The STAR® March / April 2024

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Mercedes-Benz teased showgoers at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with a look at the concept EQG – an all-electric G-Wagen with some interesting extras. Mercedes calls it a “near-production study” which means it’s expected to go on the market in 2025. The EQG is likely to have four electric motors - one for each wheel. Retail pricing has not been announced, but industry experts estimate about $150,000.


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Drivers go the distance in AMG racing cars




Jeri Barrett’s 300d Adenauer sedan was a labor of love


SEND TO: The Star ® Jeff Zurschmeide Editor-in-Chief 1506 5th Street Tillamook, OR 97141

Please query The Star® first regarding possible editorial interest. We regret that we cannot always acknowledge or return materials submitted for consideration.


RUBIN HOWARD Associate Editor



Copy Editor


Peter Pfeiffer changed the way we look at Mercedes-Benz

Editor in Chief

European Editors

A new year and a new car for Mercedes-AMG







Creative Director

Mercedes-AMG Petronas waits for a new car and anticipates a great season




Mercedes-Benz offered a look at what the cockpit of future vehicles might look like at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This trade show has become a showcase for automakers to reveal new technology.




On The Cover




The Star®, March–April 2024 • Volume 70 • Issue No. 2



Did you move? Do you have a different address you want to mail The Star®? Or still haven’t received your last issue? We are here to help.

PHONE: 719-633-6427 EMAIL:

The Star (ISSN 0744-155X), Copyright © 2024 by the Mercedes-Benz Club of America is published bi-monthly by The MercedesBenz Club of America, 10 Boulder Crescent St. #200 Colorado Springs, CO 80903. Business and Editorial Offices: 10 Boulder Crescent St. #200 Colorado Springs, CO 80903, Accounting and Circulation Offices: Mercedes-Benz Club of America, 10 Boulder Crescent St. #200 Colorado Springs, CO 80903. Call (719) 633-6427 to subscribe. Periodicals postage is paid at Colorado Springs, Colorado. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Christina Read at, 10 Boulder Crescent St. #200 Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

The Star® is the official magazine of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, Inc. 10 Boulder Crescent St. #200 Colorado Springs, CO 80903 719.633.6427 The Star® (ISSN 0744-155X) is published bimonthly by the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, Inc. Jeff Zurschmeide Editor in Chief 1506 5th Street. Tillamook, OR 97141 Periodicals postage paid at Colorado Springs, CO 80903 and additional entry offices. Copyright © 2024 by Mercedes-Benz Club of America, Inc. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Printed in the U.S.A. The Star® is a registered trademark of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, Inc. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mercedes-Benz Club of America 10 Boulder Crescent St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 MEMBERSHIP: To join call: 719.633.6427 or visit Dues are $85 for one year. Foreign dues please add $10 per year. Membership includes a subscription to The Star®. ADDRESS CHANGES: Send to Mercedes-Benz Club of America 10 Boulder Crescent St. Suite. 200 Colorado Springs, CO 80903 or visit

Opinions, ideas, and suggestions in The Star® are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of MBCA. MBCA neither accepts nor bears and responsibility or liability for the accuracy of any such opinions, ideas, or suggestions, or the applications thereof. Any representations or warranties (express or implied) with respect thereto are hereby disclaimed by MBCA. No inference should be made that the products or services advertised herein have the approval of MBCA, Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz USA, or any other entity. The trade names and trademarks “Mercedes-Benz,” “Mercedes,” and three-pointed star in a circle are owned by Mercedes-Benz AG and authorized for use by its licensees - which include MBCA - exclusively.

Issue date: March 1, 2024


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1957 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL ROADSTER Among the Most Original, Well-Preserved 300 SLs in Existence One of Fewer than 30 Rudge-Wheel Roadsters Built Retains Matching-Numbers Engine, Original Paint, Interior, and Soft Top

1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL GULLWING A California Black-Plate Car Benefiting from Long-Term Ownership by Two Gull Wing Group Members Presented in Original Colors and Retaining Matching-Numbers Engine, Luggage, Books, and Tools

1971 MERCEDES-BENZ 280SE 3.5 CABRIOLET Over $200,000 Concours-Level Restoration Performed by Renowned Expert SL-Tech

1970 MERCEDES-BENZ 280 SL Without Reserve




1903 MERCEDES SIMPLEX 60 HP ‘ROI DES BELGES’ Delivered New to Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe An Exceptionally Original and Important Example of the Legendary “Sixty” with Period Competition History Offered Direct from over 120 Years of Single Family Ownership Coachwork by J. Rothschild et Fils







The June Jamboree article written by Jay Hirsch has some incorrect information. The Best in Show award went to Phil Morgan for his 1991 560SEC. It would be greatly appreciated if you would please issue a correction to the Best in Show winner for the June Jamboree. Valerie Cristiano President Northern New Jersey Section We regret the error and here’s a shot of the winning car - JZ


Congratulations to all the award recipients from each section and thanks for all that you do for the club

Racing Is Living

While I enjoy the background insights of the Mercedes AMG Formula One, I greatly appreciate the Nov/Dec article on the AMG GT team in IMSA North American sports car racing. These cars are a factory effort as well. [The team] can arrange visits for MBCA members to the garage and even to the pits during the races. Also, thank you for the “Dream Drive” article by Kyle Cramer in the Jan-Feb issue of The Star. It was amazing that the author could grasp the concepts that he did in only 10 laps of a very short track. Just imagine the appeal of spending a whole day with a professional level driving instructor or in your own Benz or AMG! The MBCA Performance and Basic Driving skills committee will be doing this for our members on April 20 at Talladega Grand Prix Raceway, May 29 at Watkins Glen, and Oct 7 at Atlanta Motorsports Park.. For more information contact Gary Edwards ( or Jim Roberts ( Just contact me at or 205-529-0071. Jim Roberts, DMD MBCA| Performance Driving Committee Alabama-NW Florida Section

Southwest Region - Ron Borino

Desert Stars: Member of The Year​​ Ed Annette Crawford San Diego: Member of The Year​​ Gary Jarvis Los Angeles: Officer ​​ of The Year​​Amir Rudyan Channel Island: Member of The Year ​​Alex Valtcher

Eastern Region - Diana Quinn Carolinas: Member of The Year​​Wendy Whitehurst Peachtree: Member of The Year ​​Reijo Haarla Triangle: Member of The Year​​ Bill Faison Central Virginia: Member of The Year​​Carl Booberg Virginia: ​​Member of The Year​​ Sherry Spring Peachtree: O ​​ fficer of The Year​​ Gary Edwards

Southeast Region - David Wommer Road Star: Member of The Year​​Paul Rodecki Tampa Bay: Member of The Year​​Dave Hutchinson Southwest Florida: Member of The Year​​ Jack Meyer Road Star: Officer of The Year​​Linda Paraizo

Great Lakes Region- Jeff Hirst International Stars: Member of The Year​​ Dan Tolley Western Reserve: Member of The Year​​Gary Goodman West Michigan: Member of The Year​​ Joe Royston International Stars: ​Officer of The Year​​ Nicholas Bissoon-Dath

Central Region - Kenneth Koehler Bluegrass Stars: Member of The Year​​ Miller Warren Indiana Crossroads: M ​ ember of The Year​​Jim Johnson St. Louis Gateway: Member of The Year​​Jonathan Leggs Memphis: Member of The Year ​​Lynn Jones Nashville: Member of The Year​​ Harrison Bond Cincinnati: ​​Member of The Year​​Austin McAnanly Missippi: Member of The Year​​Morgan Larkins Bluegrass Stars: Officer of The Year​​Anne Gilliland

South Central Region - Brett Jurick Texas Hill Country: Member of The Year​​Charles Dove Ozark: Member of The Year​​Diane Paulsen Lone Star: Member of The Year​​Susann and Alan Syme North Texas: Member of The Year​​Tom Strohm Eastern Oklahoma: Member of The Year​​Nathan Armer Houston: ​Member of The Year​​Jeff and Alice Wu Houston: ​​Officer of The Year​​ Erroll Hines

Western Region Central Coast: Member of The Year​​Gene Kruger Sierra Nevada: O ​ fficer of The Year​​ Gail Wells

Midwest Region Chicagoland: Member of The Year​​Fred Crudele Wiscosin: Member of The Year​​Bernd Kampe Kansas City: Member of The Year​​Bill Burkhardt Chicagoland: Officer of The Year​​Chester Szerlag

Mid-Atlantic Region - Bil Fisher Northern New Jersey: Member of The Year​G ​ reg Thorne Delaware Valley: M ​​ ember of The Year​​Michael Parlato NYC Long Island: Member of The Year​​ Yuri Marus Conn./Westchester: ​​Member of The Year​​Kathy & Rick Sachak Keystone: ​​Member of The Year​​Denise Hussar Northeastern Penn.: ​​Member of The Year​​Barry Brobst Northeastern Penn.: Officer of The Year ​​Mike Ziegler

Northeast Region -Michael Georgewsky Niagara: Member of The Year Jeff Gaffney North New: Member of The Year Carol Walczyk Minute Man: Member of The Year​​Roland Boucher

Northwest Region - Jeff Schindler Seattle: Member of The Year​​Arya Kani Portland: Member of The Year​​​​David Abarr Vancouver Island: Member of The Year​​Cris Gray


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Kathryn G. Carruth

The Way Forward MBCA is on the move, and we are thankful you’re on this journey with us. The board of directors, volunteer leaders, and staff have all come together as a team to make the most of our leadership opportunity. With the successes we have all shared over the past year, I am enthused about the opportunity we have to achieve even more. Your board of directors and I have unified a team who are actively working to stabilize the foundation under the MBCA ecosystem. We are on the cusp of having the infrastructure in place to build and maintain a broad base of members coming into the club, no matter their specific interest in the MercedesBenz brand. We have identified those potential interest groups at all levels, and we are taking steps to continue attracting sponsors, The Star advertisers, and of course, members. We are taking control of the destiny of MBCA and therefore we have no excuse but to succeed! One thing is certain, the Mercedes-Benz brand has many loyal enthusiasts, and we are determined to provide an evolving community for them within MBCA. Several initiatives are underway to create these pathways and as you’re all aware, we are working diligently to align ourselves with the ethos of the Mercedes-Benz brand. MBCA is committed to providing excellent value in every respect for our members, but it’s fair to say times have changed over the past few years and we must respond to those changes, otherwise the club will struggle to survive. Spiraling costs mean the club, as was, could not prosper without change. Although the cost of membership has remained stable for many years despite significant inflationary rises since, the club must provide a greater level of content and value to members in this

competitive world we live in today. A world where consumers want more. That means more content, a higher level of content, and content in different forms. Changes so far have been the heavily revised The Star magazine, which you will have no doubt seen; a publication that is fast becoming in line with the Mercedes-Benz image and one that MBCA and its members can be proud of. We also have a far greater level of social media content aimed again at being more in keeping with the MB brand, and content that will appeal to a wider demographic - something we must do to survive. We need new, younger members in addition to existing members. The Star will shortly be available digitally as well at the request of some members. We are also: • Designing and administering an incentive program for local sections to attract members and put on events. • Developing a strategy to involve the dealer network, MBUSA, and the Classic Center, so they may help drive initiatives. • Helping enthusiasts at all levels, improve their knowledge, and become more established as part of the MBCA and MercedesBenz ecosystem. Suffice to say, there’s no magic bullet to reinvigorate MBCA, it will take all of us working together to see this club into a bright future. I hope the above provides some comfort to you all that our intentions are well considered and aimed at providing a sustainable club going forward for many years to come and for many to enjoy.

Above: Mercedes-Grande sponsors at SILO Auto Club and Conservancy in Indianapolis. (l-r) Kyle Foyer, Drive Planning; Dr. Paul Phipps, Comfort Motion Technologies; Jane Sims, Member Wings Jet Service; Jim Johnson, Adobe Road Winery; Me, Roger Brummett, Mercedes-Grande Chairman; Donnie Jones, Adam Cooley, and Dennis Butterbaugh, Woodland Airstream; Jim Bork, The Momentum Group; Pam Ellis, The Secret Ingredient. Not pictured, David Morton, Mecum Auctions; and John Leonard, Artomobilia; XPEL and Hagerty.

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Room to Roam With Seating for Up to Nine, Interstate 24GL is Made for Bringing Along Friends and Family Head out on a winery tour with friends or tailgate at the big game. Bring along colleagues on a business trip or travel south for the winter in style. No matter where the road leads, the Airstream Interstate 24GL Touring Coach is a luxurious recreational vehicle that prioritizes versatility. The MercedesBenz® Sprinter van chassis delivers power and performance, while Airstream’s expert design delivers all the comforts of home. Whether you’re traveling solo or bringing along a large group, the Interstate 24GL lets you make the most of the journey ahead.


MBCA National Board Meeting Minutes


ice President Drew Webb welcomed participants and called the MBCA National Board Meeting to order via Zoom at 9:10am mountain time, Saturday, November 18. National Secretary William Parrish called the roll and announced that all board members were present except Ron Borino who was traveling abroad. Upon motion, second and unanimous vote, the April 22, 2023 Board Meeting Minutes were approved as previously distributed.​ Executive Director Katie Carruth has referenced an ocean of blue water opportunity in MBCA’s space, much of which we have not explored effectively. With over 15,000 members, nine regions and 82 sections across the U.S.A. and Canada, the MBCA is conglomerate of enthusiasts with a great diversity of interests. Unsurprisingly, redirecting focus and energy, and instilling agility and resiliency in such an entity is naturally a challenge. Her remarks included an overview of organizational challenges as well as progress against plan in several key areas. Membership decline – Consistent with the continuing environment for clubs, civic organizations, churches and other member-based entities, membership growth has been a challenge over recent years. Methods of communicating with members have expanded, creating the need to incorporate multi-level approaches driven by preferences and habits of members, prospective members, sponsors, and advertisers. Absent effective and validated channel participation, growth opportunities cannot be maximized. Effectiveness and consistency in this area will promote more consistent communications with members, and will expand the potential for attracting new members. Financial Condition – Our financial situation has been negatively impacted by a confluence of several factors. The significant investment in IT in late 2022 led to an inordinate expenditure of time, money and member inconvenience. Continued and dramatic escalation of publishing costs of the Star magazine, and the concurrent decline in advertising revenues exacerbated strain on financial resources. Our IT challenges led to the loss of our spring raffle and greatly delayed the fall raffle, limiting its success as a fundraiser. Likewise, the technology shortcoming prevented online renewal of expired members resulted in a number of members delaying renewal. The continued decline in membership naturally impacts revenues as well, though Katie emphasized that even though we need to grow our membership, at the same

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time we need to become less dependent on membership dues in our overall revenue structure. Information Technologies – As mentioned earlier, Katie reviewed the devastating results of the previous website provider and the related discontinuance of support. The process of trying to integrate appropriate pieces and salvage some patchwork during the search for a solution was cumbersome and greatly impacted efficiency, member communications, and staff work load. The IT Committee has invested countless hours, as have office staff, in seeking the best route forward, and has identified Glue-Up as the preferred provider of choice. This solution will provide enhanced member and section interface, reduce workload for section leadership, and provide great flexibility at lower cost for sections by eliminating redundancy of reporting, emailing members, website maintenance, and many other user benefits. Mission & Vision – In order to point our ship to an appropriate north star, we must radically adjust the sails. To that end, we forward a revised vision and mission. The vision is a diverse, inclusive, and engaged community of Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts who play its central role in the Mercedes-Benz world in Canada and the U.S.A. The mission is to create a community for Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts to share knowledge, exceptional events and camaraderie while staying in step with and adding value to Mercedes-Benz and its ecosystem in Canada and the US. Governance – As confirmed by our internal survey of MBCA leadership as well as the consultant David Mitchell earlier this year, our board and overall organizational structure is not as competent, agile and responsive as needed for a modern and sustainable club. Our Board, Bylaws, and our Policies and Procedures must be streamlined in order to maximize efficiency and effectiveness in delivering member value and financial sustainability. This process has begun and will continue into Q1.

Treasurer’s Report

Financial Performance – National Treasurer Charles Woods reported on 2023 YTD financial performance, with analysis of key line items contributing significantly to the operating losses through September 30, 2024. Three primary areas contributing to the operating loss were the significant decline in membership, the substantial increase in publishing costs of the Star magazine, and the cumulative direct and indirect costs of the technology issues throughout the year. On the positive side of that last issue, we are expecting a sizable vendor financial settlement that will offset some of cumulative costs of IT malfunction. Substantial changes in the contractual arrangements with external parties for the publishing of the Star is expected to result in savings, and the establishment of goals and a monitoring/reporting system will improve performance in ad and sponsor revenues as well as timely billing

and collection. An examination of the number of gratis copies of the Star, and the related impact on membership, resulted in the decision to severely curtail the delivery of ‘extra’ copies of the magazine, but to make available prior issues for promotion purposes at the bulk cost of shipping only. Sale of NBO Building – Charles explained the strategy for the sale of the real estate, which was a former private residence purchased to house the NBO. Over the years deferred maintenance on the building accumulated to the point that significant expenditures were imminent. Further, the surrounding neighborhood had deteriorated to such extent that there was concern for staff safety, particularly in leaving the building after peak business hours.​A market assessment indicated a likely sales price sufficient to fully offset office space rental from the investment proceeds of sale of the building. Offers were received and the best offer accepted, and the transaction was completed. The funds are not anticipated to cover operating losses, but rather to be invested. The related interest earned is anticipated to fully cover the cost of office space rental, and most staff working remotely. 2024 Budget Proposal – Treasurer Woods then provided an overview of the proposed 2024 budget, which included the proposed increase in membership dues, as well as stringent belt-tightening plans, and made the statement that MBCA was simply going to have to manage to the budget in order to successfully stem the financial drain on the asset base. He reviewed the proposed budget with selected line item analyses, and explained where revenue enhancements and projected cost savings were anticipated sufficient to achieve a net operating surplus in the 12 month period ending December 31, 2024. Charles expressed confidence that with continual monitoring and corrective action where needed in key areas, that the projected financial performance can be achieved. After discussion, a motion to approve the budget was approved unanimously. Dues Increase - Prior to this Fall National Board Meeting, a dues increase draft was circulated to all board members describing particulars of our dues history, our financial situation, and a structural proposal of a dues increase. Subsequently a called meeting including substantially all board members addressed the needs and a recommended plan for a dues increase coming from the Executive Committee. This discussion included extended Q&A from participants, and addressed justification, increase history, timing, amounts, structure, and intended financial impacts. During this called board meeting, and after extensive discussion regarding options on dues increases, a motion was suggested by Steve Dierks to increase dues, reinstitute funds-sharing with sections, and accommodate multi-year membership discounts. The motion was approved unanimously. Upon subsequent discussion and agreement by the board, the motion was amended slightly and unanimously approved by the board. 2024 annual dues will be $85 with $10 per member to related section; 2025 dues of

$100 with $15 per member to section. Also approved was a lifetime membership of $1,500 with $150 to section, as well as a 24 month rate of $185 with $18 to section. Approval of 2024 Budget – Charles presented the proposed budget for 2024 highlighting some key areas. After discussion of several areas of the proposed budget, a motion to approved the budget as presented was made, seconded and unanimously approved. Unfinished Business – Terry Kiwala was called on as chair of the Elections Committee. Terry referenced his submitted report, and with nothing new to add, entertained questions. There were none. Laura Simonds, chair of the Governance Committee, reported that during the upcoming executive session the Governance Committee would not be presenting any candidates to fill vacant slots. She recounted that during the spring annual meeting, the Board approved that, due to the work on the bylaws underway and the likelihood of restructuring of the board, the Governance Committee suspend the process of filling vacancies. Grande – Roger Brummett provided an overview of the Grande in September in Indianapolis, IN, and shared a video of the event including the activities, sponsors, and the many attendees who enjoyed the fun. Roger stated that attendees came from 25 states, and that top line revenues exceeded $90,000 with an estimated break-even bottom line for the first year event, and invited some others on the call for testimonies. Executive Session commenced upon motion, second and unanimous vote. Past President Julie Bruggner facilitated the executive session. Elections – Upon exit from executive session, Julie announced the following as national officers for the 2024 year: President, Drew Webb; Vice President, Steve Ross; Treasurer, Charles Woods; Secretary, William Parrish. Secretary Parrish announced scheduled national board meetings as follows: Spring: Saturday, April 20 11:00am ​ Fall: Saturday, November 16 11:00am. NOTE: Board meetings will be via Zoom and are mountain time. President Webb thanked Julie for stepping back on the board to help through the transition in the absence of a president, and recognized the vital role and voice she provided in the transition. A motion was made, seconded and approved unanimously to recognize Doug Geganto’s service with a Past President’s lifetime membership to MBCA, which includes subscription to the Star magazine. President Webb expressed his appreciation at being elected, and asked for board members to work hard to bring in new members, to serve on committees to help further the cause of MBCA, and to represent positivity throughout the regions and sections, and in your interactions with membership. The meeting was adjourned at 12:46pm mountain. NEWS



MBCA to host Watkins Glen Track Day Second opportunity at Talladega in April


re you interested in driving your Mercedes-Benz on a racetrack? How about at one of the most iconic and storied tracks in the country – Watkins Glen International in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. MBCA is teaming up with Lotus Ltd to put on a High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) event at Watkins Glen on Wednesday, May 29th. A combination of classroom and in-car instruction will teach you how to negotiate challenging turns safely, smoothly, and quickly. The result – you’ll understand your car’s handling, you’ll become a safer driver, and you’ll have fun doing it! So, what is HPDE? It’s not racing, and it’s not competition. We don’t time the laps and we don’t give out awards. We do start with the basics, from driving position, terminology, and how to smoothly drive a corner, then proceed to more advanced concepts like analyzing a turn and weight transfer. We never push you to drive any faster than you’re comfortable. Cars of all

makes are welcome, and you don’t have to be an MBCA member. MBCA Performance Driving Committee Chair Gary Edwards comments, “I’ve attended this Watkins Glen event for the last two years and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s 865 miles from my home and worth the trip. Folks often ask about performance modifications for their car, but for most of us investing in improving our driving skills will provide vastly greater payoff.” The price is $495 ($95 for instructors) and registration will be at, log in and search for Watkins Glen May 29th. If Watkins Glen on May 29th doesn’t match your schedule, Alabama/NW Florida and Peachtree Sections are teaming up to return to Talladega Gran Prix Raceway on Saturday April 20th. This is not the NASCAR oval track, but rather a fun, nearly flat 1.4-mile road course in Munford, Alabama with plenty of run-off, easy enough for a novice to learn, but subtly challenging enough for experienced drivers to enjoy. We’re going to limit this event to 30 drivers, so sign up now! Cost is $300; for details/registration, visit For both events, we also offer Performance Driving Experience (PDE), which allows you to get a taste of the track at lower speed and lower cost of $100. This includes all the classroom instruction of HPDE, and two sessions on the track, one ride-along with an instructor and one with you driving your car at highway speeds with an instructor. If you’re not quite ready for HPDE, this is a good way to see if it’s for you.

2009 Mercedes- Benz C- Class #12 Black & White

The Original Auto Mat. Coco Mats. First introduced by Mercedes-Benz in the 1950’s as a factory accessory for all of their car models, Kokosmatten (Coco Mats) were used as the original floor mat with the great benefit that the dirt and sand would filter thru and not sit on top of the mat. This benefit still holds true today. Available for all Mercedes-Benz models. Hand Made in U.S.A.™ 1.800.461.3533

Above: High Performance Driver Education is a great way to get to know your Mercedes-Benz at speed while minimizing dangers.

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THE STAR ND • 2023




experience, and it will always open the pod bay doors for you. The MBUX Virtual Assistant unveiled at CES 2024 is the most humanlike interface yet offered with a Mercedes-Benz. The assistant presents a new face to the customer with natural and empathetic interactions. The AI has four different emotions to stay in tune with customer needs, and is designed to make life easy, convenient and comfortable.

New driver assistance features

Mercedes-Benz announced another milestone by launching Drive Pilot – the first and only certified system for SAE Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the U.S. that is approved in the states of California and Nevada. Level 3 automation allows the driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel, as long as attention remains on the road. Customer deliveries of 2024 EQS sedan and S-Class models equipped with Drive Pilot are due to start in early 2024 through participating authorized Mercedes-Benz dealers in California and Nevada. Drive Pilot is available on select EQS sedan and S-Class models and can be activated via the U.S. Mercedes me connect store. The EQS sedan is now also available with the new Executive Interior Package that significantly improves comfort in the rear.

All-new CLA Class Unveiled in Vegas Mercedes-Benz also announces new user experience enhancements at Consumer Electronics Show


ercedes-Benz recently revealed an exciting range of new products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The Star was on hand to be among the first to see how the company will transform the customer experience, both in-car and beyond.

North American premiere of the Concept CLA Class All eyes were focused on the new Concept CLA Class, which celebrated its North American debut at CES. Designed on the new Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA), this car 16

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redefines an entire class with its innovative electric drive and forward-looking sustainability. The Concept CLA Class is capable of a predicted singlecharge range of more than 466 miles. This comes from a new Mercedes electric drive unit, which delivers up to 93 percent efficiency from battery to wheels over long distances. The 800-volt architecture also enables high-power 300+ kW DC charging, which can deliver up to 248 miles of range in 15 minutes. Executives stated that there will be a total of four Mercedes models based on the MMA – a four-door coupe, a shooting brake (station wagon), and two SUVs.

New Virtual Assistant

The company also announced a new MBUX Virtual Assistant that uses generative artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced 3D graphics to help interactions between the customer and vehicle become more natural, intuitive and personalized. Running on the new Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS), the MBUX Virtual Assistant will pave the way for an extraordinary digital

Above: The CLA Class concept and the new MBUX Virtual Assistant screen were available for exploration in Las Vegas.



TECH Crash Testing

In the 2024 model year Mercedes lineup, driver assistance and safety systems can help you avoid collisions or temper their consequences. Still, it is essential to be prepared for the worst. Crash tests help engineers understand how the whole, finished car handles collisions of various types, and what forces are exerted on the human bodies inside the car. Prior to any series production, every Mercedes model is put through no fewer than 15,000 accident simulations on the computer, and about 150 real life crash tests conducted at the Technology Centre.

Setting up for Safety

Wrecking Cars to Save Lives

The Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety keeps your Mercedes-Benz at the forefront of passenger protection


or more than 60 years, the crash testers from MercedesBenz have been having a truly smashing time in the name of accident safety. Today, every new MercedesBenz model under development is tested at the company’s Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety in Sindelfingen. After a three-year construction period and investment of €200 million (about $218.5 million), the state-of-the-art facility opened in 2016. The facility covers 55,000 square meters and has the capability to analyze a collision down to hundredths and even thousandths of a second.

For a look at the sophistication of crash testing, the longest track run at the Centre measures more than 200 meters. In order to obtain data that can be reproduced exactly, the track must be completely level. Over the length of the track the vertical tolerance is an incredible five millimeters per 100 meters. Furthermore, nothing is allowed to wobble when the sensors make contact with the sheet metal of the car. This allows the engineers to create a point-by-point and micrometer-precise digital 3D image of the vehicle body before, during, and after the collision. To get this level of stability, around 500 concrete pillars support the ground plate and descend as far as 18 meters into the ground.

Of course, Mercedes-Benz has a long history of leading on safety, from the invention of the crumple zone in the 1950s through the development of the Pre-Safe system that automatically tightens seatbelts and prepares headrests and windows when a crash is imminent. Newer Mercedes vehicles even emit pink noise, triggering the inner ear to protect your hearing from the air pressure of impact. The Technology Centre allows Mercedes to conduct vehicle-to-vehicle and barrier crash tests with a variety of speeds, pairing of vehicles, and overlaps. The Centre is also used to develop crash mitigation systems and for the verification of vehicle concepts using the latest alternative fuel drive systems.

Vision 2050

Mercedes-Benz has committed itself to the goal of collision-free driving. In 2022, the company instituted Vision 2050 with the goal that over the ensuing 28 years, MercedesBenz vehicles would improve so that they simply do not have accidents. It’s a tall order, but there are achievable milestones along the way. One stated objective is to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities by 50 percent no later than 2030.

Five Things to Know about the Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety

There are around 70 different crash configurations, including frontal, rear, side, rollover, and vehicle-to-vehicle.

The crash tests are documented by using high-speed cameras shooting up to 1000 images per second.

At least one test body shell for each Mercedes-Benz model series is kept in stock for ongoing testing.

About 120 test dummies are used for testing. Each costing up to €700,000 ($764,000) with up to 220 measuring points.

Mercedes-Benz conducts around 1700 sled tests per year at the technology center.

Above: Highly sophisticated crash test dummies can cost over $750,000 apiece, but the data they provide saves countless lives.

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TECH Crash Testing

Prior to any series production, every Mercedes model is put through no fewer than 15,000 accident simulations...

Computer-Aided Development

Computer simulation allows the maturity level of test vehicles to be improved even before the first real-world crash test. However, real crash tests are essential for sound vehicle safety development, and crash tests begin early in the development cycle of any vehicle. The facilities at the Technology Centre offer a wide range of options: cars can be driven into each other at any imaginable angle – even automated driving maneuvers with a subsequent crash are possible. Possible collisions with differing overlap angles or side-impact tests with two moving vehicles can also be simulated. Before a model is released, crash tests include fully equipped production cars with test dummies. Sometimes they are flung into each other, but other times they crash under their own power with their engines running. In some setups, individual components can be tested on speed sleds. In those cases there is no real collision; the sled is merely braked abruptly. This allows the Centre to re-use some car bodies through multiple tests. To sum it all up, it would be hard to find an accident scenario that couldn’t be reproduced in Sindelfingen. The result of the investment, technology, hard work, and passion for human life of the Mercedes-Benz engineers is that your Mercedes is as well-made and safe as it can possibly be.

Above: Note the glass floor in the crash test centre. Cameras in the floor record what happens under the car as well as cameras from the sides and above.

20 THE STAR | 2024 | 2

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RACING 2023 IGTC Endurance Racing Championship






wo privateer Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams concluded the 2023 motorsport season in a perfect way during the finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli (IGTC). For the first time in his career, Performance Driver Jules Gounon of Andorra was crowned as the drivers’ champion of the intercontinental endurance race series at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Together with his teammates Maximilian Götz and Fabian Schiller of Germany, he raced the #14 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas to third place. “An unbelievable end to this season,” Gounon said after the race. “The championship title in the Intercontinental GT Challenge feels like the unofficial world championship. I would like to thank Mercedes-AMG. The past three years were unbelievable. We have won so much together, it is just crazy. I am already looking forward to the upcoming years in which we hopefully will celebrate a similar number of achievements.” After 348 laps, the overall win in the Lenovo Gulf 12 Hours

went to the #99 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM entry with Maro Engel and Luca Stolz of Germany and Mikaël Grenier of Canada. With this double podium result, Mercedes-AMG moved up to the top of the manufacturers’ standings and thus secured the trophy for the best manufacturer for the second consecutive year. “After the successful start at Bathurst, we sometimes had difficulties in the course of the season in showing the required performance,” mused Christoph Sagemüller, head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. “Now, of course, we are very happy that we are able to celebrate the drivers’ championship for Jules Gounon and the manufacturers’ championship for Mercedes-AMG on top after a thrilling 12-hour race here

Opposite: Jules Gounon led his team to a 2023 driver’s championship in the No. 14 AMG. Above: The No. 99 of Maro Engel and Luca Stolz won the final race of the 2023 season. Right: (l-r) Luca Stolz, Mikaël Grenier, and Maro Engel.



RACING 2023 IGTC Endurance Racing Championship

in Abu Dhabi. All in all, it was an intense and demanding year for everyone, so therefore, I am very proud of everyone involved, they have absolutely deserved this success with their relentless efforts.” Four drivers had come to the United Arab Emirates with realistic chances of winning the IGTC drivers’ title. Jules Gounon was the favourite going into the race, eight and 14 points ahead of Philipp Eng of Austria and Dries Vanthoor of Belgium respectively. Fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Luca Stolz also had mathematical chances of winning the title, 18 points down. In the manufacturers’ standings, Mercedes-AMG was in the hunter’s role, nine points in arrears. During the four-part qualifying on Saturday, twice interrupted by red flags, the Mercedes-AMG Teams got themselves the necessary confidence for this achievement. Maro Engel, Mikaël Grenier and Luca Stolz secured pole position with the #99 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in an action-packed session. Maximilian Götz, Jules Gounon and Fabian Schiller sat outside on the front row for Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas.

Racing for two championships

At the start of the race, some strategic moves and unexpected flag calls scrambled the field, and it took a few hours for the drivers to sort themselves out again. After a little over four hours, Maximilian Götz took the overall lead with the #14 Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas car and thus placed his teammate Jules Gounon into the best possible position for the title battle. At the halfway point of the race, the #99 car was in third place overall. A safety car intervention bunched up the field once again for the final third of the race. The race-leading Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas used this down time to replace the brakes that were under particular load on the 5.281-kilometer track. After that, the #14 Mercedes-AMG GT3 rejoined the race in third place. At this time, enough had transpired that this position would be sufficient for

Jules Gounon to secure the drivers’ championship. As the #99 car moved up into the race lead by virtue of a quick pit stop by Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM, Mercedes-AMG claimed the lead of the manufacturers’ standings as well. With a faultless performance in the remainder of the race, the drivers held on to their promising positions. Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM with Maro Engel, Mikaël Grenier and Luca Stolz took third overall for Mercedes-AMG. Jules Gounon was crowned the Intercontinental GT Challenge drivers’ champion for the first time. After the success for Daniel Juncadella of Spain last year, this is the second consecutive title as well as the third in the eight-year IGTC history for a Mercedes-AMG Driver. During the season, Jules Gounon finished on the podium in all of the five endurance races. With the overall win at Yas Marina Circuit, Luca Stolz secured runner-up spot in the drivers’ standings. The #77 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM car with Lucas Auer of Austria and young drivers Frank Bird of the UK and Lorenzo Ferrari of Italy rounded out a strong result in fourth place. By virtue of the fantastic overall achievement in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes-AMG concluded the year in first place of the manufacturers’ standings, bringing the manufacturers’ trophy home to Affalterbach. “First of all, I am happy that we have won and that I still became runner-up, of course,” Stolz said. “The season got off to a good start with our victory at Bathurst. After that, it wasn’t always easy. Therefore, it is even more beautiful to conclude the year with a win.”

Down-ticket victories as well

The race weekend in Abu Dhabi also brought success in the Amateur drivers (noted as Am) class. Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman and Ian Loggie of the UK drove the #3 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by 2 Seas Motorsport to second place in their category. Dominik Baumann of Austria, Philip Ellis of Switzerland, Kenny Habul of Australia and Martin Konrad of Austria were also on course for a Pro-Am class podium result for a long time with the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing entry. Due to an engine issue, however, they had to park their car for safety reasons with five minutes remaining in the race. Top: Jules Gounon celebrates his driver’s title. Above: Christoph Sagemüller of Mercedes-AMG and Jules Gounon savor the driver and manufacturer titles.

26 THE STAR | 2024 | 2


Mercedes-AMG Petronas waits for a new car and anticipates a great season B







anuary is a strange time for Formula 1. It’s a period when a world normally driven by engineering precision, cutting edge technical advancement and stone-cold data analysis is given over to more human emotions such as excitement, wonder, and above all, hope. For Mercedes-AMG Petronas, it’s a hope that things might be better, faster, and more entertaining this time around. The kind of hope that infuses you before a new road-trip or a long-awaited movie. This hope will continue to burn brightly until the checkered flag falls at the end of the opening race. By then, some of the key trends will already have been set for the season, and we might know whether F1 is in for a blockbuster campaign or another wondrous demonstration of perseverance that tests the determination of all involved. That hope will then turn to optimism as teams make plans to either maintain an advantage or stage a recovery. As The Star goes to press, the Mercedes-AMG F1 team’s new W15 chassis has yet to be unveiled. That will happen on the 14th of February, and the first race is still weeks away after that. But the first positive clues of what may be in store for 2024 have already emerged. Team Principal Toto Wolff, who is also a 33% shareholder in the team, has confirmed he’ll remain at the helm until at least 2026, while Technical Director James Allison is also locked in for the long term. This brings vital stability at a time when the team is building back from two bruising seasons. N









challenge, he was disqualified for a ride height infringement. The root of the issue was that Mercedes decided to perfect its 2022 concept last year, and by the time the team realized that the aerodynamic development curve was limited, and that revisions were needed, the game was already up. Revisions, introduced at Monaco in May and throughout the rest of the season, tried to access more of the downforce available at a higher ride height, The engineers improved some of the issues, but they also built in an inherent layer of conservatism. Moreover, the car’s turn-in instability remained, as did the low overall downforce. The result was that Hamilton, and his teammate George Russell, simply could not marshal the pace nor manage the W14’s tire degradation to the same standards as Red Bull.

Reasons for optimism

No F1 technical team is made of one person, nor is that person solely responsible for success or failure. Yet as Wolff himself says, Allison is ‘the most impressive technical leader in our sport,’ and that Allison is armed with a ‘gladiator spirit’ as he leads from the front. But even that gladiator spirit admits that, for him at least, this time of year is more anxiety-ridden than any other point during the season. “I don’t think any team has ever been anything other than apprehensive at this time of the year,” said Allison, in a specialist media call in January. “Apprehension, coupled with excitement, coupled with frightened.”

A hard year in 2023

But that’s understandable because there is a great deal riding on the 2024 season. In 2023, Mercedes experienced its first winless F1 season since 2011. Having worked tirelessly to coax performance from its recalcitrant and bad tempered W14 race car, the team has been forced to watch as rival Red Bull Racing produced the most dominant and successful F1 season in the 73-year history of the sport. Max Verstappen, now a three-time world champion, recorded an astonishing 19 grands prix victories, while his teammate Sergio Perez won two of the other three. Only Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz broke the hegemony, in Singapore. Such was the RB19s advantage, that even when Verstappen was hamstrung in qualifying, he simply drove through the field, and perhaps only once – in Austin – later in the season, was Sir Lewis Hamilton able to mount anything like a competitive challenge to the Dutchman. When Hamilton did mount a

Nevertheless, second in the FIA F1 Constructors’ Championship is a clear indication of the level at which this team operates. So it is tantalizing to imagine what could be achieved if the baseline product begins the season from a higher starting point. Allison and his team believe this is possible with the changes they’ve made to this year’s car. “We hope we have done a good enough job with the new car and have addressed some of the shortcomings that were so publicly on display with it last year,” said Allison. “We hope that some of the more spiteful characteristics of the rear end of our car will be a bit more friendly to us, and the handling of the car. That’s all in the simulation, but nevertheless we’ve got reasonable grounds to believe that we’ve made some gains. “On top of that, you’ve got all the normal housekeeping type stuff of just making it lighter, making it more ‘downforcy’ and hopefully getting a bit of uplift from the power unit side, with the calibration level tinkering that they’re still capable of doing under these current rules.” “Whether it’s enough, time will tell. But it’s nevertheless going to be interesting because we saw some things we knew were problems. We have hypothesized what the reason for those problems were, and we fixed those. It will be interesting to find out how accurate we’ve been.”

Above: Team Principal Toto Wolff and driver George Russell both have to wait to find out how this year’s car will perform in the real world.

30 THE STAR | 2024 | 2

2024 MBCA Trips to Germany TRAVEL DATES AND RATES FOR 2024

June 3-9 September 16-22 The rate will again be: $3,300 double occupancy $3,600 single occupancy Reserve your trip today by visiting:

Take MBCA’s guided trip through the Stuttgart Region and experience the rich heritage of Mercedes-Benz first-hand. Hundreds of MBCA Members and guests have traveled to Stuttgart and many have joined us multiple times. Enjoy VIP destinations, accommodations, and five-star cuisine. No worries, just “WOW!” on this command-performance excursion for Members, families, and friends. Enjoy captivating guided tours of the Carl Benz Museum in Ladenburg; the AMG facilities in Affalterbach; the Mercedes-Benz Museum and Brand Center in Unterturkheim; the Technical Museum in Sinsheim; and the Classic Center in Fellbach. We’ll also be visiting the Sindelfingen assembly plant that covers more ground than the entire principality of Monaco. And that’s just for starters! See for yourself why this trip is consistently voted Nummer Eins (Number One) by discriminating travelers.

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A long dry spell

Formula 1 is moving into the third season of the current ‘ground effect’ rules, and there is good reason to expect a level of convergence among the top teams. Red Bull’s development curve must naturally shallow out and its rivals will opt for proven technical paths that close the gap. Assuming that the world champion team, which stopped developing their RB19 fairly early in the season, doesn’t throw its rivals another curveball, Allison expects the competition to be closer at the sharp end of the field. “If you look at last year from the beginning to the end of the season, although Red Bull’s dominance was near complete, and they didn’t look vulnerable until the end of last year, this is a grid that is gradually compressing. And all the cars in Q1 were sort of squashed down within one second of each other [in lap time] and that’s not coincidence. It’s a trend that has happened in 2022, continued through ’23 and will happen again in ’24. My guess is it’s going to be busier at the front this time around than last and if we are good enough to be in that fight, then operational things like driver excellence, reliability of the car, the skill of the crew that service it; all of those things become the differentiating factors and hopefully there too we’ve given a good wash and brush up to performances that were less than stellar last year.”

For Sir Hamilton, it is now 45 races without a victory – the last of his record 103 wins, unfathomably, came at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Yet in 2023 the 39-year-old still delivered a campaign that saw him finish as ‘best of the rest’ and as top racer within the Mercedes team. In a recent Autosport magazine interview, he said that he is still operating within a window where experience and talent is a superior toolset when wedded to ambition, than perhaps is the raw pace of youth. And as Hamilton said himself, this is not his first fallow period. “I had bad years when I was a kid,” he said. “2009, the car (McLaren) was horrendous. We did have a win through the year because we had a second upgrade in the season. 2010-11, also not great years. It’s maybe the biggest drought in terms of success, but it’s been similar to those seasons. I’m 39 now and I feel great in my body. That’s due to certain tools that I have been able to accumulate during these two years.” “Ultimately, when you have difficult seasons like this, there are always going to be moments where you’re like: ‘Is it me or is it the car? Do you still have it? Has it gone?’ But when the magic happens, when everything comes together, the car and you get that spark, it’s extraordinary – and that’s what you’re in the search for. You’re going to be stuck with me for a bit longer.” As for Russell, it’s very clear that the 25-year-old had a tougher second season than his debut campaign for Mercedes. If he was given the right car, he would absolutely be a championship challenger, just as would his illustrious teammate. Wolff thinks so too, saying, “George is a fast, pragmatic, hardworking young driver. He absolutely respects Lewis as a teammate, but at the same time he tries to beat him while he’s learning. He’s absolutely met our expectations. George is our future, and when I look at the young men in current Formula 1, he’s the one that I would want in the car.” So the right drivers are in place, the answers to the car are coming, and the belief is that finally Mercedes is on the right track. Will it all add up to a winning combination in 2024? We hope so!

Above: Every racing team wins or loses as a team, and that includes engineers and crew as well as the famous drivers.

32 THE STAR | 2024 | 2

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FIRST DRIVE panel, infotainment touchscreen, and passenger dash. The crisp graphics of the MBUX system are stunning, and the functionality gets more intuitive with each iteration. Mercedes-Benz promises expanding over-the-air (OTA) upgrade capability. Beyond these subtle differences, the significant difference between the gas and electric SUVs is obvious: The propulsion, engine vs. motor. Electric is not for everybody – not yet, and maybe not ever. But when it is well-executed, like in the EQE, it’s pretty great. The EQE takes advantage of three critical electric strengths: quickness, quietness, and ride quality. Torque is the twisting force that makes a car jump off the line. Electric powertrains have all their torque available from a standstill, so they can start quickly. The EQE 450 packs 564 lb-ft of torque – much more than the 369 lb-ft the GLE 450 we’ve used for a rough comparison. The GLE can win a sprint to 60 mph, but the EQE has the torque to squirt into openings and maneuver in traffic. Electric motors are not silent, but they are substantially quieter than gas powertrains. Mercedes-Benz has always excelled at insulating its cabins from engine and road noise. Still, the lower baseline of sound in the EV means they can concentrate on door and window seals and other details to truly calm the interior of the EQE to an almost eerie degree. Since the dawn of the SUV, engineers have struggled to manage body roll and the tippy feeling you can get going around a curve in a tall vehicle. The EV powertrain allows engineers to redefine the weight distribution in an SUV, lowering its center of gravity by moving the heavy components, chiefly the battery packs, down low. As a result of this strategy, the EQE feels planted and secure, never tippy, in curves and corners, and handles beautifully. The vicissitudes of range and charging infrastructure still make the GLE a better choice for a road trip. The EQE 350

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 4Matic SUV First Drive Quickness, quiet, and quality make this midsize SUV a winner By Jason Fogelson


he current buzz about electric vehicles (EVs) fluctuates from high voltage to disconnected. While some auto manufacturers seem to be rewiring their circuits, Mercedes-Benz generates flow. The company continues to create EV analogs to its gasoline models, building a parallel universe of EQ vehicles. You can recognize the gas version in the EV, but each has a unique character and approach to transportation. 34 THE STAR | 2024 | 2

We spent some time driving the Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 4Matic SUV, which starts at $77,900. The EQE sits in the middle of the lineup, matching up with the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic SUV (starting at $69,500), a vehicle of similar size and standard features. The EQE doesn’t shout “EV” from a distance, but a closer look reveals a sleek, aerodynamic exterior design that’s a little lower and a little rounder than the GLE. The overall shape is more modern, elegant, and attractive than the gas version. The difference reads as an update and an upgrade. The front grille area spotlights a prominent three-pointed star but isn’t an actual grille, as it is closed off to airflow – the giveaway that you’re looking at an EV. While the area under the hood teems with technology, there’s no engine or radiator to cool, so the engineers can maximize efficiency by directing airflow around the body rather than through it. In the cabin, the subtle upgrade strategy applies. The interior feels like the next generation of Mercedes-Benz. Despite having a lower roofline than the GLE, the greenhouse in the EQE is light and airy. The highlight is the dash, with a single glass panel from side to side covering the digital instrument

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 4Matic SUV Type

Five-Passenger Midsize SUV


Dual Electric Motor/All-Wheel Drive


Permanently Excited Synchronous


Lithium-Ion, 10 Cell Blocks

Charging Time

9.5 Hours (Level 2, 10 – 100%); 32 Minutes (DC Fast Charging, 10 – 80%)


288 hp


564 lb-ft



Overall Length

191.5 In


66.3 In

Curb Weight

5,635 Lbs

Epa Estimated Range

253 Miles

Acceleration 0-60 Mph

6.2 Sec

Top Speed

130 MPH (Electronically Limited)

4Matic’s range is estimated at 253 miles on a full charge, and you’ll need 9.5 hours at Level 2 (240 volts) to get it from 10 – 100% charge. The batteries can accept DC fast charging if you can find it in your area to go from 10 – 80% charge in 32 minutes. You’ll still be an early adopter if you choose an EQE and deal with some challenges along the way. You’ll probably witness significant technology advances passing you by during your ownership as the EV world expands and develops. But while you drive your EQE, you’ll experience driving pleasure, efficiency, and elegance. And maybe that’s enough to give you a real charge. FIRST DRIVE



Mecum Kissimmee Edition J

anuary is prime auction season for classic and youngtimer collectible cars, and the whole season kicks off with two weeks of amazing collector car sales at the Mecum Auction in Kissimmee, Florida. If you want to find a special car, this is where you start looking. For Mercedes-Benz buyers, this year’s Kissimmee auction was a one-stop shop. Everything you could possibly want was here, from pristine Gullwings to affordable first cars for your teenager. We picked out four representative Kissimmee sales that illustrate the state of the market as we begin the 2024 season.

1956 300SL

Black over red with Rudge knockoff wheels Lot S161.1 | VIN: 1980406500214 | 57,776 miles

2011 G55 AMG Repainted BMW Yas Marina Blue Lot J244 | VIN: WDCYC7BFXBX189197 | 98,904 miles

1970 250C

White over blue MB-Tex Lot D161 | VIN: 11402312001930 | 7,436 miles

$51,700 _

$6,050 _

Everyone loves a G-Wagen, and this 2011 G55 AMG is part of the final year of the G55 model. Even better, this Wagen has a number of personalized touches from the Designo catalog, setting it slightly apart from the norm. The windows have been tinted and feature new seals, a black-finished grille guard has been installed, and the standard black trim has been retained for a black and blue look. Even the wheels are wrapped with Toyo tires and have been powder coated gloss black with a subtle blue ring around the outer edges. This G55 is powered by a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine, rated at 500 horsepower. With this example, we’re getting into the fun part of the Mecum Kissimmee auction: cars that mere mortal humans can afford. We don’t necessarily want to get into the maintenance costs on a 100,000-mile G-Wagen, or why the previous owner had it repainted, because there could be a sad and expensive story there. But if you want to roll in a G and get all up in everyone’s face, this was your car to buy in Florida. This thing is fast, loud, not even a little bit subtle, and utterly glorious. At $51,000, this AMG G-Wagen was about one-third the price of most other G-Wagens in the auction. Maybe the purchaser will live to regret buying the cheap one, but not for a while.

2021 AMG GT Black Series P One Edition

Hand-painted Mercedes star pattern livery LOT S123 | VIN: W1KYJ8BA3MA041667 | 73 miles

$753,500 _


One of only 24 produced for the U.S. market out of a reported total of 40 cars worldwide, the 2021 P One Edition is distinguished by its unique Cirrus Silver and Obsidian Black livery inspired by the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport F1 W10 Formula 1 racer. The finish incorporates the three-pointed star logo in a hand-painted pattern progressing from the doors to the rear of the car. The car is powered by the M178 twin-turbocharged 4.0L V-8 engine, rated at 720 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. The sales price of $753,500 is on the low end of the usual asking price for these cars. Several have been offered for sale, generally between $750,000 and $800,000. RM Sotheby’s sold one last summer in Monterey for $775,000 with 32 miles on the odometer. This one is comparable, and it sold for comparable money. It seems clear that these will forever be ultra-low-miles collectibles – more akin to a work of art than a real car that you might actually drive.

This 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing has been refinished in the period-correct color combination of black (DB 040) over a red leather interior (1079). The car was the subject of a comprehensive, no-expense-spared restoration by RM Auto Restoration, which recently produced the Pebble Beach-Winning 1937 540K Special Roadster (See “Fit for a King” Nov-Dec 2023). This Gullwing was sold in early 1957 to its first owner, Raymond F. Corley of Toronto, Ontario, who kept it for 50 years. The car has a matching numbers engine, the correct rearview mirror, Baisch-type lap belts, and color matched Rudge wheels. Special interior details include period-correct red plaid seat inserts as well as a new set of fitted red luggage. The sale price of just over $2 million is about half a million shy of top prices paid for steel-bodied Gullwings. Just last year at Kissimmee a 1955 Gullwing pulled $2,640,000 without being markedly better than this one. This could be a sign that bargains (if one can call a couple million bucks a bargain) will be available on top collectibles this year. 36 THE STAR | 2024 | 2



If you think that big auto auctions like Mecum Kissimmee are only about multi-million-dollar Gullwings, think again. There was a good selection of Mercedes-Benz options you could drive home for less than $10,000, and that’s typical of Mecum shows. Perhaps with some of the cheaper cars you only need to look at the photos to think, “Maybe I don’t want THAT one,” but there are also some real deals to be had at the low end of the price range. Consider this 1970 250C, for example. Obviously, it’s a coupe, which is one of the most stylish variants of the W114 platform. It comes with the 2.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine, with dual Weber carburetors and electronic ignition, boasting about 157 horsepower, which isn’t bad for about 3,000 pounds of curb weight. The most important thing is that this example sold for just over $6,000. Sure, if you go to the website and eagle-eye the photos, there are cracks in the dash and a few fix-its to take care of, but someone drove home in a classic Benz for pocket change. Certainly many have paid more and gotten less than this deal. It goes to show that even the most famous auctions have something for everyone, and the only way to know for sure is to attend and check it out for yourself.



Automotive archaeologist Randy Carlson discovers a dusty jewel in a dank cave Text and photos by Randy Carlson

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Prologue: Readers will remember that the cover of the January-February 2023 issue of The Star was graced with the breathtaking 1940 Rometsch custom cabriolet profiled in “Barn Find Fairy Tale” in the same issue. Now automotive archaeologist Randy Carlson has discovered another Mercedes-Benz, entombed for decades, and brought it back into the light. – JZ


here was a time not long ago as I was entering my Middle Ages that I had an awakening, as many of us do. I looked around at my life and career and indulged some deep thoughts about my path. I realized that I was in pretty good shape, all things considered. My business life has been in a field where I never grow tired, I have a wonderful family and a nice roof to keep my head dry on rainy days, and every time I open the fridge for a midnight snack, there is something in there to satisfy my craving. Life is good. Without a major life crisis to attend to I looked at everything I do and tried to focus on where my true happy place is. What is that thing that always excites me no matter what? Then I resolved to do more of that. That happy place is in a dusty garage or barn somewhere, looking at an old car that deserves rescuing. It’s a simple joy perhaps, and with it comes some serious commitment if I decide to drag that old heap out and do something with it. However, I realized that I get a fair bit of enjoyment out of all the things that happen after such a discovery. The more interesting the car is, the more exciting that path gets for me. I’m only one man though, and there are seemingly endless old cars out there sitting in various states of neglect. I have tried to pick my mountains to climb quite carefully. One recent “climb” involved rescuing and reviving a one-off coachbuilt 1940 Mercedes sport cabriolet (Jan-Feb 2023, “Barn Find Fairy Tale”). That project took me to truly dizzying heights. From the barn to the concours lawn, that one tested me and rewarded me with the most incredible trip through history as well as an opportunity to share the find with others through YouTube videos and magazine articles including The Star. While I may never find another car quite as spectacular as that one again in my life, I have continued the quest to put myself in that happy place as much as possible, even if I know I am not going to be bringing home a new project each and every time.

Opposite: The 190SL as it was discovered.

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How to turn a Porsche into a Mercedes-Benz

Recently, a longtime friend gave me a call and asked for my help. Some time ago he had purchased a project car from an old fellow who was a bit of a hermit. Over time he befriended this man and had been successful in bringing this old guy out of his shell and out of the house, taking him to car shows and the occasional lunch. Over a few years they really became buddies and it has been a wonderful thing to witness. The help that he called me in for, was to assist in getting this old fellow’s “pride and joy” (and his most valuable asset other than his home) out of the garage, and into new hands for the best price possible. The old guy needed the funds, my friend needed my help, and the adventure included a trip to my happy place, a dusty garage where a 1959 Porsche 356A had been sitting for over 35 years. Obviously, I was more than happy to assist. We pulled the old bathtub out of the garage and got some great photos and video of the process. It was a truly magic scene of a cluttered garage, with a dim lightbulb glowing on an amazing car and the grizzled old owner spouting tales of his glory days behind the wheel. I wanted that car in the worst way, but I had to keep my head about me. I was brought in to help, not to hunt, and quite frankly it was far bigger game than my wallet would have supported. 42 THE STAR | 2024 | 2

I proceeded with a clear head and heart and the end results of our efforts were that the car sold for what it was worth to a perfect new home where a father and son could work together to bring it back to life. The old guy got the payoff that he deserved and my friend and I had a good high five that we both added a nice deposit to our karmic accounts. The videos and photos I posted on the web went wild and a lot of folks got a chance to hear the story and to walk into that dusty garage with me to see that sleeping beauty. It was a win for all involved. That deposit into my karmic account ended up paying off quite quickly in the most unexpected way. A viewer of the video contacted me with another sleeping beauty of a car that needed rescuing. This one was a 1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL that belonged to a family member who had passed away, and the heirs needed to find it a good home. You can probably guess where this is headed, and shortly thereafter I found myself in my truck with trailer in tow, driving 500 miles north of my home to Berkeley, California to take a look. I had not yet seen the car or met the family member selling it, but I came prepared for whatever might come. I arrived late in the day as the light was getting soft and as I pulled into the neighborhood of wonderful vintage homes, I got that adrenaline rush of possibility. A worn wooden

Opposite and Above: This 190SL offers a host of challenges to a restorer, and we’ll revisit the project as it progresses to check in.



with flashlight in hand to see what the car was all about. As darkness fell on the neighborhood, I left them with an offer to sleep on and headed for the closest hotel for the night. Dreaming of the family stories of the car mixed with my personal memories of my own father’s 190SL and my childhood rides in it, I drifted off for the night, hoping somehow that the car might possibly follow me home. The next morning after a complimentary continental breakfast in the hotel lobby and perhaps a bit too much coffee, I made the phone call. The daughter asked if I was coming back to the house, which was definitely a good sign. The conversation continued and a counteroffer was made. A feeble attempt on my part to negotiate further gave way after a few calculating minutes, and I agreed to her price. It was more than I really wanted to spend, but at this point I was fully committed and quite frankly obsessed. I agreed and excitedly aimed back to the house. The next mountain to climb was in my sights and base camp was before me.

The long climb begins

The car was a challenge to extract, with flat tires and a frozen rear wheel, but a series of tugs from side to side with my winch eventually coaxed the old Benz out in the daylight and onto my

trailer. The daughter found the keys and some old paperwork for the car, which she handed over to my keeping. The receipts and service books showed it had spent its whole life in the area and that the owner religiously kept up with service until he parked it. The daughter left me with a smile and the kindest words; that she was happy that I was the one to get the car. She knew her dad would be happy too. I floated the whole 500 miles back home on that warm fuzzy feeling. The karmic payback was obvious: this was meant to be. Now that this 190SL is in my garage, the real climb still lies ahead. The car, while complete, has some issues thanks to its damp storage for all those years. There is some rust to repair, the paint is bubbled and peeling, and the engine appears to be stuck for the moment. The smell of damp garage has permeated everything around it and slowly but surely as I clean, it seems to lighten up a bit. Yet every time I touch this car, it rewards me with a shine returning to a part or the triumph of a freed-up mechanism. I’ve started to order parts for it and plan the next steps. There are many climbs ahead on this mountain, but it’s an adventure and I am going to savor every minute of what comes next. Stay tuned for updates on this 190SL’s return to glory in future issues of The Star.

single car garage door lifted to expose the scene. A nearly subterranean concrete vault of a garage and the smell of moisture greeted me, with a dusty 190SL up on blocks in the center. Parked in that space over 35 years ago, the Mercedes seemed to be a carbon copy of the Porsche situation, although in this scenario the longtime owner had passed away before realizing the car’s value.

Meeting the Mercedes

As I chatted with the owner’s daughter and inspected the car, I heard the story of the car and of her dad’s love for it. He always dreamed of getting it back out on the road, and she recalled the times Dad would pick her and her siblings up from school in the car when she was young. Her mother apparently was not fond of the car, as Dad had purchased it without family input. Further, the two-seat Benz was hardly the practical family car that she thought he should have as a young father in the 1960s. It was his baby though, and he held firm. The kids piled into the spaces with and without seats. Throwing caution to the wind, they all rolled through the high and low streets of Berkeley. I hung on every word of the story as I dug into the garage

Above: The car may be in bad shape, but at least it’s all there. The engine compartment shows no sign of improper replacements. Opposite: Once it had been cleaned up a little, this 190SL doesn’t look so bad, but there’s still a long road ahead before it’s ready to drive.

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Following in Bruco Sacco’s big footprints, Peter Pfeiffer more than proved his equal in designing MercedesBenz cars. Moreover, he did so in the midst of the controversial Daimler-Chrysler years when sharing platforms was the order of the day. by Karl Ludvigsen



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“When a customer stands in front of a Mercedes-Benz, he should think: I want that car.” This was the philosophy of Peter Pfeiffer, who headed the design of Daimler products from 1999 to 2008. In this post he was the successor to the legendary Italian-born designer Bruno Sacco, who had held the same position since 1977. Remarkably, Pfeiffer’s career at the helm of Mercedes-Benz design was in close synchronicity with the existence of the merged company DaimlerChrysler from its creation in 1998 to its dissolution in 2007. Born in August 1943 in Dallwitz, Pfeiffer lived his life according to Prussian punctuality and the Prussian motto: “Be more than you seem to be.” He grew up in Germany’s Franconia region, in the town of Schönbrunn near Staffelstein. After completing lower secondary school, Pfeiffer followed his father’s vocation by training as a porcelain modeller at the firm of Alboth & Kaiser in Staffelstein. Thereafter he attended the Technical College for Porcelain Design in Selb, also in Franconia. Well-schooled though he was in this demanding discipline, young Pfeiffer discovered a new world during a study trip to the Ford factory at Cologne. There he met Wesley Dahlberg, who designed the third-generation Ford 17M Taunus (Yes, not the Taurus, but the Taunus - Ed.) under design chief Uwe

Moving to Mercedes-Benz

In 1967, after five years in Cologne, Pfeiffer received a call that ultimately led to a change in location. His older colleague Josef Gallitzendörfer, also a Franconian with a career in porcelain similar to Pfeiffer’s, had moved from Cologne to the Stuttgart suburb of Sindelfingen to work for Daimler-Benz in its expanding styling department. Pfeiffer resisted these enticements for a year, but after contemplating the stature of the Mercedes-Benz marque and its history, at the age of 25 he decided to make the move. His possession of both design and modelling skills suited Pfeiffer to the sea change that was then under way at Sindelfingen. Mercedes-Benz was changing from elaborately crafted wooden models to clay models. These could be made more quickly and of course were more adaptable to improvements. The use of clay, and later plasticine, was accelerated by Gallitzendörfer and his close collaborator Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer also had a role in implementing the next revolution in design, from clay models to computer models based on computer-aided design (CAD). CAD greatly influenced the design process by reducing the time required for assessment and by enhancing the opportunity for creativity. By the end of the 20th century CAD allowed digital models submitted by many designers at remote Mercedes studios to be assessed in a room packed with state-of-the-art computer processing technology referred to as the Computer Aided Virtual Environment (CAVE). The CAVE supercomputer could create full-sized images of selected designs, using five projectors to show such detail that designers could inspect every inch of every surface rendered.

Making his mark

An example was the development of a new exterior design for the SL series that commenced on 27 January 1996. Ten designers in Germany, California and Japan submitted hundreds of sketches that formed the basis for 12 quarter-scale models that were digitized for computer manipulation. Design

Opposite Top: Pfeiffer, left, had a flair for precise detail that mirrored his training and success in the world of fine porcelain. It was a dramatic change that he enthusiastically accepted. Opposite Bottom: Pfeiffer didn’t neglect the sporty side of the Mercedes-Benz offering. Here he was more free to be adventurous and follow new paths.

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Bahnsen. Contrasting greatly with its “baroque” predecessor, this dramatically improved model won the friendly nickname of “Bathtub” for its smooth and harmonious lines. Dahlberg was a Swede who had been sent to Ford in Cologne to help build up its styling studio. There Dahlberg contributed to a design revolution at Ford’s European subsidiary with this new Taunus that enjoyed record sales in its cycle from 1960 to 1964. Showing initiative, Pfeiffer asked Dahlberg if a job was possible. As a test the youngster was asked to model a fender. He performed this so well that Pfeiffer was hired by Ford even though this wasn’t the future envisioned by the young man’s father.



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Mercedes doesn’t exclusively define itself through design. Mercedes also stands for innovation, high quality, safety. All these must be very closely interlinked.

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of the car code-named R230 progressed through two different formats. From the scale models the next stage was selection of four designs to be created as full-scale models. From these the final choice was made. Although the patent for the R230 design listed both Bruno Sacco and Pfeiffer, the latter was primarily responsible for the concept. Thus it was fitting that he presided at its introduction, having succeeded Sacco in 1999. Despite its larger size the new SL harmoniously married elegance with brand identity and sportiness. Its launch in 2001 attracted euphoric acclaim, commentators calling it the most beautiful Mercedes-Benz for some time. Its production ended in 2011 with 169,434 delivered. The 2004 introduction of the CLS Class on the E-Class platform was closely associated with Pfeiffer’s stewardship of the Mercedes-Benz idiom. This was the strikingly rakish “coupe” configuration which, though startling at first, soon won not only enthusiastic acceptance but also widespread emulation. Pfeiffer shared its design patent with Murat Günak and Hans-Dieter Futschik. In a patent application of June 2000 Pfeiffer was the sole

inventor of a wonderful miniature sports car that was fated never to reach production. It was striking for its big wheels on a short wheelbase, sculptured nose and grille and an industrially designed interior that broke with all traditions. This was the beginning of the DaimlerChrysler era. The men from Sindelfingen had to forge a working relationship with their counterparts in Auburn Hills. Said Pfeiffer, “I already knew Tom Gale, Trevor Creed and John Herlitz, who became Tom Gale’s successor. I had known these people on a personal level for a long time. We used to meet at Pebble Beach for the Concours d’Elegance and we frequently met at motor shows when the subject Mercedes/Chrysler wasn’t even under discussion. When the merger finally came, we already knew each other. It was easy for me to say, Let’s go to Detroit and pay them a visit. It was very exciting to find out what they were thinking and planning.”

How Mercedes-Benz designs cars

Working with the Americans gave Pfeiffer an outsider’s look at the traditional Mercedes-Benz design process. That deepened Pfeiffer’s understanding and appreciation for the unique qualities of Mercedes-Benz culture. “The design processes at Chrysler differed from what we do,” said Pfeiffer. “We build our models a lot more meticulously and include more design steps. On the other hand Chrysler built theirs a lot quicker than us. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. It was interesting to find out how fast they were and how that was possible and why we were doing it the way we did. In my opinion this was a matter of company philosophy.” “Ours is a successor philosophy,” the designer added. “What I mean by this is that we have an S Class for many generations, an SL for many generations and an E Class for many generations. If we then have a C Class, that too will have its successor. When we build an M Class, again there will be a successor. This is different at Chrysler or generally with the Americans. They prefer to jump from one point to another! I once jokingly called this their ‘gold-digger mentality.’ They find a nugget, look at it, and say ‘Wow!’ Then they go somewhere else to look for another one, whereas we would continue digging! We however would try to find an entire gold mine! “We did ask ourselves whether all our various design steps were really necessary,” Pfeiffer said, “or whether we could possibly speed up one or two of them or drop them completely. And Chrysler looked at our models and asked themselves how they could improve their own global appeal and create a safer basis for decision-making. The models we build look in no way different from the real cars. Chrysler has never done that.” “We built a complete mock-up out of man-made material on the basis of our clay model,” the stylist explained. “We use digital data and machine the model straightaway in our milling plant. We have an enormous milling plant that we have been using for many, many years. Some things are obviously done by hand, especially the finer aspects, but we use the milling

Opposite top: Design is always a collaborative process. Opposite bottom: This gives a sense of the authenticity of the full-sized images that could be projected by CAVE to form a convincing three-dimensional picture of a proposed design.



Brand image was crucial, and would continue to be so, but it was also important that Mercedes moved with the times without losing sight of its core values, an ability that brought it to unparalleled levels of qual­ity and technological development.

plant a lot. We can no longer imagine what it would be like to work without data models and milling machines.” “We and Chrysler also differed in respect of the role of styling,” added Pfeiffer. “You can certainly say that design played a much more important role for Chrysler than for Mercedes. My impression was that for Chrysler design is and has always been one of the decisive buying factors. When you look at the 300 model for example, that car is primarily purchased because it looks the way it looks!” “At Mercedes, design was and still is an important aspect — and it is actually getting more and more important — but it is only important for us in the way it is connected with

Reaching the peak

In April 1999 Peter Pfeiffer became Senior Vice President Design at DaimlerChrysler AG as well as Design Director of the Mercedes Car Group. His arrival at the top in Sindelfingen, after a 31-year career at Mercedes-Benz, was a sign of continuity with the brand’s past. “The DaimlerChrysler design organization that I found myself heading was caught up in sweeping changes, faced with new challenges on all sides. We were relaunching the Maybach brand, for instance, and diversify­ing the Smart range. Nor was the Mercedes brand static. In less than twenty years we had gone from three historic families — the S, E and C Classes — to an amazing array of offerings that brought a com­pletely new look to the brand. We preserved its unity, certainly, but also focused on each model’s individual identity. “Long gone were the days when policy dictated a strong family resemblance for all the classes, often giving the impression that the same body had been shrunk down — or pumped up — to create different models. Sure, brand image was crucial, and would continue to be so, but it was also important that Mercedes moved with the times without losing sight of its core values, an ability that brought it to unparalleled levels of qual­ity and technological development.” “And that’s not all,” the designer related. “We have styling that’s more evocative, more emo­tional in its appeal, than ever before. The CLS is an example of this evolution. The front end is dominated by the lines of the radiator of the SL sports car, and by

Opposite: Peter Pfeiffer made his mark with a series of memorable designs that ensured his place in Mercedes history.

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the technical side. Mercedes doesn’t exclusively define itself through design. Mercedes also stands for innovation, high quality, safety. All these must be very closely interlinked. A Mercedes that defines itself exclusively through its design is no longer an authentic Mercedes. Design is only one vital feature — all the others must be just as strong. Only then will you get an authentic Mercedes that can maintain our long tradition and deliver what our customers expect.” “What happens in the Mercedes design process is a certain give and take: innovative technology and engineering also offer an opportunity for new and innovative design! The two factors must be closely linked. It’s typical of Mercedes that it does not only concentrate on quality. You can compare it to decathletes: they can only win if they are more or less equally good in ten different disciplines! There will be some disciplines where they excel but that never means that other disciplines will be neglected, or they’ll never win the decathlon!” “The same applies to Mercedes,” Pfeiffer continued. “We decided for example not to try to be sportier than certain other manufacturers. However, we do want to have more comfortable cars than others! So this is a decathlon where we have to ask ourselves: where do we put the main emphasis at Mercedes? This of course doesn’t mean that we want to be unsporty! By no means! But we are not trying to outdo others in this area. It is not what we represent.”



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Though the general impression is one of solidity, the feeling that the car transmits is intensely emotional.”

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the transparent headlamps that lighten the volume as a whole. The transition from the headlamps to the fenders is very fluid, sculptural. The way the roofline flows into the elegant, almost classic, rear deck is direct, with the wheel arches creating a taut curve that animates the whole side and fills the shoulders with strength. Though the general impression is one of solidity, the feeling that the car transmits is intensely emotional.” “Inside there’s an air of refinement, redolent of the hand­ made and handcrafted, where luxury materials are not simply extraneous deco­ration but are true structure, an architec­tonic part of the whole. We try to make customers buy a Mercedes with their hearts, not just with their heads. Customers can take for granted that these are reliable cars, and let themselves be bewitched and seduced by the model that exercises the strongest attraction. True, there was a time when Mercedes were above all solid, dependable cars — full stop. Now they are also objects of desire, capable of fascinating and eliciting an aesthetic response at every level of the range.”

The Mercedes-Benz Design Center

The Sindelfingen headquarters is home to all the major design, product development and project management activities. A few kilometers from Stuttgart, it was built in 1995 with open airy spaces and functional work areas that the architect Renzo Piano filled with light and a sense of visual communication. The Design Center alone employs some 350 people in departments that design everything from passenger cars, vans, and light trucks to advanced and corporate design. “Each department is capable of taking on any kind of project,” said Pfeiffer, “from preliminary drawings to complete running prototypes, and each responds in real time to market demand. A good

example is the commercial vehicles divi­sion, which is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the increasingly impor­tant role played by styling for these kinds of vehicle. Models like the Viano minivan and Actros commercial truck bear witness to the fact that their aes­t hetic appeal now ranks right up there with serviceability in importance.” While he ran things, Pfeiffer kept a close eye on future trends through Mercedes’ advanced design studios around the world, like those in Como near Milan, Tokyo, and Irvine in the Los Angeles area. “These Design Centers,” he said, “were set up in 1995 to serve as our eyes and ears in these areas, helping us keep tabs on what’s going on. Those in Japan and Cali­fornia cover chiefly design and research of exteriors. They often take part in competitions for projects that will go into production. “Venice Beach in California or Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza have very little in common with a German city,” Pfeiffer mused. “But a Mer­cedes is always a Mercedes and must be able to adapt to all such places, with its own personality and its own character. The Como studio was set up to work with the latest trends in automotive inte­r ior design. We picked this area because it’s close enough to Milan to have the advantages of the city without the draw­backs. Como is synonymous with extremely high-quality craftsmanship, with a tradition of turning out stunning work with the very best materials.” “These design centers have fully independent model shops,” Pfeiffer explained, “and their contribution to projects that end up in series production is often extremely concrete. The Maybach design, for instance, originated from Tokyo after a competition with the Los Angeles stu­dio. For the Smart it was the other way around. The Los Angeles Design Center did a lot of work on the AAVision concept car that was presented in Detroit in 1996 to test the terrain for the M-Class SUV. The production car was then developed at Sindelfingen. “The debut of a new S-Class is always an exciting event for us,” added Pfeiffer. “As our flagship model, its presentation sums up the state of the art in our work and the future of the brand. The 2005 generation was bigger than the previous model; it had even more poise, status and an even more dominant character. The radiator grille was more upright and flowed into the central line of the hood. Its headlamps gave the car an enormous presence. The line of the headlamps that flows smoothly and directly into the fenders sets up a rhythm that accentu­ates the sense of solidity, of power. The general effect is rock-solid, powerfully dynamic.” When he stepped down in 2008 to hand the baton to Gorden Wagener, who had overseen the California and Japan design studios, Peter Pfeiffer had established separate images for the various product lines. Each model had a design that powerfully expressed its character and, above all, enduring robustness in a manner well out of the reach of rivals. This fundamental work was spiced with an adventurousness that appealed to the owner-driver who wanted something better, and who knew it when he saw it. This was the compelling effect that Peter Pfeiffer aimed for: to make each of us want to own a Mercedes-Benz.

Opposite top: Work with scale models was part of the process of car and truck design under Pfeiffer. His full-size models were milled to perfection by specialized equipment. Opposite bottom: Peter Pfeiffer with a concept drawing in the background






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By Jeri Barrett and The Star Staff | Photograpy by Denis Tanney



The car was frozen in place. The brake shoes were rusted to the brake drums. The 300d could not roll and would have to be dragged to move the car forward, closer to the barn door.


acked up in an old barn for ten years, dust had settled in to stay on every surface and crevice of the once-proud 1962 Mercedes-Benz W189 Model 300d sedan. The tires were flat, interior door panels were removed, and the dashboard had been gutted. The front clip was in the process of being dismantled, with the radiator, grille, and front bumper all removed, exposing the engine. An entire neighborhood of mice had nested in the trunk and back seat. The once luxurious red leather upholstery had been chewed so thoroughly that it was pockmarked with black holes. Even the carpeting had been shredded for nesting material. The back story was pretty typical, really. Ten years prior, a man had begun his long-awaited retirement restoration project. However, just as he got started he was derailed by an illness that ultimately took his life and left his project forever stalled. Now, the elegant Mercedes-Benz rested naked in the middle of an old barn, surrounded by its own scattered pieces. It was the ultimate jigsaw puzzle and Jeri Barrett, the car’s new owner, could only hope all the pieces were there.

Begin with Archaeology

After they first laid eyes on the ancient 300d, Jeri and his friends Sam and Brian went outside to catch a breath of fresh air. Their boots crunched on a crust of December snow as they pondered the task at hand. After a few moments, Jeri broke the silence, “We need to get it out of here today. Here’s the strategy.” 58 THE STAR | 2024 | 2

The three men unloaded empty boxes from their trucks and trekked back into the barn to salvage all the various pieces Jeri had just purchased. In the process, they scoured and cleaned every inch of the building to make sure nothing was left behind. Finally, the space was cleaned out, boxes labeled, and loaded into trucks. Now, they faced the real challenge of the day: getting the car out of this barn and into Jeri’s garage in the next town over. The car was frozen in place. The brake shoes were rusted to the brake drums. The 300d could not roll and would have to be dragged to move the car closer to the barn door. To make matters even more difficult, the car was positioned at a crooked angle to the barn door. The rescuers feared dragging the car straight forward would end with the old Benz hitting the walls. An idea emerged. Sam suggested that a floor jack positioned beneath the differential could lift the car off the ground and the rear end could be rolled five feet to the right to align with the barn door. With this adjustment, the car was positioned to be dragged straight out the door. Jeri inflated the tires and attached the tow straps to the front end of Brian’s GMC 4X4. Everyone got out of the way in case a strap broke, and Brian backed his truck up. When the straps were taut under the car’s weight, the truck’s tires bit into the crunchy snow and started churning. The car skidded along the barn’s cement floor until the rust between the brake shoes and drums finally broke free. The wheels began to roll! Progress was achieved. Against all odds, the Mercedes emerged into cold winter daylight. Exposed, it looked even worse than it had in the barn. The three friends exchanged a long look, but not a word was spoken. As they pulled the vehicle onto the road, across the

Above: The old Adenauer was showing its age and neglect when Barrett towed it home.



The fourth owner was a homebuilder of European descent who noticed the car on his way home from work one evening and recognized it for what it was. He returned with his grandson and bought it. He set the car up in his barn in Monroe, Conn., intending to restore it as a retirement project. You already know how that ended. Afterwards, the Adenauer sat in that barn for ten years until finally offered for sale by the last owner’s daughter as part of her father’s estate. As often happens, the daughter is a friend of Jeri’s office administrator, who knew of Jeri’s interest in classic cars. Linda passed the information on to Jeri, and thus began the extensive (and expensive) process of restoring this Adenauer to its former glory.

It takes a big team to restore a big car

At his firm, J.D. Barrett & Associates, Jeri leads an innovative team of professional designers to create unique environmental design solutions for outdoor projects that are practical, environmentally responsible, and sustainable, in addition to being aesthetically stunning. Since 1998, Barrett has been dealing with situations that may require substantial renovation and remediation. As a result, he is familiar with challenging restoration projects. Jeri envisioned that a classic car restoration project would likely require a similar process to a site restoration project. He realized then that he would need to gather

snow covered lawn, a flatbed tow truck arrived and transported Jeri’s new-old Mercedes to his home in Easton, Connecticut. That cold winter Saturday in December, 2009 marked the beginning of a ten-year quest to restore the 300d sedan to its former glory. Jeri is the fifth owner of this sedan, which is generally known as an “Adenauer.” However, he is only the third person to register the vehicle. A little research uncovered the history. This car was originally ordered through the Max Hoffman Agency in New York city (see “Mercedes Meets Max,” Nov-Dec 2022) by a woman in Mamaroneck, New York. Although ordered in 1962, the car was not completed and shipped to New York until 1963, and that was reflected in the original registration certificate from that year. In 1965, this Adenauer was sold to a man in Darien, Conn., who kept it for 35 years. Then, it was purchased by a Fairfield, Conn. man who quickly put it up for sale outside his condominium complex in Fairfield. 60 THE STAR | 2024 | 2

a talented team of professionals for the restoration process. He found his team at ARI, Automotive Restorations, Inc., in Stratford, Conn. The shop is close to his home and a state-of-the-art, first-class facility that routinely completes Concours-level restorations. Kent Bain and Brian Oliver oversaw the project. Tom Brown was the dedicated mechanic who performed most of the necessary mechanical repairs. Jeri was a frequent visitor at ARI while the work was proceeding. “Actually, I was probably a bit of a pest!” Jeri admits with a grin. Back in his own garage, Jeri began the arduous task of cleaning the car up and organizing the parts for pickup by ARI. Slowly, a creamy white color emerged from the dust and grit that had accumulated on the body. Jeri worked on the chrome until the grille shone bright. The interior presented its own problems—the once butter-soft red leather was cracked and pocked with holes, although Jeri did find one small intact spot on the back seat where, after some dedicated massage, the original color glowed. The dashboard was a disaster, and it was clear that the wood would have to be refinished. Under the hood, Jeri found the engine turned freely, but would have to be rebuilt. He was pleased to note the super heavy-duty frame and chassis of the car would make for a very solid ride. After ARI reviewed the car, they concluded “Well, it needs just about everything”. Undeterred, Jeri returned home and started contemplating the restoration process and sourcing of parts that would be needed for the project. He located a man in Pennsylvania with a good supply of used parts and eventually got in touch with

What is an Adenauer, exactly? After the end of World War II, Mercedes-Benz worked to re-establish its place in the luxury-class auto industry with the 300 series of sedans, coupes, and roadsters. The 300d sedan was its flagship sedan product. The 300d was the final version of the 300 series sedans—an elegant hand-built hard-top pillarless design used extensively as “parade cars” and by embassies for transport of dignitaries. Of all Mercedes-Benz automobiles ever made, the 300d truly has “Gravitas,” defined as dignity, seriousness, or solemnity of manner. Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (1949-1963) loved these cars and brought them with him when he traveled, leading to the 300 sedan models being identified as an “Adenauer” car. The 300d model rivaled the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud in elegance and price; and it was superior in performance due to the cutting-edge technology of its fuel-injected 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder Type 300 engine. Between 1957 and 1962, Mercedes-Benz produced a total of 3,077 Model 300d vehicles. During 1962, Mercedes-Benz built only 47 300d Adenauer sedans, and Jeri’s car is one of them. Now fully restored, Jeri and his 300d are frequently invited to Concours competitions and the car has received numerous awards.

Opposite and Above: It took 10 years to bring this Adenauer back to where Jeri Barrett wanted it. That’s not unusual for restorations, but you have to stick with them.



slides showing exploded shop drawings of every aspect of the car’s construction. Now the team had the entire “blueprint” to restore the car properly. Mechanic, Tom Brown, later confided to Jeri that “I use that machine all the time. It’s super helpful.” Another decade rolled by as the project progressed. The microfiche slides and manual provided direction, and most of the original parts were in Jeri’s possession, but a few missing components posed a challenge. Although 3,077 examples of the 300d Adenauer had been produced, many had been stripped over the years for other 300 series restoration projects, principally the more popular 300 series coupes and sports roadsters. (See “Polishing the Star,” Jan-Feb 2024.) Eventually, all the parts were sourced and the restoration continued. As ARI predicted, almost everything needed refurbishment. The exterior work included a trip to a sand blaster to remove the paint. It also included bodywork and sheet metal replacement. The fuel injection pump was sent to California for a rebuild. The interior wood went out to a specialist for refinishing. The clock and radio were sent out for repairs. The gas tank was cleaned and tested for leaks. Even the fuel lines and brake lines were replaced. The process was slow and long, but eventually everything was done and the car was ready to show at the 2012 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance.

Enjoying a classic

Niemöller Supply (see advertisement on page 69) in Mannheim, Germany. Niemöller offers a comprehensive list of new and old spare parts for vintage Mercedes-Benz models. Jeri began to have regular early morning email exchanges with Sven Jacob of Niemöller, who proved to be very helpful. Jeri would email Sven at 6:30 am while waiting in the car with his daughter for her school bus to arrive. It was lunchtime for Sven in Germany and the routine became their regular format for exchanges and sourcing of parts. One day, Jeri got a call from the woman who sold him the car. She said she had found another box of parts. Jeri arranged to pick up the box, and once he brought it back home and unpacked, he discovered the holy grail of the project. It was a microfiche machine with a full set of schematic microfiche 62 THE STAR | 2024 | 2

The restored Adenauer was a hit at the Concours, and looked truly stunning on the grassy, green show field. Show judges are generally intrigued by the 300d and often relay past experiences they had with an Adenaeur. The judges all agree that these are special cars and of course, you don’t see many around anymore. Jeri now enjoys caring for the 300d and driving it regularly to “keep the soup mixed up”. He tries to attend at least one event each year with the old Benz, and sometimes more. The Adenauer also prompted Jeri to become more involved with the brand by joining MBCA. Then in 2023, Jeri acquired two sister Mercedes-AMG cars to keep the 300d company in his barn. One is a 2003 SL55 AMG. Like the Adenauer, this two-seat roadster was top of the line for its day, replete with cutting edge technology and features. The other Benz is a 2018 SL63 AMG, which is also one of the company’s top offerings. Jeri enjoys driving the SL55 in local road rallies and brings the SL63 to Cars & Coffee gatherings and parks it next to the 300d. The SL63 and 300d both share a white exterior over red interior so it makes for a unique and exciting display and a great conversation starter. When asked what he likes best about the SLs, he says, “Well, as my father would have said, they can ‘get up and go’ and ‘they really got pep,’ but the best part is they both have a red interior to match the 300d!”

When asked why he chose to restore the Adenauer, Jeri notes that it’s a special car – one of 47 hand-built examples made in 1962. He loves the rarity of the 300d. He enjoys curious admirers asking him what the car is. He often asks the admirers if they have ever seen an Adenauer. Almost everyone says no. Jeri also loves the car’s elegant styling and superior craftsmanship, and he’s happy to share his love for the car with anyone who wants to talk about it.

About Jeri Barrett Jeri is a member of Connecticut/Westchester Section of MBCA. He’s also a registered Landscape Architect in the states of Connecticut and New York with over 40 years of professional experience in all aspects of landscape architecture. Jeri recounts from his childhood that he was always a “car guy.” On Friday afternoons, his father would bring home the afternoon edition of the Bridgeport Post. The Friday edition always contained a section devoted to automobiles for sale. Jeri would devour these auto ads the way most kids read the comics page, discussing the various makes and models, engine choices and their desirable attributes with his father. On family car trips, Jeri and his brother Jack would compete to recognize oncoming vehicles and rate their desirability. “It’s got pep!” or “it can get up and go!” were the highest compliments a car could receive from the Barrett boys, although models with lots of shining chrome and gleaming whitewall tires also drew high praise. Saturday mornings were devoted to washing family cars in the driveway and Jeri learned the art of detailing a car long before the term existed in the popular lexicon.

Opposite: The finished product is as lovely and dignified as when it left the Mercedes-Benz factory.




Be ready to help with a Cobra jump brick One of the great developments of lithium batteries is that jumper cables can finally become a dangerous thing of the past. Cobra now has an effective jump-starting battery you can hold in your hand and carry in your glovebox. You can charge the “Jump Brick” at home or through your Mercedes’ 12-Volt outlet. The brick has a display showing its level of charge and an integrated super-bright LED flashlight function. It also has USB-C and USB-A ports, so you can use it to recharge your mobile devices. When someone needs a Jump start, just plug in the provided battery clamps, hook up to their battery, and that’s it. The Cobra 1000A comes with its own carrying bag. $119.95 at

Keep your Benz charged through the winter Modern cars have a variety of functions that keep going even after you turn off the key - such as the clock and security alarm system. If you put your car away for the winter, disconnecting the battery means you’ll have to reset everything, and the car will lose its learnings about your driving style as well. The answer is a genuine Mercedes-Benz trickle charger. Not only will this keep your Benz properly charged through a long winter, it will extend the life of your car’s battery by preventing deep discharge and recharge cycles. This charger works with both lead-acid and lithium batteries, and both 5 amp maintenance charger and 25 amp recharge varieties (with 5A trickle function) are available. They even come with their own storage bags! From $145.85 at, or at your Mercedes-Benz dealer parts counter.

Protect yourself with a Cobra dash camera A Cobra SC smart dash cam protects you against life’s blind spots. These are the only dashcams that include head-up navigation and live police alerts sourced from our community of drivers and sensors, the Cobra SC series car cameras also feature high-definition video resolution, multiple connectivity options, cloud video management, and advanced safety and security features like Mayday Alert, so you and your loved ones can drive smarter and safer. Check your state laws before you install a dash camera. In most jurisdictions, you can legally cover only a five-inch square area of windshield on the driver’s side, and up to a seven-inch square on the passenger side. Most modern dash cameras are a lot smaller than that, and offer a wide-angle view of the road ahead. From $129.95 at

Safe phone accessories from Peak Design It’s illegal to drive with your phone in your hand pretty much everywhere now. But if you want to use your phone’s navigation functions in an older Mercedes, you need a place to put your phone where you can see it and still keep your eyes on the road. Peak Design offers two options – a stick-on mount for the dash or an instantly removable vent-mount to maintain the pristine look of your cabin when you’re not driving. Both allow you to place your display screen up high in your field of view for safe navigation. Note that these mounts are designed to work with Peak Design or MagSafe magnetic phone cases. From $79.95 at

64 THE STAR | 2024 | 2




Fort Worth Section’s Holiday Luncheon, December 9, 2023


hirty-six Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts attended Fort Worth Section’s 2023 Holiday Luncheon, which was held at the legendary Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. Colonial is arguably the most storied country club in Fort Worth and its surrounding areas. It was established in 1936 by Fort Worth businessman Marvin Leonard, whose friendship and support of a local caddy by the name of Ben Hogan remains the main storyline of the club to the present day. Hosting the 1941 U.S. Open put the country club on the golfing world’s map.

Hogan won the first Colonial Invitational Tournament in 1946, and went on to win four more times. This event is the 7th time the Fort Worth Section has held its Holiday Celebration at the Colonial Country Club. Each and every time, the club has provided great food, excellent facilities and, last but not least, friendly, attentive and competent staffing. Further, they provide good value in hosting our events, from upscale dinner dances to simpler but no less elegant lunches. After the meal, members tried their hand at winning prizes by playing our “Benz Balls” target game. The proud winners of great Mercedes-Benz prizes were: 1st Place: Mark Tirschler Pair of champagne flutes – 2nd Place: Rick Gravens Duffel bag – 3rd Place: George DelFabro Ceramic G-Wagen holiday tumbler set

Above: MBCA members gathered at Colonial Country Club to celebrate another great year.

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Eastern Oklahoma Section brings Christmas cheer to needy kids


n Saturday, December 2nd, 65 members of the Eastern Oklahoma section teamed up with the Cimmaron section of the Porsche Club of America and Jackie Cooper Imports for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots gift drive and chili lunch. Everyone gathered at the big Christmas tree and in the service area of Jackie Cooper Porsche for a toy drop off and a delicious chili lunch. This annual event is a great experience for club enthusiasts to open their hearts to children in the Tulsa area. The section is proud to participate, and happy to thank the Marines for their service. “It is a sincere pleasure for the Eastern Oklahoma Section to support the cause of the Marine Corps Toys for Tots collection drive,” Section President Nathan Armer said. “The section began supporting this worthwhile philanthropic event in December 2018.” Including the PCA members present, the event draws approximately 100 enthusiasts, and the club members donate hundreds of toys, including many bicycles. Two uniformed Marine Corps Reservists join the club members for the meal and then assist the donors in loading the toys into one of their large troop carriers. The lunch and meeting space is provided by Jackie Cooper Imports, a Mercedes-Benz and Porsche dealer in the Tulsa area. “To us, the Mercedes-Benz club is like family,” says Kristen Bebout, marketing manager for Jackie Cooper Imports.

“Supporting what’s important to them is important to us, and when we all come together each month for drives, events and dinners, it’s like a little family reunion. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Above: Eastern Oklahoma Section and Jackie Cooper Imports joined forces with the US Marine Corps to provide gifts for children in need.





Bluegrass Stars Section, Lights Under Louisville, November 18 We had a beautiful chilly but sunny fall day to go underground in Louisville. The Mega Caverns serve as the venue for the fantastic Lights Under Louisville. The train of Mercedes-Benz vehicles made a winding tour through the colorful display. It was wonderful, followed by lunch at the Audubon Country Club, with over 30 members of the Bluegrass Stars and Cincinnati sections participating. Nancy Rece Los Angeles Section, Day of Dinosaur Adventure, November 19 Our first stop was the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center / Museum, most recognizable by the giant mammoth sculpture on the hills over the property. The Discovery Center has more than just mammoth and other dinosaur replicas. Second stop: Cabazon Dinosaurs The dinosaurs were built over 30 years ago. The apatosaurus (formerly known as the brontosaurus) took eleven years to build and is one of the biggest dinosaurs in the world. The belly of the dinosaur hosts an awesome store with something for everyone. The T-Rex, affectionately known as “Mr. Rex,” took seven years to build, and you can climb right up into its head if you feel so inclined. After that we went to the Paradise Valley Cafe, Ricardo Breceda Sculptor/ Open Air Sculptor Studio, and the

Thornton Winery. If only there were a chocolate grape. But, with a winemaker’s skillful blending, two loves are now a match made in heaven. Chocolate wines are made by infusing red or white wine with chocolate flavors. Brigitte Trapp Los Angeles Section, Holiday Luncheon at Morton’s Steak House, December 2 We held our Holiday Luncheon at Morton’s Steak House with guest speaker Jerry Klayman giving presentation on Concours Judging. He was amazing. We had a delicious meal and a fun raffle after dessert. Additionally we presented our treasured member Richard Lamoureux with an award. - Brigitte Trapp

St. Louis Gateway Section, Holiday Party at Greenbriar Hills Country Club As expected, Joan Walsh pulled off a fantastic holiday party for us at Greenbriar Hills Country Club. The table settings, the food and drink, the fun of playing the Rob Your Neighbor game, and as always, the camaraderie that always exists among our members, made this a wonderful party for all who attended. Rick welcomed Regional Director Ken Koehler and his wife Sara, who drove in from Indianapolis to join us. We also welcomed new members, Jeff Ehimuh, Becky and Patrick Lynn, and Jason Miltenberger with his daughter, Paige and girlfriend Liz. It was also great having Pat White and Roy Evers with us, who we hadn’t seen for several years. Rick noted that in 2023, several of our members had gone above and beyond in their volunteer efforts, serving as board members, hosting or co-hosting events, and so on. But we had one individual who was a tremendous standout, while barely being in our club two years! This person performs his various duties expertly, with minimal direction. For his continued exceptional efforts as both our Membership Chair and Webmaster, Jonathan Leggs was selected as the St. Louis Gateway Section’s 2023 Member of the Year. - Jonathan Leggs Above: Lights Under Louisville

68 THE STAR ND • 2023

Wisconsin Section, 2023 Holiday Gathering and Annual Meeting, December 3 Forty-three members and guests attended the Christmas Party and Annual Meeting at the Golden Mast on Lake Okauchee. With weather that mostly cooperated, members began gathering well before 11:30 in the Golden Mast’s festively decorated banquet hall for conversation, catching up with one another and exchanging Christmas greetings. We enjoyed the Golden Mast’s fabulous champagne Sunday brunch. The slide show recapping our 2023 events played continuously, reminding us of how successful the year was. After brunch President Bruce Hamilton conducted our annual meeting. Those recognized and thanked for their efforts included Jim Loseke, the section’s webmaster, then all those who hosted events during 2023, as well as Nancy & Dean Pearson for all their behind-the-scenes efforts including sending out both the print and electronic versions of the Badger Star. We reviewed the 2024 event calendar and Bruce highlighted the first event of 2024, our 6th Annual Valentine’s Day Drive-to-Dine. Dan Hellenberg then covered section business during the year while Frank Lubinski reviewed the section’s financial condition. Bruce gave a brief history of the section’s finances since MBCA suspended their financial support, and answered questions from the floor. He also highlighted the sponsorship we received from Mercedes-Benz North Shore and the $500.00 donation our section received from an anonymous member donor. Todd Knutson asked to address the membership, and gave a very heartfelt tribute to the Board of Directors and in particular, yours truly. I am both honored and humbled by Todd’s remarks. Very rarely do you see me speechless, but that was one of those moments. Bruce then remarked that based on some other sections’ current challenges the Wisconsin Section is doing very well.

Finally, Bernd Kampe was surprised when he was announced as the recipient of the 2023 Member of the Year Award. Bernd received his award for his continued efforts supporting the section as Vice President. Bernd is an invaluable asset to the section.

The Annual Meeting concluded on a very positive note with a group picture and everyone looking forward to 2024. The day didn’t end there, as many remained long after the meeting enjoying the Gemütlichkeit! - Bruce Hamilton

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Eastern Oklahoma Section, Holiday Party, December 7 The Eastern Oklahoma Section held their annual Christmas party at Saltgrass Steakhouse in Tulsa on Thursday, December 7. Thirty-two members enjoyed their dinner in the private dining room enjoying a variety of entrees from the extensive menu. The section presented a special plaque to John Kushnerick for serving as section president for the past eight years as well as the Member of the Year award to incoming President Nathan Armer. Additionally, framed certificates of appreciation were presented to Ben Cunningham for his many years of service to the section as an officer, board member and newsletter publisher. Carolyn Fuchs was recognized for her work as the section secretary, and Ron and Jean Hardage for their many years of event and trip planning. Former president John Kushnerick recapped the 2023 year of activities and events. President Armer informed the group of upcoming Q1 2024 events and asked members to help submit ideas and suggestions for new destinations and journeys. Thanks to Ron

Hardage for shepherding a food drive for Bixby Outreach food pantry. Members collected hundreds of pounds of canned goods and boxed dry goods. The highlight of the evening is always the “Dirty Santa” gift exchange. Most gifts stayed with their original owners. However, Kristen Bebout and John Tanner were victims of multiple steals. In the end we hope everyone walked away with a gift they enjoyed. A special thanks goes out to Robin Armer, Harriet Kushnerick, Carolyn Fuchs, and Kristen Bebout for serving as the event committee on this annual gathering. John Kushnerick

Houston Section, Annual Holiday Party, December 8 The holiday party was held at the Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston. Th ir t y-four members at tended, including Brett Jurick, Director of the South Central Region. The following members were recognized for reaching a club membership milestone anniversary: • Cielito Pascual Jackson - 10 years • Roberto Spears - 15 years • Jeff Taner - 15 years • Jay Morris - 35 years • Lawrence Gettleman - 40 years The Houston Section 2023 Members of the Year are Jeff and Alice Wu, and the MBCA South Central Region Officer of the Year is Houston Section president Erroll Hines. - Erroll Hines Los Angeles Section, Miracle on 34th Street, December 9 We had a fun day out at the Old Town Music Hall (home of the mighty Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ) to see Miracle on 34th Street and then we had dinner at Sausal Mexican Restaurant. - Brigitte Trapp Bluegrass Stars Section, Holiday Dinner at Hurstbourne Country Club, December 10 The Bluegrass Stars Section celebrated in style at our holiday party at

Above: Above: Wichita Holiday Lights. Left: Wichita Section members

70 THE STAR | 2024 | 2

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the beautiful Hurstbourne Country Club in Louisville. Lots of stars joined us for our last event of 2023, enjoyed a delicious dinner, impeccably served by the friendly and cheerful staff, while we enjoyed a nostalgic slideshow of our events over the past year. We were so happy that Regional Director, Ken Koehler and his lovely wife, Sara, continued their support of our Section by joining us for the celebration. Also, section member and General Manager of the Mercedes-Benz of Louisville dealership, Warren Miller, was there to accept the Bluegrass Stars Section Member of the Year distinction for his continued support of us this past year. A few other notables in attendance were Treasurer Fred Mudge and his wife, the indispensable Ann Mudge, who serves as our Secretary and Newsletter Editor; Vice President Jim Keith and his vivacious wife Linda; Membership Chairperson Nancy Rece, accompanied by her always fun and funny husband, Bob; faithful and longtime members, Al and Hunnilore Henley, who were our Members of the Year last year; new members Roger and Tina Dospil as well as Adrian Lauf, who attended his first event at the Holiday Party, and Patty and Robert Brashear, who are not new but have not joined us in a while. Also, past Section president, Gary Rumrill and his wife, Carol, the past Section Secretary, were there to support the Stars as always. Many thanks to all of our faithful members who have supported us this year, joined us at events, celebrated with us, shared laughter and have become friends! We can’t wait to share 2024 with all of you stars! - Nancy Rece Minuteman Section, Annual Holiday Theater and Dinner Event, December 10 Another holiday sell-out event for the Minuteman Chapter featuring the Penn & Teller magic show, followed by a wonderful banquet at Maggiano’s Italian restaurant. A quick election was held in between dinner courses, re-electing

President Dean Coclin, Vice President Barry O’Neill, and Treasurer/Secretary Courtland Brannen. A Member of the Year award was presented to a surprised Roland Boucher for organizing a driving event this past spring. A big thanks to Richard Garick for organizing this and 50 prior club dinners! - Dean Coclin Wichita Section, Holiday Light Cruise, December 14 Eleven club members and guests along with seven cars participated

in a holiday light cruise through the historic College Hill neighborhood. After meeting up, club members cruised through the neighborhood taking in all the great light displays. At the end of drive, we met up at Kirk Filbey’s house for desserts and post event drinks. It was a nice way to wrap up the year. - Robert Filbey


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President (2024) Drew Webb Northern NE Star Section 508.662.4900

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1955-1957 Dr. Milton Allen= 1957-1959 Dr. Ken Bartlett, Jr.= 1959-1960 L. B. Kirkendall = 1960-1961 Arthur G. Rippey= 1961-1962 Allen G. Bishop= 1962-1964 John W. Burnside= 1964-1966 Walter G. Vartan 1966-1968 Frank S. Baker= 1968-1970 Harger W. Dodge= 1970-1972 J. Chadwick Hunt= 1972-1974 Otto Saborsky= 1974-1976 Allen Funkhouser= 1976-1977 Tracy Williams= 1977-1978 Thomas Doherty= 1978-1979 Fred Lustig= 1979-1981 Phil Parrino= 1981-1982 Ferne Gardner= 1982-1984 Grant Elford=

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Get 24 randomly selected back issues of The Star for $48! To purchase, mail a check to: Mercedes-Benz Club of America Attn: The Star Back Issue Bundle Sale 10 Boulder Crescent St. #200 Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Make your check payable to Mercedes-Benz Club of America. Include your name and mailing address!

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To show off a bit at CES, Mercedes-Benz took the protoype EQG-Wagens out to the Las Vegas Strip and closed the road for a block. Then they did some tricks, including spinning the G-Wagens in place by running the left and right wheels in opposite directions. Right there in front of the Bellagio, four electric G-Wagens did a synchronized dance in the street. What could be more purely Las Vegas than that?

80 THE STAR | 2024 | 2




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HEADLINE: 32 pt. • BODY COPY: 12.5 pt.

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