the seats and in front of the rear window. The speedometer showed just over 17,000 clicks. Across the field, a 1936 290 Cabriolet A sat alongside a 1958 four door 180D. The three-pointed star on the nose was shared, but over twenty years of history separates them and they are each distinctive in their own way. A smaller brother to the bigger and better known 500 and 540K models, the 290 Cabriolet was built in a factory in Mannheim, Germany that did not survive the bombing during the war. Not only did few 290 models survive, but the original build sheets and records were destroyed as well. This particular 290 Cabriolet was The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


apparently not sold to its first owner until 1948 which suggests the car was hidden away somehow. Now only on its fourth owner (two German and two American) who purchased the car in 2015, the green two-tone paintwork is a marvelous complement to the curves sweeping along the sides. The front hood hides a straight 6-cylinder engine making a mere 68 horsepower.

The 190D sedan was likewise not a performance vehicle. The in-line four-cylinder engine produces only 55 horsepower and its 0-60 times are left unsaid. The deep blue-green color (with wheel cover accents) matched nicely with a pristine gray and black interior with chrome trim. Those interested in something more exotic with a Mercedes connection could look to the row of sports cars and the deep blue Pagani Huayra powered by an AMG sourced engine. The owner generously opened all of the doors and the rear hatch to give spectators a look at the detailed design and the gold AMG powerplant situated ahead of the massive rear wheels. Exotic? Yes. Built by hand? Yes – all the way down to the AMG engine with builder Michael Kübler’s signature.

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There were many more examples of interesting works of art at the Car Classic. The event is an annual affair held every October, so mark your calendar for 2017. The student gallery rotates exhibits through the year, so there are always student projects on display. A visit to Art Center is always a rare opportunity to see the full design process from student sketch and clay model all the way to the finished product of a concept or production car – all Built by Hand. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


he W210 E is a gorgeous car. This was the last E designed by Bruno Sacco and it has a timeless stylish elegance. We recently came across one that was absolutely stunning. As soon as we saw it, we immediately started tracking down the owner. It turns out this car is owned by Jonathan Yeung from Maryland. Jonathan was kind enough to give us details about what he did to push his striking E over the top. We initially thought this was a facelifted E55 with a number of mods. Close, but no cigar. This is Page | 24


By Marcus B Fitzhugh

a 2002 E320 Sport. The car was purchased new in 2001 by Jonathan’s mother. After a number of years, she picked up a new E-Class coupe (C207) and the old E had to go. This is the point in the story when most cars disappear as a trade-in, only to be reunited later, and the car and its original owner live happily ever after. That didn’t happen here. Recognizing the W210’s enduring beauty, Jonathan skipped the theatrics and decided to keep it in the family – sliding the E into his stable next to his MK 7 Golf R and Maserati Ghibli SQ4.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


I don’t know anything about Jonathan’s 300 horsepower all-wheel-drive Golf R or his 400 horsepower all-wheel-drive Ghibli SQ4, but the E has been modified. The most obvious mods are the headlamps and front bumper, but we’ll get to those after looking at some of its other subtle changes. This E has a unique stance. That’s because it sits on an Eibach Pro-Kit. This stylishly lowers it, giving Jonathan’s E the perfect ride height for its nineteen-inch BBS RS-GTs. Because there’s more to a suspension upgrade than lowering springs and wheels, the E also has Bilstein sport shocks, H&R anti-roll bars, and a P1 Performance rear camber kit. Installing a comprehensive system such as this allows the E to handle like the focused driver’s car it was intended to be.

The interior was also upgraded. Back in 2002, the E-Class was one step below the top of the line S-Class. E-Class interiors have cutting edge electronics wrapped in the finest materials available. Being 15 years old, some of today’s common luxury items simply weren’t available back then. Jonathan stepped in and modernized his E to contemporary Mercedes-Benz standards where possible.

One of those

upgrades were the factory power folding mirrors. Back in 2002, those were somewhat of a rare option on some European E’s. Jonathan retrofitted them to this U.S. spec car. The same is true of the illuminated door sills. This aesthetic option is currently available from the factory, but wasn’t offered when this E was produced.

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In every vehicle, the driver has a critical interface that rests between them and the car; the steering wheel. hardware.

Aside from being used to steer the car, it’s also a rather intimate piece of

We’re constantly touching and running our hands across the wheel, making our

relationship quite cozy. If a steering wheel is going to be upgraded, it should be both comfortable, and fit the artistic surroundings of the interior. Jonathan covered both areas in selecting a Brabus Sport steering wheel.

The Brabus Sport has real leather and real wood, and they are exact

matches for the Mercedes leather and wood. Another major interior upgrade was the entertainment system. In-car entertainment was a lot different back when the W210 E was new. Satellite radio hadn’t been invented and CDs hadn’t completely replaced cassettes. Luxury cars commonly had AM/FM cassette head units with CDs being

an option. Navigation systems were unsophisticated and looked more like Pac Man than Google Maps. In fact, when Jonathan’s E was new, the cell phones it supported used a signal technology that won’t work with today’s modern cell towers. If all that sounds hopeless, Jonathan’s solution will make perfect sense. He removed everything and started from scratch. He moved the HVAC controller to the factory head unit slot. This gave him the room he needed for modern hardware.

He chose a Kenwood DVD receiver, Pioneer

speakers, Rockford Fosgate sub, and an HD back-up camera. These provide Jonathan’s E with the same features as a modern entertainment system.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Jonathan’s E also got a power upgrade. He added an Evosport underdrive pulley, SuperSprint cat back exhaust system, K&N filter, and the ECU was remapped. How much power does this equate to? We have no idea. We’d guess it’s more powerful than when it left the factory, but has fewer ponies than his Maserati. Many would have stopped there, but Jonathan also undertook a brake upgrade. Jonathan went with a Rotora big brake kit. The Rotora BBK uses 4-piston calipers in both the front and rear. 4-piston calipers allow greater clamping force, while keeping pad pressure even across the face of the rotor. This has the added benefit of reducing heat.

Now we can talk about what initially caught our attention; the lighting system and front bumper. When it left the factory, Jonathan’s E had halogen headlamps. Because they're simple and cost effective, halogen is the world's most popular automotive lighting system. A halogen light bulb has a lifetime of about 1,000 hours, produces about 1400 lumens (lumens are a measure of the total quantity of light), and can be replaced for about $30 a pair. The halogen headlamp design was launched in the 1960s and was first used as an original equipment headlight bulb in the US in 1983. These are at best a second-tier lighting option. Jonathan upgraded to custom built Bi-Xenons using W211 headlamp internals. Xenon headlamps are known as HIDs, and the technology was made popular in the 1940’s for movie projector Page | 28


lighting. Xenons produce over twice as much light as halogens (3000 lumens), last twice as long, and the bulbs cost four times as much at most retailers. The next step up are LEDs, which is what Jonathan installed when he performed his second upgrade. Why did he make the second upgrade? We didn’t ask, but LEDs produce less heat (won’t ruin the headlamp housing), use less energy (28 watts and draw 2.33 amps, versus an HID at 35 watts and 4 amps), turn on instantly (versus the 4 to 15 seconds HIDs take to warm up), and I’m

told LED bulbs last 15 times as long as HID bulbs. Of course, it could simply be that he wanted LED headlamps because the color matches his LED fogs. Whatever the reason, they appear to be the right choice.

Halogen Bulb

Xenon Bulb

LED Bulbs The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


The French term for the bumper on this car is “objet d’art”. This isn’t Photoshop or some artist’s rendition of what the bumper could look like. This bumper is a spare no expense, custom blend of a W210 upper and a W211 lower. The results are amazing. How did Jonathan go about getting this bumper? He spent three months sourcing the parts before enlisting the talented folks at Los Customs in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Carlos at Los Customs measured and removed the bottom section of the original bumper.

Then he took an original

equipment AMG W211 bumper, cut off the top half, and kept the bottom. A W210 E has more front overhang than a 211, so the sides of the 211 bumper cover had to be cut and extended to reach the edge of the W210 wheel well. Then he blended the top bumper to the bottom, and repainted it.

If anyone wonders why the body shop didn’t simply use an aftermarket bumper, there’s a good reason.

Although companies like Carlsson and Wald used to manufacture quality custom

replacement pieces, the demand dried up and they stopped producing them. Cheap knockoffs stepped in and filled the void with junk that fits like a hand me down Halloween costume. Rather than dealing with the aggravation, Jonathan chose a route that guarantees his E will retain the original flawless factory panel gaps around those complex ornate headlamps.

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The fabrication in progress

To the lower right are photos that illustrate the differences. The original equipment W210 sport bumper looks good. The lower section has three air intakes with the outer edges housing circular factory fog lamps. The lower edges flow nicely into the wheel wells and the theme matches the side skirts.

Jonathan’s upgraded bumper also has three air intakes, with each opening being

noticeably larger and reshaped. The outer openings also have fog lamps, but they’re modern reflective oval housings with circular projectors. This is a finished look that keeps the fogs, city lights, and headlamps all in harmony. Like the factory sport bumper, the lower edge of the new bumper matches the side skirts. This is a perfect blend of the W211 and W210 front end. For most of us, the car buying process is simple; the day job funds the savings, and the savings fund the purchase. At that point we can just pick the color. Building this required quite a bit more. It required a vision and someone to stick to it until the goal was reached. The results are a strikingly beautiful E. Top: the AMG / Sport bodywork. Below: Jonathan’s upgrade The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


s settings for a race track go, Sonoma Raceway’s perch at the portal to California’s wine country is tough to beat. The vines are close enough that spectators sitting on the hills look across to the winery and tasting room of Ram’s Gate Winery which opened in 2011. Many staff also work in the wine business when they’re not at the track, so the wine connection is not cliché – unlike a race in Las Vegas necessarily triggering gambling analogies or race near Los Angeles invoking show business and Hollywood references.

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Article Kevin Ehrlich | photos Mary Fischer

Sonoma Raceway is a natural terrain road course draped across rolling hills adjacent to the San Pablo Bay about 30 miles due north of San Francisco. It features a twelve turn track that is run in different configurations for different series.

It is a mainstay on the calendars for both the

NASCAR and IndyCar racing series with the honor of hosting the IndyCar season finale. The track also hosts NHRA – the country’s top tier drag racing series – on the dragstrip that slices down through the middle of the facility. The venue has remarkable sightlines, many different viewpoints to explore and easy paths to use, easy access into and out of the track, and a very friendly staff – including the security team who The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


will double as tour guides if you’re in the wrong place or need directions around the facility. None of those are accidents or should be taken for granted. The track and staff deserve very high marks. The three-day GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma held from September 1618 combined the best of open wheel and sportscar racing. The headline IndyCar series finished its season and crowned its champion during the weekend while the Pirelli World Challenge series ran two races on both Saturday and Sunday with several different classes of cars. The IndyCars feature the familiar open wheel pure-bred racing car while the Pirelli World Challenge series features sports cars based on road models including a wide range of marques such as McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche, Acura, Bentley, Cadillac, Aston Martin and even a Mercedes AMG SLS. An additional supporting openwheel series added to ensure that fans were treated to constant action on the track. The Indycar race served to mostly emphasize Simon Pagenaud’s dominance in his Team Penske ride. He claimed pole position in qualifying and won the race en route to formally picking up the season championship crown. While he was clearly the class of the 22 car field and led the most laps, there were many battles behind. Graham Rahal and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the podium positions at the finish. The Pirelli World Challenge races provided drama of their own. Johnny O’Connell claimed the winner trophies for both of the GT headline class races during the weekend in his red Cadillac ATSV.R. The Saturday race Page | 36


saw the veteran stalk young Austin Cindric’s blue McLaren for the closing stages and dive to the inside of Turn 7 to take the lead and the win on the very last lap. The winning margin was considerably wider on Sunday. O’Connell started third, but quickly sliced his way to the lead as a McLaren ended up spinning mid-way through the opening lap ending its day and resulting in damage for others. O’Connell disappeared and claimed the win with a margin in excess of 11 seconds. The sole Mercedes representative in the field, the DIME Racing AMG SLS finished 13th in class and 19th overall on Saturday after a spin at the start going into the first turn put driver Jonathan Summerton at an immediate disadvantage. He recovered to record an 8th place finish overall and in class on Sunday. The DIME Racing team struggled through drama at the beginning of the weekend. The car was damaged earlier in the year and the resulting repair was the subject of concern from driver Frankie Montecalvo. A new chassis had apparently been ordered but did not materialize and Montecalvo was concerned about the repair process and certification by Mercedes. The matter culminated on Friday morning when Montecalvo arrived at the track, found the situation The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


still unresolved and withdrew from the race and the rest of the season. DIME Racing arranged for Jonathan Summerton to take the wheel for the Sonoma weekend but ended up skipping the subsequent round and season finale at Laguna Seca. The successor to the SLS GT3 race car, the AMG GT3, has been very successful in the 2016 season outside the United States and is expected to have a very visible presence in the states in 2017. The car is expected to be eligible for both the Pirelli World Challenge series and the IMSA series, so the Mercedes faithful should have a three pointed star on the track for which to cheer. One of the features of going to a race is being able to get up close to the drivers and the cars. Fans can walk among the transporters and paddock areas and there are usually autograph sessions to ensure the spectator can take home a signature or photo as a souvenir. While the Indycar paddock may require an additional pass and has a touch more formality

about

it,

the

sportscar paddock is open and

accessible.

Remember that you’re in the

workplace

drivers

and

of

the

crews

but

usually teams are very happy to let you get up close for a look and take all the photos you like. It is particularly heartening to see teams making sure the younger fans get a special tour or even get to sit behind the wheel. The crowd covers the range of ages, genders and groupings. The presence of Giants and 49ers hats and shirts is evidence of the local pull from the greater San Francisco area. Groups of friends, families, parents with kids, teenagers and grizzled racing veterans – they’re all there. The Indycar event draws a reasonable crowd but less than the NASCAR event earlier in the year. If you want more freedom to wander the track and take in the action from different seats and spots at the venue, the Indycar race is for you.

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Planning a visit? The September race takes place in the midst of harvest, so it is easy to combine a weekend at the racetrack with a visit to local wineries busy bringing in the grapes. While the mornings are chilly and can be foggy, one potential drawback is that September can be warm when the fog burs off which can put a premium on water and shade. Another challenge can be finding lodging given the demand from other visitors to wine country for harvest. Hotels can be pricey and a selection near the track can be limited. As with any travel, fortune favors those that plan ahead. With airports in San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Rosa and frequent flights up and down throughout the southwestern United States, getting to Sonoma Raceway is relatively easy. Those that live in the Los Angeles area have a dr ive of about 6 hours (with the usual caveats of construction, traffic and starting point) which makes both driving or flying viable options. Sonoma Raceway is only 20 minutes from the charming downtown Sonoma town square. It is also situated in the Carneros micro-region which is famous for the early morning fog that helps to cool grapes which is optimal for pinot noir and chardonnay. The region is also well known for

sparkling

wine

(or

champagne if you prefer the French version).

If you’re more inclined to Napa, the racetrack is

only a half an hour to downtown Napa. The towns of San Rafael, Navato and Petaluma strung along Route 101 are all within easy reach and provide dining and lodging opportunities. Dates for 2017 are set – NASCAR visits in June, NHRA visits in July and Indycar/Pirelli World Challenge visits in September. Details on these and other events are available at the track’s website – www.SonomaRaceway.com.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


ercedes-Benz has a new E-Class coupe in the works. The early artist drawings were beautiful, but most felt they were conjecture based on an artist’s desires. We’ve received spy shots from our friends at Mercedes Enthusiast and these are the real thing. As was the case with the CLK-Class, the current 207 E-Coupe was partially based on a C-Class. We’re told the new E coupe will have its own underpinnings, but that doesn’t mean some 205 parts won’t find their way in. These prototype photos look like they’re production ready cars wrapped in camouflage. The psychotic wrap gives us enough of a view to see this is going to be a looker. One thing that stands out is there will be a lot less in the area of side creases. Page | 40


Although the new interior isn’t shown, it will receive the long awaited upgrades. This will bring the new coupe’s dash and console more in line with the rest of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. U.S. spec engine offerings weren’t available at press time, but there is a new inline six in development. We’ll have to wait and see if the new six is launched in time for the new coupe.

Article Jay Pill Photos courtesy Mercedes Enthusiast

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


AMG bypassed the 207, but that won’t be the case for the new model. Mercedes product manager Gerd Junginger admitted not having an AMG version of the 207 was mistake. He said that more than three years ago and nothing has come out of Affalterbach to reverse that statement. It’s possible the new E Coupe could make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show. If not, we can expect the grand entrance to occur two months later in Geneva.

Although this early rendition caught the attention of many early on, the real car is a bit longer and wider. The drawing looks smaller than a C-Class coupe. The E’s rear passengers may appreciate the real car’s headroom and not being wedged between the driveshaft tunnel and the door. Page | 42


The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Article Kevin Ehrlich | photos courtesy Mercedes-Benz

A

s the Formula One season emerged from its summer break, Mercedes hoped to put the inter-squad disputes for track space between their drivers behind them and make the move to wrapping up the manufacturers and driver titles. The Mercedes AMG driver duo of Nico Page | 44


Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were clearly running in a class of their own with others like Red Bull and Ferrari trying to make inroads where possible.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


The Mercedes AMG F1 team comfortably wrapped up the team title, but the chase for the driver title went down to the last laps of the last race in Abu Dhabi.

While Hamilton won the race,

Rosberg kept close and was able to claim the title. Mercedes AMG was dominant. Over the course of the 21-race season, Mercedes AMG only failed to win pole position once – in Monaco. Hamilton won 10 races, Rosberg 9 races and the two Red Bull drivers split the remaining two races. Here is how the run to the season title unfolded. Spa Francorchamps, Belgium The first port of call out of the summer break was the natural terrain road course of Spa Francorchamps in the southeastern corner of Belgium that is home to the Ardennes forest. At 4.3 miles in length, the track is fast and a driver favorite. The weather can be unpredictable but good weather coupled with Dutch enthusiasm for rookie Max Verstappen produced an enormous crowd for the race. Nico Rosberg took pole by a slim margin over Red Bull and Ferrari while Hamilton went through a sequence of multiple engine changes. Formula One targets engines to run multiple races and imposes a penalty once teams start to change beyond a permitted number of engines. Hamilton’s engine woes earlier in the season meant that he would incur penalties at some point. Once it became clear penalties were inevitable, the team cycled through multiple engines during the weekend – taking a penalty for each change. Once situated at the back of the grid, additional grid penalties would be meaningless, so the team opted to change engines and take penalties in the one race rather than adversely impact future races. It is a clever read of the rules and fully legal, but also created odd incentives and a lot of work for the mechanics. Rosberg converted his pole position into his 20th career Formula One win, but the story would be Hamilton’s comeback drive. He finished 3rd after starting 21st through a combination of his own Page | 46


passing and retirements of other cars caught up in incidents. The race stopped briefly for barrier repair after huge accident for Kevin Magnussen in the Renault at the top of the very fast Eau Rouge corner. While it was a spectacular crash that shredded the car and deformed the barrier, Magnussen fortunately suffered nothing more than a bruised ankle. The strong recovery drive for Hamilton deprived Rosberg for what could have been a golden opportunity to make material ground in the points.

While Rosberg had a perfect weekend,

Hamilton left Spa holding on to a 9-point championship lead. Monza, Italy Monza is one of the host historic tracks of the Formula One calendar and one of the fastest. Situated in a leafy park north and east of Milan, the track is unapologetically several long straights stitched together with modest corners. The location in Italy means that the Ferrari fans come out in force. The Mercedes AMG power advantage shone through as Hamilton and Rosberg were clearly fastest in practice. Hamilton dominated qualifying, claiming pole with almost a half a second gap over Rosberg with the two Ferraris next in line. At the start, Hamilton bogged down and dropped to sixth. He worked his way back up to within 15 seconds of Rosberg to finish second, but Rosberg was never seriously challenged for the win. With Rosberg’s success, Hamilton’s championship lead shrunk to two points. Starts have been a weak spot for the Mercedes team, hobbling both Rosberg and Hamilton at different times during the 2016 season. The clutch was believed to be the source of the issue but Hamilton said after Monza that there was no quick fix. He said the problem was irregular which made it difficult to solve. While Monza was on the race calendar, September saw a growing amount of chatter looking forward. With new regulations taking effect in 2017, most of the teams have turned their energy The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


to designing cars for next season. Pirelli as the sole tire supplier has been doing the same as well. Mercedes got its first laps on 2017 tires at a test at Paul Ricard in France with driver Pascal Wehrlein running a modified 2015 car with materially more downforce than the 2016 versions. Away from the track, the rights to control Formula One were sold to Liberty Media in a multibillion-dollar deal. Interestingly, Liberty Media has deep American roots with holdings ranging from Time Warner and Viacom to the Atlanta Braves. Formula One finances are sufficiently opaque and complex to preclude a broader discussion of the details and implications, but it will be interesting to see if the relationship between the teams and those that own the commercial and business side of Formula One changes going forward. Singapore Across the world from Italy, the series moved to the very tight and twisty street course in Singapore. The Singapore event is one of the newer races on the Formula One calendar starting in 2008, but the night racing format is quite unique and provides all manner of visual lighting opportunities to enhance the glamor and excitement. Both Mercedes drivers showed speed in practice but Rosberg had a minor touch with the wall and suffered brake issues while Hamilton had his second practice cut short with hydraulic issues and also encountered braking issues. Hamilton’s issues cost valuable track time that haunted him through the weekend. Rosberg set the pole position time, comfortably outrunning Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull while Hamilton settled for third after continued to be hampered with braking problems. Braking issues challenged both Hamilton and Rosberg during the night race under the lights, but the weekend was flawless for Rosberg. Team Boss Toto Wolff said it was the best performance throughout a weekend for Rosberg that he had ever seen. Rosberg lead from pole and controlled the race, holding off a charging Ricciardo in the Red Bull at the checkered flag as Rosberg managed his brakes. Rosberg’s dominant win was the third in a row and gave him an 8-point gap over Hamilton. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Once again, both Mercedes drivers were the class of the field in practice at the 3.4-mile track near Kuala Lumpur, the national capital of Malaysia, but practice doesn’t pay the points. Hamilton Page | 48


appeared to reverse his poor recent fortune with a dominant qualifying position while Rosberg struggled a bit but still edged the two Red Bull cars of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. During the race, it was Rosberg’s turn for a recovery drive after contact with Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari in the first turn resulted in a spin and put him back in the field. He recovered to finish third and extend his points lead over Hamilton who was dominating the race when his engine failed with 15 laps remaining. Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull won the race, earning his only win for the year and one of only two wins during the entire 2016 season for any team other than Mercedes AMG. The failure was terribly dispiriting for Hamilton who expressed frustration and wonderment why his engines appeared to have failed more than others during the season. For its part, team boss Toto Wolf vowed to leave no stone unturned to find the source and prevent further engine failures. The team said later that the problem was a bearing in the crankshaft that was preceded by a loss of oil pressure which is specific enough to provide something for a press release but vague enough to keep specifics within the team. Suzuka, Japan Remaining in the Pacific-Asia region, the next round took place at Suzuka in Japan. Rosberg ran at the head of the field for all the practice sessions before barely edging Hamilton in qualifying for the pole.

Toto Wolff confirmed after qualifying that the team had been a bit more conservative

with the Mercedes engines to avoid more failures (which must come as little comfort when the more conservative engines are still sufficient to power the team to a sweep of the front row in qualifying). The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Rosberg again dominated the race, winning from pole with a 5 second gap at the checkered flag to increase his points lead to 33. Hamilton again had a poor start, slipped back to eighth, and spent the rest of the race recovering back up the field to finish third. Hamilton was unable to pass Max Verstappen in the Red Bull for second, but the dice with Verstappen was heated and generated post-race discussion on whether his tactics were fair or pushed the limits of blocking too far. Beyond the track, the media headlines also revolved around Hamilton’s lack of interest in participating in the mandatory press conferences. Certainly frustrated by the reliability issues and tired of answering the same questions, Hamilton directed media members to his social media accounts rather than answer questions and sent out photos of himself adorned with bunny ears during the press conference. Apparently, social media bunny ears are what passes for controversy and driver news in modern-day Formula One (end editorial comment). The first and third place finishes were enough to clinch the manufacturer’s championship for Mercedes AMG. While much of the media attention focuses on individual drivers and the drivers’ title, the teams value the constructors title for a wide range for business, economic and reputation reasons.

Drivers may come and go, but constructor championships cement a legacy for the

marque which is the ultimate priority. attention,

Drivers may get the but

they

are

employees of the team. Austin, Texas The weather in Austin, Texas for Formula One’s only stop in the United States was beautiful – far better than the 2015 rainstorms. The racing didn’t offer much in the way of drama and Hamilton continued to gradually close the Page | 50


points gap to Rosberg. Hamilton again claimed pole and the win while Rosberg completed the Mercedes 1-2. The result was a bit deceptive, however, as Daniel Ricciardo arguably had a second place run interrupted by a safety period caused by the gearbox failure of Max Verstappen, his teammate. The timing hurt Ricciardo and Rosberg was happy to take second place points. Mexico City At Mexico City, Rosberg had a chance to clinch the championship but Hamilton built on his momentum with another dominant weekend, claiming both pole position and the race win. Rosberg acknowledged what the world could see - that Hamilton was just plain faster. The first corner saw Hamilton lock up his right front wheel and slide off the track, effectively cutting the first two corners. He ended up with a severe vibration from the flat spot produced by sliding the tire across the pavement. Rosberg and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen bumped wheels, sending Rosberg off the track as well. Both arguably gained an advantage but incurred no penalties as wreckage behind them slowed the field and bunched things up. Rosberg spent more time looking behind him as Verstappen kept close.

After

tire strategies played out through a relatively quiet race, fireworks erupted behind Hamilton and Rosberg making the final laps the story of the race rather than the Mercedes 1-2 finish. Verstappen fell away from Rosberg and into the clutches of a charging Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel who was himself being chased by a charging Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull on fresher and grippier tires. Verstappen ran off the track but failed to yield the position to Vettel. Enraged, Vettel stalked Verstappen all the way to the finish. A 5 second penalty to Verstappen moved him behind Vettel cost him third place on the podium. With some bemusement, Hamilton and Rosberg chatted amongst themselves while the drama sorted itself out. Vettel eventually found his way to the podium where he claimed the trophy and sprayed the Champagne – only to be assessed a 10 second penalty by the stewards hours after the race for “erratic” driving behavior in his defense The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


against Ricciardo. While he crossed the line in fifth, the tumult promoted Ricciardo to third which was sufficient for him to clinch third place for the drivers’ championship. The win for Hamilton was his 51st – enough to tie him with legendary driver Alain Prost for second place on the all-time Formula One winner list. Only Michael Schumacher has more at 91 wins. Sao Paulo, Brazil The headline in Brazil was rain. Hamilton earned the pole in dry conditions on Saturday ahead of Rosberg, but heavy rain delayed the race start by ten minutes and caused the first seven laps were run behind the safety car.

The race saw many incidents as the cars struggled for grip.

Hamilton leapt out to an early and significant lead before the race was halted after 20 laps of running due to the wet conditions.

A 35-minute intermission ensued before re-starting when

Hamilton again eased out to a lead. Rookie Max Verstappen took his Red Bull past Nico Rosberg on the restart with an impressive pass. Verstappen’s pace encouraged the team to bring both Red Bull cars into the pits to switch from full wet tires to intermediate tires, but the move was premature and cost valuable track position. Brazilian Filipe Massa crashed his Williams car in his last home race of his Formula One career. An emotional Massa walked in tears with a Brazilian flag saluting the fans as the fans and teams saluted him. His crash brought out a safety car which allowed the Red Bull cars to switch back to full wet tires and set up a 15-lap sprint to the end. While Hamilton and Rosberg took first and second places with little additional drama, Verstappen quickly climbed up the field from 16th to earn a third-place podium

position.

The drive in the wet was

electric

became

the

and main

talking point of the race. Page | 52


The finishing order meant that the driver’s championship was yet undecided and resolution would require one more race. Abu Dhabi Weather would not be an issue in Abu Dhabi, but the race started in the late afternoon and finished under the lights. The points standings coming into the race still tilted to Rosberg’s favor. Hamilton appeared to have the momentum but the argument was whether Rosberg was merely managing the risks rather than pushing the attack. After all, he had the point lead and could afford to put the pressure on Hamilton. Rosberg would win the title if he finished in the top three regardless of Hamilton’s finish. That meant that even if Hamilton won, he needed Rosberg to finish fourth or worse. That situation would drive the key narrative for the race.

Hamilton again edged Rosberg for pole position on Saturday and got a good start on Sunday when the race got underway. He pulled away to a comfortable lead of about 5 seconds before pit stop strategy started to mix up the field. Max Verstappen spun on the first lap and rejoined at the rear, but quickly sliced through much of the field. He stayed out when others made pit stops which placed him right in the midst of the title contenders. While Verstappen extended his first stint, Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari extended his middle stint which meant that he was the last of the front runners to make his final pit. That strategy gave him much fresher and quicker tires for the last 20 laps or so. He made the most of the tires and found himself in fourth in short order. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Meanwhile, Hamilton remained at the head of the field with Rosberg close behind. Was Rosberg faster or Hamilton slower? The stopwatch told the tale – Hamilton was going just fast enough to hold up Rosberg and allow Verstappen and Vettel to catch up and hopefully overtake Rosberg. Despite team orders explicitly instructing Hamilton to pick up the pace, he continued his tactics bringing the top four to within a second of each other and easily in the same camera shot. Vettel got by Verstappen for third, but the German certainly was not going to risk impacting the championship by trying a high-risk pass on Rosberg. Hamilton claimed the race win with Rosberg and Vettel close behind, clinching the driver’s championship for Rosberg. The emotion flowed and a jubilant Rosberg did celebratory donuts on the front stretch and shared energetic hugs and hand-shakes with his team and family. Ironically, Rosberg’s father Keke – himself a world champion in 1982 – opted to watch the race from Dubai rather than being a distraction at the track. He made the short drive after the race and the family was able to celebrate together.

Page | 54


Nico Rosberg entered Formula One in 2006 with the Williams team. Ten years later, as a 31-year old husband and father, earned his first world championship.

Spectators will debate whether

Rosberg has the outright pace of Hamilton but Rosberg carefully managed each battle to ensure he could win the war.

Looking Ahead Both Rosberg and Hamilton benefitted from Mercedes AMG machinery – clearly the best car of the field.

With Hamilton’s 2014 and 2015 titles, Rosberg’s 2016 title makes it three driver’s

championships in a row to go along with the three constructor’s championships.

That degree of

dominance is impressive in such a competitive environment. 2017 will bring rules changes and all of the teams have begun their work on their 2017 entries many months ago, so it will be interesting to see what a new season brings when the Formula One circus reconvenes in March 2017 in Melbourne. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Page | 56


The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


lder Porsches are not cheap. 356s and every model whose number starts with a nine cost a lot these days. At some point, the same may be true for the liquid-cooled Boxters, Caymans, and 911s that followed. Page | 58


Article Marcus Blair Fitzhugh | photos courtesy of Porsche

Like most other expensive older cars, there’s a restoration market for older Porsches. Similarly to what Mercedes-Benz has done with their Classic Centers in Fellbach Germany and Irvine California, the folks at Stuttgart have opened the Porsche Classic Center. The first Porsche Classic The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Center was opened in the Netherlands. Like Mercedes-Benz, the Porsche Classic Center is a fullservice shop that performs maintenance and any level of restoration the customer can afford. Both service and restoration work are performed using Porsche original parts.

If that sounds

expensive, it is. As an ex-Porsche owner, I can tell you many shops are happy to take on a job. They see a Porsche owner as someone with deep pockets, so whether the shop is qualified or not, they believe they can make a profit. That’s not the type of “service” most owners are looking for. Unlike Mercedes-Benz who appears satisfied with two Classic Centers, Porsche wants to work with dealers and make 100 Classic Centers. Those Porsche Classic Centers will have separate dedicated floor space with older Porsche specific tools, paint bays, and a staff that is acutely aware of the nuances associated with older Porsches. This is far beyond what a local dealer can offer. These new factory backed shops will allow classic Porsche owners to stop guessing whether their car will be properly repaired and concentrate on the weightier issue of paying for it. Currently, there is the one Porsche Classic Center in Holland. Here in the U.S., we’re scheduled to get two stores. One will be at Porsche’s Atlanta headquarters and the other will be at the Porsche Experience Center in Carson, California. According to Porsche, 70 percent of the cars they’ve built are still on the road. If that’s true, Classic Centers should fill a much needed demand.

Page | 60


The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Article Kevin Ehrlich | photos Kevin Ehrich and Mary Fischer

ucked among a non-descript collection of industrial buildings not far from the Philadelphia Airport sits a collection of some of the most racing significant automobiles in history. The Simeone Foundation Collection is the culmination of a lifetime of shrewd collecting spearheaded by Dr. Fred Simeone, a neurosurgeon by profession. Collections of any kind reflect the vision of the architect, but visit the website for the Foundation and read the commentary that Page | 62


Dr. Simeone provides to get a sense of the individual engagement with each car.

He not only includes a

history of the model and what makes it

noteworthy,

but

he

includes

personal recollections of what made the car special to him and the logistics of obtaining the car. In many cases, he had a very specific car in mind and worked persistently to obtain it. He tells tales of trades organized,

in

some

cases

with

multiple parties involved. He tells of reluctantly trading a car away only to re-acquire it later. Many of the cars were acquired before the car collecting market took hold in the 1990s and inflated values to the stratosphere.

Dr. Simeone

tells of acquiring a Mercedes 300SL gullwing after seeing an ad in The New York Times in 1970. That alone should indicate how long he has been building his collection and the vision involved to recognize the significance and novelty of each car long before they turned into unobtainium.

In

fact, he kept cars in an unmarked personal

garage

for

years

in

downtown Philadelphia before finally making the move to a larger facility and organizing the foundation in 2008. What kind of cars? Winners of LeMans, Mille Miglia, and the Nßrburgring and competitors at many other tracks. Marques cover the range from Mercedes, Porsche, Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Corvette, Alfa Romeo, Delahaye, Jaguar, BMW and Bugatti – and more. remaining example. Others had production runs in the single digits. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events

Some are the sole


Many cars in the collection originate from the 1920s and 1930s as auto racing was reaching widescale popularity and tracks and marques that became legend were earning their place in history. Others come from the 1950s and 1960s as technology and design were making their own history. Other time periods are scattered throughout but most cars on display were built before the mid1970s. Dr. Simeone clearly has an affection for race cars in particular, but also has an appreciation of the time and place that made each famous. Enormous murals, victory wreaths, flags and pit lane facades help to provide the context. There are a handful of road cars in the collection but they mostly have some racing

connection

via the marque and time period. The facility is a fairly simple warehouse with concrete floors and high ceilings, but focused dioramas placed around the perimeter. The displays have a theme and each car has an explanatory plaque. Hay bales, low rows of tires, and guardrails set the displays apart and border each display. The collection comprises about 70 cars, with a few significant cars on loan from generous friends. The center of the space is a flexible open space that commonly accommodates events, whether they be car-related or fund-raisers for other causes. If you’re in the Philadelphia area and looking for a place to host your event, they would surely entertain your inquiry. All of the cars in the collection are runners. They are mechanically maintained and run around the large parking lot behind the building when the Foundation hosts “Demo Days� featuring three or four cars with a common theme.

Page | 64


The cars are all thoughtfully preserved – they are not over-restored. Some cars led very active lives and then were hidden away in barns and garages. paintwork have been retained.

The cracks in the seat leather and

Originality and patina are retained wherever possible.

The Foundation has a shop on-site for most regular maintenance but uses outside expertise when needed. On our visit, a disassembled engine from a silver 1955 Mercedes 300SL lay on a working table in the shop in the process of a rebuild. A shiny crankshaft sat next to a line of valves and springs and an injector that looked every part the representative example of German engineering. The shop is a workplace and not usually open for visitors, but Dr. Simeone clearly was enthused about the mechanical aspects (and a bit embarrassed about the low miles accumulated under his stewardship) and wanted to make sure the 300SL engine got attention on our visit.

The silver roadgoing 300SL (sans engine) was on display, but stripped of its bumpers to give a sense of what it would have looked like if prepared for racing in period. The effect is remarkable and really transforms the look of the car, bringing out the beauty of the lines. While the 300SL made its mark in the mid-1950s and the Foundation has two fine examples, another Mercedes Benz in the collection is even more significant. In 1927, the companies of Mercedes and Benz combined.

In the same year, the legendary

Nürburgring in Germany opened and the first German Grand Prix was held. Eight examples of the 1927 Mercedes Benz Sportwagen were produced. One car won the first German Grand Prix in 1927 at the Nürburgring driven by Otto Merz. The winning car and the only intact survivor of the eight built sits in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Collection. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Its supercharged in-line 6-cylinder engine produced 180 horsepower to propel its 4170-pound aluminum body on a steel frame. It is a very long car with a wheelbase of 140 inches, the usual long front hood of the day, and four seats. The engine and chassis were designed by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche who would go on to found the company that made its own automotive history. The three-pointed star appears in several different places on the car, but two stars without the circular outside ring we are familiar with are shown on the top of the front radiator. The badge difference is likely evidence of a young company still working out what its logo should be. Merz took almost 5 hours to run the 18 laps and recorded the win with a three minute margin, helping to put both Mercedes Benz and the Nürburgring on the racing map. Apparently seven models of the 21 race starters were Mercedes Benz cars which shows how seriously the newly combined company was taking the event. Ironically, driver Otto Merz was a chauffeur in the motorcade when Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo to trigger World War I in 1914. Somehow, Merz managed to survive both the assassination and racing at the Nürburgring but died later in a practice accident in heavy rain at Avus (near Berlin) in 1933. The 1927 Mercedes sits in a display of other major race winners. One is the 1936 Bugatti 57G “Tank” - the only remaining of three built. The unique shape gives the car its nickname and the car won the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1937. The glorious red 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B that won the 1938 Mille Miglia sits in the center of the room. One of only four built, it is a rare and beautiful car and Dr. Simeone coordinated a restoration and took it to run the Mille Miglia event again in 1986. The car is unapologetically Dr. Simeone’s favorite of the collection. Another winner is the 1952 Cunningham C-4R which was the vision of Briggs Cunningham, one of the keys to the growth of auto racing in America. Only three examples of the C-4R were built and the Foundation’s example won its class in the 1954 24 Hours of LeMans and finished third overall. A 1958 Aston Martin DBR1 sits alongside that carried Sterling Moss and Jack Brabham to victory at the Nürburgring, among other racing history. It is only one of four built. At some point, the breadth of the collection is difficult to grasp. Any one of the cars would be a featured attraction at almost any other museum, concours or vintage race. With the current attention around the Ford GT and its return to LeMans and retail market, the Foundation’s pair of Ford GT40 examples earns their share of Page | 66


attention. A yellow GT40 (chassis XGT1) ran at LeMans in 1966 before retiring 5 hours into the event with clutch problems. Sister GT40 cars swept the podium that year making a historic finish for Ford. A deep blue 1967 Ford GT40 with a more streamlined body (chassis J8) sits alongside the yellow car. It tied the mark for the fastest lap speed that year. Ironically, the 1967 Ford GT40 held its share of the fastest lap at LeMans until it was broken in 1970 by another car that now sits just across the room – the 1970 Porsche 917LH (chassis 043).

The so called

“Hippie” car - due to its swirling green, white and purple livery – is one of the most iconic Porsche racing cars and finished second at LeMans in 1970. The “LH” designation is the German term for Langheck – or long tail – to describe the long and curvy aerodynamic bodywork. The Porsche 917 is the clear fan favorite of the collection. At any Demo Day the Museum holds where the fans pick which cars run, the 917 is always at the top of the list. Walking down the line-up from the Porsche 917 is a march through road racing history. A white 1959 Ferrari 250GT “Interim” Berlinetta (one of seven made) sits next to a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa (one of 21 made) and a 1954 Ferrari 375MM (one of twelve made). Any of the three would highlight any other collection and each would break most people’s piggy banks. A 1936 Delahaye that placed second to the Bugatti “Tank” car at the 1936 French Grand Prix and won LeMans in 1938?

If that wasn’t enough, it was

rebodied and run at LeMans from 1949-1951 as well. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


British fans might enjoy seeing a 1934 MG K3 that won its class and finished fourth overall at LeMans before finding success at the Mille Miglia in Italy. How about one of two 1936 Aston Martins made specifically for LeMans that year but was unable to run when the race was cancelled? A pair of silver Jaguars – a 1953 C-type and a 1956 D-type - both raced in America in period at places like Sebring sit together. If American racing history is more to your taste, walk across the room and see one of five 1962 Corvette Grand Sports (chassis 002) or one of six 1964 Cobra Daytona Coupes (CSX2287). There is too much history surrounding either one of them to contain in one sentence or one paragraph. Books have been written about each and the stories comprise the stuff of racing legend – not to mention the twists of ownership history over the decades. As with the other cars in the collection, both are preserved to maintain their originality. Regrettably, this modest attempt at describing the collection will do no justice to any particular car or the decades of cultivation required to develop the collection. The only solution is to find your own way to Philadelphia for a visit. Before you go, spend some time on the Foundation’s website reading about the cars and the history so that you’ll have a greater appreciation of your experience. Check the calendar for a list of Demo Days to see the themes and hear and see the featured cars in motion or visit on a quiet weekday when you’ll likely have a fairly private visit. Thanks to Dr. Fred Simeone, Kevin Kelly (curator and head mechanic) and volunteer “Shiny” Bob for their hospitality and assistance. The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum only a short drive from the Philadelphia Airport. Visitor information is available on the website at www.SimeoneFoundation.com.

Page | 68


The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


M B E N Z S

Article Marcus B Fitzhugh | photos MBenz Society

e all hear variations on the same offer - this is great, your life will be wonderful, just sign here. Much of what we’re offered is worthless. At the Southwest Star, we hear about a fair number of car meets. We stumbled into an MBenz Society meet a while back and noticed they had a very good turnout. We’ve all attended hit or miss events; 50 people at one meet and 2 at the next fifteen alleged gatherings. With that in mind, we thought we’d attend a few more meets before swigging any Kool-Aid. Well, we’ve attended several MBenz Society meets and they’ve all been outstanding. Our question is, how are these guys pulling this off? We sat down with three of the four founders to find out more. The three founders we spoke to, Josh, Yousuf, and Brennan, are naturally, car guys. In June of 2015 they decided to form their Page | 70


O C I E T Y

own group because they had different ideas about the car club scene. Based on the turnout, these different ideas are working. Although they’ve only been around for 18 months, you’d never know it. They organize and execute meets like they’ve been doing this for 10 years. In a word, they’re methodical. I understand the methodical process; think things through and cover all the bases. What I don’t know is how they come up with their ideas in the first place. One of the founders filled me in. MBenz Society doesn’t simply mimic what they see locally. They look at what other car clubs are doing around the world, and then consider whether that type of event would work in SoCal. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Rooftop meets are a good example. Despite the fact they were invented in Japan, MBenz Society runs them flawlessly. If you’re wondering “how hard could a rooftop meet be?”, think about all the things that could go wrong. Who’s rooftop? Is it open? When will it be empty? Will you get locked in? Do you have permission to be there? What happens if the police show up? MBenz Society held a rooftop meet last month and forty-seven cars rolled in. If at least half the cars have more than one person, that’s about 70 people. Another big difference between MBenz Society and others is they don’t charge to be a member. If there’s a fee involved for a particular event, the member pays their own fee. However, many events are free. It’s true, you can negotiate a lower rate for things like K1 if you call in advance and say “Me and fifty of my friends were thinking of stopping by, what’s the group discount?” However, if everyone simply says “I’m with MBenz Society” and pays at the door, K1 is just as happy.

This eliminates the need for someone to hold the lunch money on the field trip.

I

understand why some clubs require RSVPs and money in advance. It’s because sometimes people flake and there aren’t enough bodies to hold the event. This is another item that separates MBenz Society from others; so many people show up at their meets, that it doesn’t matter if some flake. Page | 72


For those wondering how are these events are publicized, it’s like we said back on page nine; smartphones, tablets, and other digital devices from this century. MBenz Society primary uses Instagram. Instagram allows MBenz Society to post a meet and have their 7800+ followers know about it. Some quick-witted math majors may be thinking “70 people is less than 1%.” That’s true, but if 10% show, that presents a different issue – like where I’m supposed to park. Joining MBenz Society is simple. Just go to Instagram and follow MBenzSociety. Next, attend a couple of events. After you’re comfortable, DM them and join. When you attend one of their events you can relax. This isn’t a bunch of juveniles burning rubber and begging the police to arrest everyone in sight. You’ll attend a well-organized gathering of friends. What kind of meets do they have? Aside from the informal gatherings that occur at least once a month, there are several annual events that are on the calendar. Some examples are their anniversary meet where they celebrate another year of togetherness, the BBQ at Irvine Regional Park, SoCal Euro, and at least one get together at the Long Beach Mercedes-Benz Prep Center. Lastly, those of you who don’t live in SoCal aren’t completely left out in the cold. I said I met with three of the founders. The fourth founder moved to NorCal where he’s started another chapter.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


he long-awaited announcement of the AMG GT3’s racing debut finally arrived at the LA Auto Show in November. Several cars will be run by customer teams in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) series in 2017 which includes the most well-known tracks and events the United States. Three customer cars were delivered in October and ran shakedown laps in private tests at Carolina Motorsport Park and Daytona International Speedway. All three are planning full-season runs in the IMSA series. Page | 76


Article Kevin Ehrlich | photos CRP Racing and Brian Clearly/BCPix.com

Riley Motorsports will spearhead efforts for two of the cars. One car will run as WeatherTech Racing with drivers Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette. That team is making the switch from Porsche 911 platform to the AMG GT3. Another car will run as Riley Motorsports with Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen behind the wheel. Keating is best known for operating a large Dodge Viper dealership and running Viper race cars in IMSA and deserves huge kudos for his support of sportscar racing in the US. Keating, Bleekemolen and Marc Miller combined to win the last IMA race of the 2016 season in their class at the 10 hour Petit LeMans race at Road Atlanta, giving their Viper a proper final outing. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


The return to the “car with the star” for Bleekemolen is a homecoming of sorts. The Dutchman has an extensive history running Mercedes SLS race cars in Europe, including a big overall win at the 2013 Nürburgring 24 Hours. Another AMG GT3 will be run for the IMSA season for SunEnergy1 Racing by owner/driver Kenny Habul who will mix and match driving duties with Tristian Vautier and Boris Said. The trio ran together in the 2016 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in an Audi R8, but this will be their first season-long effort. The white Riley Motorsports #33 car with green and black trim was shipped to the LA Auto Show for display to accompany the announcement. Rumors continue to circulate that there could be other AMG GT3 entries from beyond the US that join for some of the 2017 endurance races, such as the Daytona 24 Hours. If those materialize, the AMG GT3 grid at Daytona could be quite robust! The AMG GT3 will run in the GTD class in IMSA racing which means it will compete directly with Ferrari, BMW, Acura, Lexus, Lamborghini, Porsche and Audi. Meanwhile, the Pirelli World Challenge series will Mercedes presence with CRP Racing announcing a move from its former Audi R8 platform to the new AMG GT3 and world-class driver Ryan Dalziel. The Pirelli World Challenge series features more sprint formats – often with two separate races over a weekend – and frequently runs alongside the Indycar series. DIME Racing based in Huntington Beach has been running in the Pirelli World Challenge series with its SLS GT3 car as the sole Mercedes runner in 2016. DIME Racing had announced Page | 78


plans to run an AMG GT3 of its own, but it is unclear whether that will materialize for the 2017 season. The planning for Mercedes AMG’s US racing effort has been a yearin the making. For example, to support the growing AMG GT3 customer effort, Multimatic Motorsports will assist with a homebase in Moorseville, North Carolina and dedicated track-side support at each race. Want to buy your own AMG GT3? The car alone carries a price tag of around $400,000, but includes ongoing support. In some cases, Mercedes AMG may also make one of its factory drivers available to join a customer team as a co-driver. This is especially likely for the longer endurance races.

When the Mercedes factory first launched the SLS racing program, its philosophy was to

sell the car and leave the teams to handle the task of racing on their own.

Over time, that

philosophy changed and the degree of support and engagement has increased considerably. After all, success for teams is good for everyone and helps Mercedes to sell more race cars. With the introduction of the new AMG GT3 race car at the Nürburgring in July 2015, fans, teams and drivers in the US have patiently awaited their turn with the new car. The car has proven itself in major races such as the podium sweep victory at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring and US customers and fans will be able to make their own history very soon. The IMSA season kicks off in earnest with the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on January 28-29. The Pirelli World Challenge season starts on March 11-12 in St. Petersburg.

Start

making your plans now to visit the race track to see the Mercedes AMG marque in action! The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


G

.

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


ust about the time summer started slowly easing into fall, Big SoCal Euro rolled into town. This is the longest running, largest European car event on the west coast and the only thing that surprises me more than the enormity of the event is – how many people don’t know it exists. It’s been running for fifteen years and this is the tenth year at Qualcomm Stadium. This year, four thousand cars rolled in. How could anyone possibly miss four thousand European cars all headed in the same direction? Big SoCal Euro was on Sunday, September 4th - part of the Labor Day weekend. For those who weren’t at SoCal Euro, what did you do instead? Did you stay home and BBQ with the family? You should have barbequed on Saturday or Monday. Besides, if you really like the family, you would have taken them to Qualcomm. Don’t say you went to the beach. Page | 82


Article Marcus B Fitzhugh

If so, how? Beach parking lots are full on Labor Day weekend. I’m guessing you really parked miles from the water and walked to the beach, only to find every inch of sand was jam packed. If you stayed home and mowed the lawn, I’ve got a newsflash for you – it’s just going to grow back. Next year, get in your car and hit Big SoCal Euro. Those that didn’t attend obviously know nothing about SoCal Euro, so here’s a little history. Back in 2001, two guys named Lon Mok and Paul Chan used web forums to organize events. They held a big event in San Luis Obispo, California, and ran out of room. They moved it to the Earl Warren Fairgrounds in Santa Barbara, California, and ran out of room there too. Next, they moved to Primedia Magazine’s facility in Orange County. Yep, they ran out of room there too. They moved back north to the Ventura County for one year, and then settled at Qualcomm. Qualcomm has The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


over 19,000 parking spaces, so unless someone gets us tossed out, it looks like we’ll be there a while. Please note, if someone does get us tossed, several thousand people will make it their life’s work to hunt you down and reenact everything you saw in Deadpool. Everything except for the sex scenes. Well, maybe that too, but trust me, it won’t be pleasant.

So what happens at Big SoCal Euro? For openers, there’s drag racing. Not street racing, which will get you killed or arrested, but completely legal drag racing. Part of the parking lot is blocked off, a Christmas tree is installed along with some timing equipment, and people go head to head in 1/8 mile passes.

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There are also endless raffles for things like ECU flashes, suspension kits, apparel, tires, wheels, detailing products, K1 gift certificates, etc. Those who can’t seem to win anything can buy from the vendors on site. We counted over 50 vendors, and everything was on sale. There are DJs, countless girls in their best “take my photo” outfits, and plenty of food, but the best part is the cars. It was an endless supply of custom everything. Those owners who weren’t off looking at other cars were willing to answer questions and talk about theirs. Best car? I can’t say. The vehicles covered the entire European spectrum, so how can “one” be the “best”? I can say, if you’ve thought about it, it was there. Aside from Mercedes, there were Alfas, Audis, Bentleys, BMWs, Ferraris, Fiats, Jags, Lotus, Minis, Lambos, Porsches, Land Rovers, Saabs, Volkswagens, and Volvos.

If that’s not enough, in addition to sportbikes there were

Japanese, American, Korean, and Russian marques in attendance. These weren’t the pedestrian marques usually found in Walmart parking lots. This was crème de la crème. If you don’t believe me, just show up next year and try not to drool like you’ve missed the last 15 years.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


isneyland is the happiest place on earth. If you’re 5. If you’re an adult, you may find happiness 25 miles to the west at the Porsche Experience Center. We’ve been in anticipation of the new facility since it was announced in 2011, and we’re glad it’s finally Page | 86


here. The new Porsche Experience Center (PEC LA) sits on 53 acres in Carson, California and officially opened to the public in mid-November. As one of only five such sites world-wide, it is an indication of the importance of the Southern California market to Porsche.

Visitors will see display areas, a look into the working area for Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA), a bistro with sandwiches and pastries called the Speedster Cafe, a more formal restaurant in the second level called Restaurant 917, and a shopping boutique. For potential buyers, the Fitting Lounge offers a look at the wide range of Porsche options, custom colors Article Kevin Ehrlich | photos Mary Fischer

and anything else

personalized your checkbook can support. In addition to conference and meeting rooms, the facility also has a Human Performance Center which will be used to test and train drivers who pilot the Porsche race cars in competition. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


The main event, however, is the patchwork of tracks, roads, and driving features that really have our attention. The many tracks include a course that mimics a country road, an ice hill with a 7% slope and water jets, a low friction circle made of polished

concrete and when wet induces

oversteer at all speeds, an off-road course with 40 degree declines and ascents, and what’s sure to be a favorite – the acceleration straight. The acceleration straight affords an environment where Porsche launch control can be fully explored, but there’s added twist: at the end of the ¾ mile straight is a replica of the Kaurussell – the famous banked curve on the North Loop of the Nürburgring. On our visit, there were about 25 road cars either being used or awaiting use for the various customer experiences. The approach is to let the customer combine the car of their choice with the experience of their choice. As you might imagine, the price tag varies and you won’t be taking the 911 on the off-road course, but there are some interesting alternatives.

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Want to compare the 911 in two and four-wheel drive formats? How about contrast the 911 Turbo with the 911 GT3?

How about sampling the mid-engine Cayman back-to-back with the rear-

engine 911? Want to focus on the Cayman GT4 or the Panamera four door sedan? There is even a program for those without prior manual transmission experience. The website currently offers 16 experiences with more to come.

The rear of the facility includes an outdoor patio with a variety of couches and tables. The setting is a perfect place to watch people tentatively get into their mounts, depart, and then return with a big smile on their face. Porsche driving instructors are there to either provide coaching or take the wheel themselves. There were plenty of photos being taken of happy customers next to the cars that took them for their experience. Look on the website for the full variety of experiences, but you’ll be doing it in Porsche’s cars rather than your own. Sadly, you cannot bring your own car. The various tracks are also strictly for experiences and driver education. There are no autocross or actual racing events at the facility. Porsche Motorsport North America has been located in Santa Ana for decades, so the ability to move into a larger and newer facility should be a positive change. Notably, PMNA does a lot more than just support current racing efforts.

They have the technical expertise to support older

racecars as well – both those owned by the Porsche factory via the Museum and those owned by private clients. On our visit, the Porsche Experience Center displayed a selection of current road cars including the low-production purist 911R. That wasn’t all though. Across from the 911R was a prototype of the mid-1980s 959 supercar, a 1970 Porsche 917 in famous blue and orange Gulf Racing colors, and a 919 LeMans racer showcar. The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart clearly has generously lent The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


several gems to the Center which will undoubtedly be used for a base to support future historic events as well. Immense glass windows provide a portal into the PMNA workshops. While the workshops are an active work area so spectators can’t walk amongst the cars, the workshop helpfully lined up all of its current residents for easy viewing.

What current residents?

Among others, a Penske RS

Spyder, a 1994 LeMans winning Dauer Porsche prototype, a Lowenbrau sponsored 962 - the most famous racing Porsche in the United States in the mid-1980s, and a 959 rally car (complete with damage incurred in competition and a cautionary sign warning against cleaning the car and losing the original dirt). Any one of those is the stuff of Porsche racing legend.

Unlike Disneyland, there is no charge to visit the Porsche Experience Center. Stop by anytime to check out the cars on display and watch the activity from the rear patio. You don’t need to be a Porsche owner. The boutique and café are there but no purchase is necessary. The location will likely become a common spot for events and is available for rent to private parties as well. The Porsche Experience Center is located in Carson within sight of the intersection of the 405 and 110 freeways and just 14 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Page | 90


The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Article Marcus B. Fitzhugh | photos courtesy Mercedes-Benz & Marcus B Fitzhugh

ercedes-Benz arrived at the LA Auto Show and introduced some cars that are so cool, they almost made us forget about all the new GT’s that were on the floor. Mercedes

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brought the Maybach S 650 Cabriolet, the E63 S, the GLE43, C43 cabrio, the Smart fortwo Edrive, GT C, GT R and the GT3.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Forty-five years ago, the 280SE convertible was discontinued. We didn’t see another open top SClass until Mercedes gave us the 2017 S550 cabriolet. In standard fashion, the 449-horsepower S550 cabrio was joined by a more powerful offering; the 577-horsepower AMG S63 Cabriolet. For those needing more, Mercedes-AMG introduced the 621-horsepower V12 powered AMG S65 Cabriolet.

For those needing the absolute best, the elevator goes up one more level; to the

penthouse. Waiting at the top is the Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet. Like the AMG S65 cabrio, the S 650 has a hand built 6-liter biturbo V12, who’s power flows through a 7G-TRONIC. The car is suspended with AIRMATIC and uses variable damping control to ensure a smooth ride. Eveything that’s optional on the S-Class Cabriolet comes standard in the Maybach. This includes AIRCAP, AIRSCARF, multicontour massaging seats, Swarovski headlamps – the whole shebang.

Dietmar Exler, President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, at the world premiere of the new Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet

Although the Mercedes-Maybach S 650 is based on the open top S-Class, it has several exclusive features. The front bumper is new and has an upgraded lower section with chrome highlights. Another exterior change are the 20-inch forged Maybach wheels in a biochromatic finish. The interior has exclusive upgrades as well. We noted the vibrant flowing lines in the seats. The waterfall-like seat upholstery layout is made with progressive perforations. Those with an eye for detail may notice the outer diamond quilting on the seat side bolsters and the piping.

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Unique trim elements are custom made for each vehicle based on the color and grain. In addition to the trim on the instrument panel and door paneling, the top of the soft top compartment is leather and inlaid with a Maybach logo. This is a labor-intensive process, but the S 650 cab is a very limited edition vehicle. There are only 300 Mercedes-Maybach S650 cabrios scheduled for production, with 75 headed stateside. This limited production cabrio comes standard with a numbered luggage set comprised of two large travel bags and two lifestyle bags. These bags are made of the same leather as the vehicle’s interior.

In addition to being tailored to match the individual model’s color, the bags can be

secured to each other with straps to make the most of the trunk space. Polished chrome-plated "# of 300" lettering serves to highlight the level of exclusivity. Each car comes with a car cover made of high-quality fabric in the same color as the soft top, with diamond quilting and embroidered with the Maybach emblem and lettering on the hood. Each Mercedes-Maybach Cabriolet is delivered with a special welcome pack. This includes a key ring made of the same nappa leather used in the vehicle, in the same interior color, with a Maybach emblem, and "# of 300" lettering. The car also comes with a certificate signed by Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

“Mercedes-Maybach stands for the highest levels of exclusivity, perfect

craftsmanship

and

automotive

intelligence.

“Our

Mercedes-Maybach sedans guarantee an exceptional experience for rear-seat passengers. However, the focus of the new MercedesMaybach S 650 Cabriolet is very much on the driver.” Dietmar Exler – President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Mercedes-AMG bought the most powerful E’s available: E 63 4MATIC+ and E 63 63 S 4MATIC+.

“The new E 63 is the biggest development leap we’ve ever undertaken in a model change. We have transformed the world’s most intelligent business sedan into a business jet on wheels.” Tobias Moers - Chief Executive of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. The two new E63’s have the most powerful engines ever offered in an E-Class. They’re both 4.0liter biturbo V8s, and the “regular one” puts out 571 horsepower, while the upgraded model has 612. At the same time, the new engine is more efficient, thanks in part to a cylinder deactivation system which comes standard. At the press conference, we were told the E63 S rips from zero to sixty in 3.2 seconds. That’s faster than a Ferrari California T, but with usable rear seats. The new E’s have AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT (Multi Clutch Technology) 9-speed transmissions and they’re now equipped with a wet starting clutch. The 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive units have been completely revamped and have fully variable front-to-rear power distribution, assuring the best possible traction in all conditions. We’d tell you about the new grille and hood, but many are still trying to comprehend how a four-passenger car can reach sixty in 3.2 seconds. Page | 96


Dietmar Exler, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, presenting the new smart fortwo electric drive

"The smart is the perfect city car, and with electric drive it becomes a little bit more perfect. This is why we will soon be offering our entire range – smart fortwo, smart cabrio and even our smart forfour – as all-electric versions.

Together with lots of smart fans and

enthusiastic drivers of the three predecessor generations, we are looking forward to the unique driving fun offered by the new smart electric drive. And at very attractive prices, especially in countries where there is a buyer's premium". Annette Winkler - Head of smart. The smart electric drive is an ideal car for getting around the city. It’s purely electric with a range of 70 to 80 miles. No, you’re not driving to Chicago in a fortwo e-drive, but you can drive to LAX and fly there. It has a top speed of 80 MPH, but that’s OK too because freeway traffic leading to LAX regularly crawls at 25 MPH. The smart e-drive is a good low-speed car. If you’ve never sat in a smart fortwo, they are very small cars. These aren’t designed to service a family of six. If it’s just you, it’ll do everything you need to do in town. If there are two of you, that’s still OK, just recognize, you’re not picking up a week’s worth of groceries. A couple of bags The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


is its limit. This is a car to get you there and back as long as you fully understand “there” is either 40 miles from home, or you plan on plugging in before returning from“there”. Some really great points are the new fast charger can bring the battery up to 80% in 45 minutes and pricing is expected to be way below $25K. That sub-$25K number is before Uncle Sam issues you a check for using an electric car. It’s not a replacement for the daily driver / family car, but it may be the one the new owner uses most of the time.

Mercedes-AMG announced that it will begin competing in North America's premier endurance racing series. The Mercedes-AMG Customer Sports Program will enter the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a number of top teams.

\

Above a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson with the AMG-Team Riley GT3 at the LA show

The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship includes a total of twelve rounds. Among the highlights are popular events like the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. All Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be racing in the GT Daytona (GTD) class. See the article on page 72 for GT3 details. Page | 98


“Traditionally, North-America is a very important market for MercedesAMG. The enthusiasm for our performance cars is enormous. There’s great demand for the Mercedes-AMG GT3, in particular following the legendary quadruple victory in this year’s Nürburgring 24-hour race, has strengthened our commitment to building up our involvement in Customer Sports in the US as well. I am very much looking forward to the co-operation with the teams and I wish them all good luck.” Tobias Moers - Chief Executive of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “With the expansion of our AMG Customer Sports program in the US, it is our aim to provide the same high and comprehensive level of support to the teams as in Europe from the very beginning. This not only means short distances, but also the close interaction with the teams regarding know-how and experience at the race track, and now, we have the perfect conditions. We are really looking forward to a thrilling and hopefully a successful season.” Jochen Bitzer, head of AMG Customer Sports The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Mercedes-AMG also brought the C43 4MATIC Cabriolet and the GLE43. Both vehicles are powered by a 3.0-litre V6 biturbo, with power routed through the AMG-enhanced 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission. They also feature standard AMG Performance 4MATIC® all-wheel drive, as well as AMG-tuned steering, AMG braking systems, and AMG Sport Suspensions. The distinctive exterior and unique interior features include paddle shifters, optional sport seats, and unique AMG trims,. The C43 4MATIC Cabriolet was just launched and is available at U.S. dealers. Although not a 63, it really is a performance car and can sprint to 60 MPH in 4.5 seconds. To assist those with impulse control issues, the new cabrio has an electronically limited top speed of 155 MPH.

"The AMG product portfolio will continue to grow rapidly this year, making the world of Driving Performance more diverse than ever. Our new product line continues to expand at a fast pace and, with the C 43 4MATIC Cabriolet, we are offering a younger target group yet another alternative to discover the fascinating world of AMG," Tobias Moers, Chief Executive of Mercedes‑AMG GmbH. The 2017 AMG GLE43 will be available in early 2017. It is the ninth model in the new line of AMG 43 performance vehicles and replaces the GLE400 as a more performance-oriented option. In addition to its AMG-enhanced abilities, the GLE43 is a luxurious practical family vehicle. Along with comfortable seating for five, the AMG GLE43 has 38.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and over 80.3 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks lowered.

"The expansion of the AMG lineup underscores the ongoing demand for performance-oriented vehicles, especially for SUVs. AMG is wellpositioned in the US marketplace due to our nine new AMG 43 vehicles, four of which are performance-oriented SUV models. We will continue to build the AMG brand and portfolio in 2017 with more variants such as the model year 2018 AMG GT R and the GT/GT C Roadsters." Branden Coté, AMG Manager

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Article Marcus Blair Fitzhugh | photos courtesy Mercedes-Benz

ercedes-Benz has four new engines, but we’re only going to cover three; the 4-liter biturbo V8, the 3-liter gasoline inline-six, and a diesel variant of the inline-six. We’ll cover the new 2-liter biturbo gas powered four as soon as we find out when it will be released and what vehicle it’s destined for. The new V8 is called the M176. It has 476 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, making it slightly more powerful than the outgoing M278 biturbo V8. It’s also smaller, weighs less, and is more efficient.

This new engine gets 10% better fuel economy, and that’s before cylinder

deactivation kicks in. We were told cylinder deactivation will be nothing like your parents accursed Cadillac V8-6-4. This new deactivation system utilizes Camtronic valve timing to shut off four cylinders for improved fuel efficiency. Like the AMG 4-liter V8s, the turbochargers are heat-wrapped and placed in the V. This will be the new engine for the facelifted S-Class. The wait is finally over. Mercedes has announced the new inline six. This is important because inline sixes are a superior design over most V6s, and sixes are the most popular engine. Inline six fanatics have been waiting for the new engine since Mercedes dropped the old inline six in the mid 1990’s. Inline sixes are incredibly smooth and but they’re so long they suffer from packaging issues. Page | 102


The new six cylinder is called the M256, and was built with the intent of major electronic changes. This engine comes with an Integrated Starter-Alternator (ISG), an electric auxiliary compressor, and what Mercedes-Ben calls “intelligent turbocharging”. With these changes, the new engine makes 408 horsepower and over 368 pound-feet of torque. This is in comparison to the old V6, which produced about 335 horsepower and 355 pound-feet of torque. In addition to the power increase, this new engine is more fuel efficient.

The turbocharger, ISG, and electric auxiliary compressor all work together to save fuel and reduce turbo lag. When starting off, the electric auxiliary compressor fills in the gap until the larger turbo kicks in. The wait isn’t long, as the new turbocharger spools up to 70,000 rpm in one third of a second. The ISG is part of a 48V electrical system which handles the car's water pump and airconditioning compressor. Electric powered accessories eliminate the need for drive belts. Without drive belts, the length of the engine is reduced. This addresses the packaging issue found with most inline sixes.

There's also an inline-six diesel engine called the OM656. This new diesel has an aluminum block with Nanoslide cylinder walls, steel pistons, and the Mercedes stepped-bowl combustion process. The new diesel makes 313 horsepower and over 479 pound-feet of torque. The new inline diesel produces over 21% more horsepower than the current diesel-powered V6.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


ercedes-AMG recently partnered with American rock band Linkin Park on the design for an AMG GT race car. The band previously provided their song Papercut, for the world debut of the GT R at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The result of this partnership is the AMG GT3 shown above. This GT3 made its race debut at the 2016 24 Hours of Spa, the highlight of the Blancpain GT Series. Like many of us, the members of Linkin Park are AMG enthusiast, and two of its members, guitarist / keyboardist Mike Shinoda and DJ Joe Hahn, design backgrounds. Hahn, is a visual artist and the director of many Linkin Park videos. He took the lead in this GT3 design and selected a red and black color scheme over a reflective silver base. The Linkin Park logo is displayed on the hood and rear wing. Hahn was joined by two other members of the band, bassist Dave Farrell and lead singer Chester Bennington to present the car and watch it compete at Spa. The Linkin Park car competed in the hands of Black Falcon AMG and its drivers Yelmer Buurman, Maro Engel, and Bernd Schneider. This GT3 was one of seven competing at Spa, and it placed 20th. A BMW M6 placed first, with Team AKKA ASP’s AMG GT3 placing third.

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Article Jay Pill | photos courtesy Mercedes-AMG

The 24 Hours of Spa has a special spot in AMG history. In 1971 and while still independent, AMG entered an SEL300 6.3 in the 24 hour race. This particular Mercedes-Benz was nicknamed "Roten Sau", which is "Red Pig". It was called that for its bright red color and portly physique. The 6.3 V8 was enlarged to a 6.8-liter, and it took a class win - the first motorsport breakthrough in AMG history. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Page | 108


by Chuck Stanford

Among the myriad of enthusiast events that comprise Monterey's classic car week each August is the German marques concours. Now in its seventh year, Legends of the Autobahn is an impressive display of German engineering and design from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi. Even without the Porsche guys, who spun off their own show about three years ago, there were about 450 cars present, including 93 of our own Star Cars! Each of the respective clubs provide their own administration and judging to their own meticulous club standards. Each judging team determines its "Best-of-Marque" and a Best-of-Show car is chosen from the three Marque winners. There were seven judged Mercedes-Benz classes this year comprising Vintage, Classic, and Modern era cars, and the MBCA Desert Stars Section was triumphant in two of these contests. Phil Lutfy's lovely 1959 220 SE Cabriolet took home Class 1 honors as the best Vintage 1886-1962 Coupe, Cabriolet, or Convertible. Chuck and Ava Stanford's 1970 280 SL Coupe/Roadster was the winner in Class 3, 1963-1971 Classic Coupes, Cabriolets and Roadsters.

Best-of-Mercedes winner was a stunning 1992 500 E sedan. The Best-of-Audi winner was a wellpreserved and very original 1980 Audi 5000 that has been carefully maintained by the same owner for 41 years. Best-of-BMW and Best-of-Show was a freshly-restored classic 1959 BMW 507 roadster. This has become a great fun event and should be on everyone's bucket list as a part of the carguy heaven that is Monterey car week. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Article Marcus Blair Fitzhugh

ew York's Finest has 250 new police cars on patrol. Rather than big intimidating hulks, NYPD ordered police-spec Smart ForTwos to upgrade the fleet. Although ForTwos aren’t the type of vehicle to cause your heart to race when they appear in a rearview mirror, they’re much better than the heap of junk they’re replacing. The ForTwos are replacing some of the enclosed three-wheeled motorcycles that are used for city patrols. The three wheelers are a decades old design called the GO-4. Can you imagine having to drive one of the old three-wheelers for a living? There’s no AC, no heat, and they offer all the crash protection of a skateboard. It’s better than walking, but just slightly. Pursuit in a GO-4? Forget it. If someone in a car decides to run, they’re gone. At least a ForTwo can pretend to chase someone. And price . . . . . NYPD pays up to $27K for EACH of those three wheeled scooters. ForTwos cost less than half as much. Bringing a ForTwo up to “police-spec” is pretty simple – add paint, the roof mounted light-bar, and a police radio. The result isn’t as exciting as Dubai’s police fleet, but it’ll do. Page | 110


What’s that? Unfamiliar with the Dubai police fleet? Here are some pictures of their patrol cars.

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Article Steve Ross

he weekend began with dinner at the Karl Strauss Brewery in the Gaslamp District of San Diego. Not all of the racing fans joined us for dinner but they were there in the "tent" Sunday morning. Carol Ross, Victoria Mazelli, friend of Radu, Radu Alexandru, Cheryl and Rudy Hradecky and Gary Jarvis enjoying dinner at the Karl Strauss Brewery in the Gaslamp District. I want to comment that the group was smiling even when the photos were not being taken.

President Michael, David Coomber and the Kruse's arrived bright and early to set up the tents and our MBCA banner. Michael's Limo was loaded with snacks, drinks and other comfort items. Mercedes-Benz automobiles and drivers began arriving later in the morning and continued most of the day. A positive feature of this outing is that one can come and go at will and even come back and enjoy the shade if you want. It was just a short stroll of a few hundred feet to the grandstand to watch the races and then return to the shade of our tent and refresh one's body for the next race.

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Left: Elizabeth Alexandru, Gary Jarvis, Radu Alexandru, Amber Alexandru and VP, Victoria enjoying the shade and rest. Elizabeth is our youngest member with her own name tag. I was completely amazed to see her and her Dad going around looking at cars and even looking under the hood. She seemed quite interested and was even asking questons. Who knows she may be a Formula One driver some day! Below left: Brian Kruse taking a break close to his 190SL, aka Ruby Begonia. Below: There was also a car show and Brian and Steve Ross entered the show. Brian and "Ruby B" were awarded with a victory lap around the track.

Brian doing his victory lap coming out of the final turn onto the front straight away. Diana is waving to the cheering crowd as they passed the Grandstand. This is a real treat to do a victory lap.

There is a car show on both Saturday and Sunday so one has two chances at winning an award and a victory lap. The show is open to any car and just about every make model and configuration is there including many highly modified automobiles. This is the only active military airfield in the U.S that is shut down for two days every year for vintage car racing and a car show. Who knows how long this will continue. If you have an interest please join us next year. The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


by Lynn Hern

he Olde Ship in Santa Ana provided the MBC club with a great place to socialize and have dinner. It was really relaxing to be able to have a quiet place to ourselves where we could all greet each other and talk without shouting. There was a great selection of English beers on tap and traditional English food on the menu, as well as other choices. We all enjoyed the cozy seating arrangements and the ability to order off the menu.

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


by Ken Borowitz

n the November/December edition of the Desert Stars‘ “Sponsor Spotlight”, they took a diagnostic look under the hood to see what’s happening over at MB Motors, located in Phoenix (just off the 202 and 32nd St) at 2730 E McDowell Rd. MB Motors is family owned and operated by our very own Bud Cloninger (past MBCA Desert Star Section president, and current MBCA Southwest Regional Director). After working for MercedesBenz for eighteen years, Bud and his wife Dee, incorporated M.B. Motors Ltd in 1992. Currently, their daughter Jamie Swayngim oversees all M.B. Motors operations. Q: Bud and Jamie, please tell us about your primary business goals at MB Motors? A: (Bud) We try very hard to listen and communicate with owners. Our goal is to be as accurate as possible in diagnosis and repair of the automobile. And because we specialize in only Mercedes-Benz, I think this gives us an edge and helps us achieve this goal. We believe repair and maintenance on your Mercedes should not be a confusing event. Q: Do you have any special qualifications / certifications? A: (Jamie) Yes - all of our employees, including myself, are up to date on the latest repair and maintenance procedures for Mercedes-Benz cars. Besides having many years of factory training classes, our staff has also received two ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) Master Technician awards. We also have access to the latest Mercedes-Benz training information that keeps us up to date on new service information and repair procedures. Q: Beyond regular maintenance and repair services, are there any other services you offer? A: (Bud) One thing we do a lot of is pre-purchase inspections, or PPI’s. Included in our comprehensive inspection we check the CARFAX® (if needed), along with an on-hoist inspection and road test. Because we only work on Mercedes automobiles, we know what to look for when performing an inspection. We are looking out for the purchasers best interest, and want to make sure they get a good, and safe, Mercedes-Benz for many years of enjoyment. As for other repairs (such as glass, bodywork, or upholstery), you can count on our proven referrals. Q: What are your business hours? A: (Jamie) We are open Mondays thru Fridays from 7:30am to 4:00pm. We are not open on Saturdays or Sundays to spend time with family and friends. Page | 118


Q: Tell us more about yourselves, your family, and staff, and what your passions are away from the shop? A: (Bud) Dee and I love exploring Arizona’s backcountry and it’s history. It’s not unusual for us to take off for the weekend with metal detectors in hand to go search old homesteads or historical sites. As for Jamie and her husband Ray, with five children, you can imagine what most of their free time is dedicated to (ed. note-stated with a big smile). That said, they find time to raise chickens and quail, along with Serama Bantams (show birds). Cory and his wife Gabrielle enjoy fishing, camping, and the beach when he is away from the shop. Q: Do either of you or your employees own / drive a Mercedes? A: (Jamie) We have all owned many Mercedes-Benz models over the years. My first car when I was in high school was a 190E 2.3. It’s what all of us prefer to drive. With all our children now, my vehicle of choice today is a Suburban! Q: Any MBCA / Desert Stars events which are special for M.B. Motors? A: (Jamie) We really enjoy hosting Tech Sessions. We have the privilege to help educate the club members on various topics, as well as opportunity to open the shop to those that have not been here. It’s a great way to give back to the loyal customers that are also part of MBCA. Q: Anything else you want our members to know? A: (Bud) The overall experience (repair and customer focus) is really important to us. We are a small, highly skilled repair shop that takes pride in the Mercedes-Benz brand. We all enjoy what we do, and it shows. It's something that, I believe, is hard to find in most of today’s businesses. MB Motors can be reached at 602-392-0686, or email them at MBMOTORSAZ@gmail.com. Thank You Bud, Dee, Jamie, Ray, and Cory for your continued support of MBCA and Desert Stars!

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by Arica Ohanisian

hank you all for attending our dealer event. We toured the Beverly Hills facility and learned a lot about both the current and upcoming models. I would like to thank Evonne Ghoul, Public Relations Manager, Ron Robertson, Master Certified AMG Expert, and Phil Fox, Service Manager for doing such an amazing job for us today.

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


by Lynn Hern

hanks to Gerhard and Isolde Fehrmann we (the Orange County, Long Beach, and Los Angeles Sections) had a great turn out for this year’s Oktoberfest at the Phoenix Club. There was plenty of German beer on tap, a great selection of German food and lots of music. We nearly filled our reserved space for Mercedes-Benz vehicles which made a great display for all to admire. Those that were not able to come missed a great party.

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


by John and Roberta Phin

esert Stars met at Schumacher European, Ltd. on Saturday, October 22 for a Technical Session featuring solutions for safely transporting precious cargo, our children and pets, in our automobiles, as well as a presentation of the new technical features of MercedesBenz automobiles designed to enhance occupant safety and move the brand in the direction of autonomous transport. We were welcomed by Sarah Jones and General Manager Kevin Steele representing Schumacher European, Ltd. which once again opened the facility in support of our club. Stacey B. Larsen, owner of the Puppy Prep School, Christopher West of the Arizona Humane Society Emergency Animal Medical Technician program, Carey Chenery Dillabo of Power Paws Assistant Dogs, and Lauren Nelson of the Pet Market demonstrated technical solutions for the safe transportation of cats and dogs. Utilizing a beautiful Golden Retriever they us gave strategies for training pets to be safer travelers. Cristy Robinson of AAA Arizona, representing its Foundation for Traffic Safety, demonstrated the proper use of car seats for children of varying ages and also gave an overview of the legal obligations we incur when we transport children in our cars. This was followed by Grant Anderson of Schumacher who gave a mind bending exposition of the technical features of the latest Mercedes-Benz automobiles designed to both protect occupants and assist the driver in all road conditions. Mr. Steele then blew a few minds when he reported on the commitment of the German government to end sales of new fossil-fueled vehicles in the EU starting in the year 2030! The Tech Session was also a fund raiser for the AHS Emergency Animal Medical Technician program and its animal ambulance program which is the designated responder for animal rescue in the case of natural disaster or extreme animal abuse. Altogether, $1,090 was raised through a silent auction of a Mercedes 300SL “pedal car� and a raffle of a Mercedes-Benz Detail, both donated by Schumacher European, Ltd., as well as a silent auction of a day-spa/beauty product package donated by the Spa at Rancho Manana. We then enjoyed lunch in the lounge which had been nicely decorated by Schumacher for the benefit of Desert Stars. Coincidentally, Schumacher European, Ltd. had amazing new and resale cars on display and we know at least one Desert Star succumbed to the charms of a late model SL550! Once again, the annual Tech Session was educational, provided an opportunity to see old friends and make some new ones, and this year supported a great cause. Page | 124


Above: Cristy Robinson of AAA worked on child car seats and Above, right: Kevin Steele from Schumacher spoke on all things Mercedes-Benz

Clockwise, above: Attendees take note of the days lessons; Lauren Nelson of Pet Market, Grant Anderson reviews M-B Tech, Sarah Jones from Schumacher kept us organized, Debbie helped us raise funds; John Phin found another new car!

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


If you would like to attend an event listed here, please be sure to contact the event coordinator of the hosting section. This is important as many events require an RSVP so we can know how many people to expect. Also, additional details may be available at the hosting section’s website. The San Diego Section’s Holiday / Year End / Christmas Party Sunday, December 4th ON DECEMBER 3, 2016 THE MERCEDES-BENZ CLUB of AMERICA SAN DIEGO SECTION WILL MEET AT THE CORONADO GOLF COURSE FOR A LUNCHEON PARTY AND AWARDS WILL BE PRESENTED The ambience is great, the weather is oh so nice and the view is to die for SO join us for our annual Holiday party and help us celebrate another super year for our section and award our folks who have made our club more fun during this year. Who knows you may be one of those winning an award. DRIVE A RED MERCEDES-BENZ AND WIN A PRIZE!! Here is the scoop— DATE:

DECEMBER 3, 2016

TIME:

1200, HIGH NOON.

LOCATION: CORONADO GOLF COURSE THE CLUB HOUSE IS LOCATED AT 2000 VISALIA ROW, CORONADO, CA. Menu selection is Steak Kabob with mashed potatoes and veggies OR Mahi-mahi. Dessert is Chocolate Mousse. A ticket will be provided to each guest for a beverage of choice from the bar. COST IS $39.00 PER PERSON. PLEASE SEND YOUR PAYMENT AND MENU SELECTION TO STEVE ROSS BY NOVEMBER 25, 2016.

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


BELLS of FREEDOM DAY at CAMP PENDLETON Sunday, December 4th The MBCA San Diego section is again sponsoring a Marine family as part of the "Bells of Freedom" Program. This is a great program because all of the money that we donate goes directly to the families. It is our way of thanking them for the service to our country. For those who are not familiar with this program, each year a volunteer group puts on a Christmas Party for service families at Pendleton. These families are usually a long way from home. They give the volunteer group a list of items their family would like to have, mostly clothes and toys for their kids. These items are purchased and gift wrapped by the volunteer group for distribution at the Christmas Party. As family sponsors, we are invited to attend the luncheon with the families where they are given their gift packages. We have been asked if we would attend in some of our vintage Mercedes if possible so that there will be a "mini" car show. We put on a car show for them two years ago and the young people really enjoyed seeing the vehicles that, in most cases, their "grandparents" owned. This kind of makes us feel old doesn’t it? However, you are welcome to come in your modern cars. Bob Gunthorp have been asked to take charge of the RSVPs from our club so please let him know if you will attend.

We will be meeting at the address below to caravan to Camp Pendleton:

Lomas Santa Fe Shopping Center 931 Lomas Santa Fe Dr - Solana Beach, CA 92075 Meet Sunday, December 4th at 9:30 am - Leave promptly at 9:45 Caravan to Pendleton - (We must enter as a group) IMPORTANT For the access to the base, Bob Gunthorp will need everyone's name and the year, make, and model of the vehicle that you will be driving even if it is not a vintage vehicle. You will also need your photos ID, vehicle registration and car insurance information.

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Desert Stars’ Holiday Party & Anniversary Recognition at Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen and Bar Sunday, December 4th The holidays are here! Remember the 4th of December at noon because the Desert Stars Annual Holiday Party - with the always-important Member Anniversary recognition celebration – is on! We will reflect back on 2016 and spend time with friends and fellow members and welcome in the spirit of the holidays. Zoran Klisara is again opening up his restaurant, Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen and Bar, exclusively for us. We will have the whole place in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale to ourselves, with our own parking lot right in front of the restaurant. There is no need to hunt for parking spaces. We will enjoy our own private bartender and a specialized menu for our enjoyment. Afterwards, the location of the restaurant is perfectly suited for an afternoon of holiday shopping. Nearby are all of the local Western and Arizona themed stores for you to pick up a gift or two for friends and family. Anniversary celebrants (see page 13 for your name!) must attend to receive your recognition pins (or you need a really good excuse for not being there!) So we want to see you! Oh, don’t forget we are collecting for Toys for Tots so please bring an un-wrapped gift! Please see Registration forms for details. Make this holiday season a special one by joining your friends in the Desert Stars MercedesBenz club. For registration information please contact Debbie Ichiyama by email at dichiyama@me.com. Sunday December 4th at 12:00 “noon” ∙ Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen and Bar

The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Chaparral Section Recurring Ladies Luncheon

Hello, Ladies of Mercedes: 2016 lends itself to be the perfect beginning to bring together the ladies in the club and unite once a month or quarterly for a luncheon affair. Perhaps we meet for lunch sampling different cuisines or seek out restaurants with special ambience and best of all get to know each other a little better. Please let me know if you would like to unite for a luncheon every so often. Please contact me via email: jutta@juttalunario.com The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Christmas Brunch at the Tustin Ranch Golf Club Date: December 4, 2016 Time: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm Place:

Tustin Ranch Golf Club 12442 Tustin Ranch Road, Tustin, CA

Cost: RSVP: Contact:

$30 for Members; $40 for Non-Members On or Before December 1st Jocelyn Salisbury P.O Box 211, Orange, CA 92856

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Mercedes-Benz Enthusiasts Dinner with the Desert Stars Section Sunday January 22, 2017 We are again celebrating auction week in the valley by coming together for the MB Enthusiast dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy; and we are planning to build on the success of last several years’ venue and program. We will again have a beautiful private dining “room with a view” at Maggiano’s. In addition, Schumacher European, Ltd. will bring new Mercedes Benz for us to explore and have representatives on hand to answer members’ questions. We will also feature an expanded display of member’s exemplar cars and will award a “People’s Choice” prize at dinner. Again this year we will be reaching out to other MBCA regions to include other members who are here for the auctions and the fun! This year our Mercedes-Benz Enthusiasts Dinner will be on SUNDAY, Jan 22, 2017. The event at Maggiano’s Little Italy, 16405 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ features a family style dinner, and after awarding the winner of the People’s Choice exemplar car contest we will provide informative industry speakers. We are planning visits to several of the auctions during the week as well, with a recap of the excitement at the MB Enthusiasts dinner. There will again be a contest for members to predict final prices achieved by select Mercedes cars at auction. Moving the fun to Sunday evening allows us to review the auctions in their entirety, and provides for participants to attend the last auctions of the week. Please use the attached form to register and pay for the event. Be sure to indicate the “exemplar car” you want to show on the registration form. MBCA members from other regions who are planning to be in town for the auctions, or just visiting at this beautiful time of year, are encouraged to participate in the events we have planned during the week and on Sunday evening. Please make hotel reservations soon, as the auctions draw an international crowd and accommodations are best reserved early. If you want information on hotel choices in the area, or for any other questions please call John or Roberta Phin at 480-2728851 or email at jgphin@cox.net.

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


The Classic Auto Show Los Angeles, CA JANUARY 27 – 29 The Classic Auto Show is presented by Autogeek and held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Celebrity guests will include Chip Foose, Mike Brewer, Chris Jacobs, Wayne Carini, Dave Kindig, and Mike Phillips. This is a brand new three-day celebration of all things automotive, paying tribute to the cars that graced our highways in bygone years and paved the way for the modern motor cars we see on the road today. These three days will showcase the best of the classic and vintage motoring scene including the stars from Velocity’s biggest car shows, the best car clubs from across the US, and a huge range of brands including all your favorite American cars along with the best from the rest of the world. Expect to see the rare and unusual, pristine and project cars, those that were loved and some that were hated, the car that your folks used to take you on your first road trip and the one that you learned to drive in – something for everyone automotive enthusiast! SHOW LOCATION: Los Angeles Convention Center; South Hall 1201 S Figueroa Street Los Angeles, CA 90015 SHOW DATES: Friday, January 27, 2017, 10AM-7PM Saturday, January 28, 2017 9AM-7PM Sunday, January 29, 2017 9AM-5PM

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


Palm Springs Cruisin' Association Cruise-In Palm Desert, CA February 4 Cruise-In presented by the Palm Springs Cruisin' Association. Held at the Westfield Mall, 72-840 Highway 111. Hours: 1pm 5pm. Open to all customs, rods, classics, muscle cars, trucks, motorcycles, special interest, and vintage vehicles. Trophies, raffle, games, 50/50, and vendors. Proceeds benefit the Desert Cancer Foundation and other Coachella Valley charities. Contact: www.palmspringscruisinassociation.com

Whittier Area Classic Car Show February 25th from 9 AM until 4 PM

There is free public admission, live music, vendor booths, food trucks, raffle prizes, event t-shirts, games, kids activities, and a drawing! Open to all makes and models of American, Foreign Classic and Collector vehicles, 1976 and older. All net proceeds from this event will fund community projects in the Whittier Area.

2017 Concours in the Hills Saturday, February 11 from 10AM - 3PM The show is held in what is undoubtedly the most spectacular setting for a car show in the valley, on the grass around the lake and fountain. Thanks to two entrances/exits, and a simplified entry procedure, we were able to get all the cars in and out with virtually no delays and everyone seemed to enjoy the show. In fact, we have been contacted by several car clubs that have not participated before but will do so in 2017. There will be more food trucks and more washrooms. In anticipation of even greater attendance we are making more changes to improve the show and especially to allow more space and less cramming. Plus, we have some exciting surprises bound to generate a lot of interest. The town is reseeding any bare areas and will water until the day before the show to minimize dust. Page | 142


Register now! at www.concoursinthehills.org This is not a formal “white gloves” concours but rather a relaxed and fun event designed to allow enthusiasts to display their own vehicles and admire others. We welcome all high-performance, sports, classic, race, muscle, hot-rods both import and domestic

Desert Stars Annual Poker Run Saturday February 25, 2017,

Get ready for some fun Poker Action! Don’t worry you don’t need to bet or bluff your way to the winners circle. Just enjoy the day driving to interesting places and eating goodies along the way with your friends in Desert Stars. This year we have a great event planned – Interesting cars to see, great locations to explore starting at a Valley Mercedes Benz dealership for starting snacks at Noon and ending with a wonderful dinner and prizes for the winners and losers.If you have attended the last few Poker Runs then you know this is a great event and good time! If not, plan on attending! You will not want to miss the 2017 Poker Run…Put in on your calendar NOW! For more information contact Harman Cadis, at Harman@FocusHOA.com

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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine – your cars & your events


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The Southwest Star Magazine 2016 4th quarter  

Covering Mercedes-Benz in the Southwest Region of the United States. In this issue: The Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster ◊ The 2016 Art Center Car...

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