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I just acquired this 1956 Ponton 190 earlier this month in Ingolstadt, Germany. At the time of publishing, this Poton has taken me over 6000 km from northern Germany to Denmark to Amsterdam to Saarbruken to Frankfurt to the south of France, Andorra, and ended at Essen, Germany. Where has your Mercedes-Benz taken you?
HIT THE ROAD
4 THE STAR MJ 2023
TEXT & PHOTO: Blue Nelson
1953-model 300 SL | PHOTO: Dailmler Archives
14 ABOUT TO TURN
After its first race, the Mercedes-Benz F1 moved swiftly and took an unabashedly honest approach to get where it wanted to be.
22 PART OF THE LOOK
How films influenced Lawrence Fitz-Simon’s passion for the SL.
32 A PERFECT MATCH
Two MBCA members have not only perfect matching cars but are also a perfect match after meeting at an MBCA event.
38 THE FIRST “UHLENHAUT COUPE”
The inside story of how Rudy Uhlenhaut established parameters for a faster racing sports car.
48 THE GRAND 600 SILVER ARROW
How a shared passion between two friends led to the re-imagination to create something new –The Grand 600 Silver Arrow.
56 THE 1927 MODEL K FLEETWOOD
MBCA Member Michael Rich shares his appreciation for their truly unique 1927 Model K Fleetwood.
CONTENTS 6 THE STAR MJ 2023
The Star ®, May - June 2023 • Volume 68 • No. 3
ON THE COVER
4 HIT THE ROAD 8 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 10 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE 66 ROADBOOK TO PROVENCE 70 MECUM AUCTION BENEFIT 72 GERMAN TRIP EXPERIENCE 74 LEGENDS OF THE AUTOBAHN 76 MBCA SCENE 82 MERCEDES-BENZ EXPERIENCE STORE 86 NATIONAL BOARD 88 REGIONS & SECTIONS 90 CLASSIFIEDS 96 ROADS LESS TRAVELED
KATHRYN G. CARRUTH
CINDY TUMBLESON Administrative Services Manager
Assitant Business Administrative Manager
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7 THE STAR MJ 2023
The Star ® is the official magazine of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, Inc.
PUBLICATION TEAM STAFF CONTRIBUTORS
IT’S GOING TO BE A GRANDE TIME IN INDIANAPOLIS!
Iam incredibly excited about the upcoming gathering that will be taking place at the crossroads of America, celebrating the rich history, beauty, and individualist spirit of one of the world’s oldest automobile marks, and the one we all love, Mercedes-Benz.
Between September 7-10, 2023, in downtown Indianapolis, we’ll be experiencing a national event, Mercedes Grande 2023, that will embrace Mercedes-Benz culture, causes, people, lifestyle, technology, and cars. The keynote speaker for our event will be Al Unser Jr., who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1994 driving a MercedesBenz powered car.
National Event Chair Roger Brummet and his team have been preparing to make this four-day event an unforgettable experience for anyone and everyone to appreciate. “We expect Mercedes Grande to be one of the highest-attended events in MBCA’s history. There will be something for everyone to participate in.” Brummet says. The event programming will have a little bit of everything. There will be technical discussions where experts share their knowledge, rallies to take in the stunning sites, a racing simulator challenge, an incredible car show at Artomobilia, music, food, wine, and so much fun.
Here is a list of some of the venues and events you will expect to find:
• Mercedes Monumental Classic Car Show at “Artomobilia, The Art of the Automobile”
• H ullabaloo Street Festival Drive-in Car Show and Concert at Crane Bay Events Center
• Silo Auto Club Racing Simulator Challenge
• Tech Talks and Guest Speakers
• R ally Drives and Tours, presented by the Mercedes Benz Club of America and Artomobilia
• Mer cedes-Benz New Car Extravaganza and Lifestyle Exhibition presented by Mercedes-Benz of Indianapolis
• M BCA Medallion Rally Luncheon Benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association
• K ids Zone Exhibit Play Station and Driving Experience.
• Museum Tours
When I visited Indianapolis for a site inspection in December, it was clear why this would be an ideal place for Mercedes Grande 2023. Everything is in close proximity; the venues and events are within walking distance from each other, and from most hotels and restaurants. To add to the appeal, September in Indiana is beautiful, with the temperature averaging in the 80s during the day, and it has become a go-to destination for auto lovers.
Registration for Mercedes Grande opened on April 1, 2023. To register and learn more about the event, you can visit mercedesgrande.org. All venues will have capacity limits and are expected to sell out, so don’t delay. Meals are included in the registration for most of the venues.
I look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis as we celebrate all things Mercedes.
Trevor Dalton is a Photographer and Filmmaker based in New England. His love of film, art, and vintage cars influences every aspect of his creative work.
Dave Engelman is a car nut, writer, photographer, fellow wrencher, and automotive historian. His passion for cars runs deep, and he clutches the rich history and beauty of vintage pieces of art that we enjoy today.
Terry Kiwala had a bigger Matchbox car collection than any of his friends when he was five years old, and not much has changed since then. After almost 30 years of traveling to MBCA events, his new passion is sharing members’ cars and stories in The Star®
8 THE STAR MJ 2023
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE
TEXT: Kathryn G. Carruth
LOVE, EASE, TRUST & RESPECT.
As I become more acquainted with MBCA, I am drawn to how organizational culture sets the context for everything an association does to drive success. As a long-standing institution in the automotive world, MBCA has been an influential organization for owners and enthusiasts of the iconic luxury car brand. However, MBCA has struggled while Mercedes-Benz, as a brand, continues to grow and build billions of dollars in value.
While the club has a dedicated core membership, it will need to adapt and radically evolve to remain relevant and attract new members.
To improve MBCA’s overall performance, we must refocus on why members initially join: trustworthy advice and information, a desire to meet like-minded people, and a deep passion for the brand. In addition, interacting in casual, convenient ways is a simple and quick fix for many of our members to organize for themselves if given the tools to do so.
The success of a membership organization requires a combination of strategies to provide value, foster innovation, and advance the mission. Over the next few months, your board of directors and I are committed to clearly refining the organization’s mission and goals. We will:
1. Develop a membership recruitment and retention plan: Employing tactics for attracting new members, retaining existing members, and increasing engagement among members. This will include developing marketing materials, offering incentives for referrals, creating engaging content, and hosting events that appeal to members.
2. Foster member engagement: Creating opportunities for members to connect and engage with one another within their areas of interest, such as through online forums, social media groups, and with dynamic events of all types. We encourage you to get involved with your sections and insist activities are what
you want them to be. Member participation is key and valued. Please volunteer to share your skills and expertise.
3. Provide value to members: Delivering access to exclusive resources, discounts on products and services, and cultivating amazing travel opportunities.
4. M aintain excellent communication: Employing new tools to help members stay informed about the organization’s activities and benefits. We hope this makes members feel valued and connected, including addressing the club’s website challenges.
5. Improve: Regularly assessing member satisfaction and using feedback to make improvements and refine strategies. We hope we can continually hone an excellent member experience.
MBCA’s current structure is not suited for the times. Shifting responsibilities from volunteer committees onto staff will be vital to ensuring a successful move into the future. Volunteers can bring many benefits to an organization, including enthusiasm, new perspectives, and a willingness to help. However, there are situations where it is more appropriate for a staff member to perform a job, such as when consistency and specialized expertise are required or when there are liability or risk management concerns. It is also important to remember why people may not be joining. MBCA must be committed to a culture of respect by:
1. Reducing the demographic barriers: Norms and traditions can make it difficult for people of different ages or backgrounds to feel welcome or included. Sometimes this can be as simple as planning events when after-school practices aren’t usually held or ensuring a new member feels welcome at a function during a holiday that is outside their family tradition.
2. Recognizing limited time: People may be juggling family, work, and
other commitments, leaving them with limited time and resources to participate in meetings. It is important to provide an enjoyable outlet where the entire family is welcome.
3. U nderstanding you’re here for fun: Many people are becoming less and less interested in traditional membership models, which involve an elevated level of commitment or formal procedures; preferring more flexible or informal ways of participating in organizations. Enabling participation at a level each member feels comfortable with, we take the onus off work and meetings and back onto fun.
4. Opening the door: People need to see themselves represented in the organization, either in terms of leadership or in terms of the organization’s mission or focus.
It is critical to understand these factors and not only adapt outreach and engagement strategies but also structure the governance to allow a diverse group of members to be easily involved. Governance must implement roles, procedures, and ideal principles and practices so we may move MBCA forward.
Mercedes-Benz AG continues to celebrate its past while boldly moving into the future–our future! As I close, I would like to leave you to contemplate the four humanity principles MBAG aims to fulfill with its customers: LOVE, EASE, TRUST, and RESPECT.
I do not know if MBAG measures every strategy, relationship, or competency against these four words, but I do know relationships are built upon honest, respectful communication where trust is created, and loyalty is formed. From partner organizations to new members, revenue, engagement, and growth are all ordained by adhering to values. I Y MBCA and the beautiful culture we are all so proud of!
10 THE STAR MJ 2023
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ABOUT TO TURN
The first step in dealing with any serious problem is admitting that you have one.
After Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fifth and seventh in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes-Benz F1 declared that its new W14 challenger was flawed, and that the development path it had followed since the beginning of this ‘ground effect’ era was to be abandoned with immediate effect.
In the sport’s modern history, nobody could remember a time when a front-running Formula 1 team had been so brutally, unabashedly honest about its prospects after just one race.
But on reflection, it’s no less than we should have expected. This open honesty merely reflects the team’s unique prism of
values and weaknesses, confidence and fallibility. This, after all, is an outfit that has won eight consecutive constructors’ world championship titles in the past nine seasons, in large part through its uniquely unemotional reliance on data, blanketed in a healthy dose of human empathy. The organization’s confidence and strength to admit that it was wrong is remarkable and courageous.
It’s clear that the W14 is not anywhere near the benchmark Red Bull RB19 which won both the opening grands prix at a canter; Hamilton finished 50 seconds behind world champion Max Verstappen in Sakhir, while Lewis himself estimated that
14 THE STAR MJ 2023
TEXT: Simond Strang PHOTO: Mercedes–AMG F1
Mercedes “1.5secs away” from the pace in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix two weeks later, where Russell was classified fourth. Mercedes’ descent in the pecking order was further amplified by the extraordinary winter performance gains made by Aston Martin, which ironically uses Mercedes’ high-performance powertrain engine, gearbox, and rear suspension. Aston’s double world champion Fernando Alonso followed up a brilliant third in Bahrain with another podium visit in Saudi Arabia, and was the only man within 30 seconds of the Red Bulls on that occasion.
It meant that not only was Mercedes behind Red Bull and potentially Ferrari, but one of its customers had also produced a more competitive aerodynamic proposition.
“I don’t think this package is going to be competitive eventually,” said Wolff, drawing a line under it all, in the aftermath of Bahrain. “We gave it our best shot over the winter, and now we just need to regroup.”
Effectively, it was deemed that the performance ceiling of the W14 was never going to be high enough for it to compete with Red Bull, although Mercedes aspires to compete in that league. When that became clear, inaction would have been borderline negligent. Wolff, the engineering team, and even the drivers were in full agreement.
By the time F1 had reconvened at the high-speed Jeddah Corniche street circuit just over a week later, Mercedes was already moving apace behind the scenes, even if the W14 fared more competitively in certain circumstances.
Russell qualified third fastest behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (Verstappen having been side-lined by a driveshaft issue) and Alonso. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was actually second fastest but took on a grid penalty.
“That doesn’t make it a millimeter better,” said Wolff of Russell’s qualifying pace. “I think we are looking at the benchmark performance of Verstappen and Perez, and that is just too far away. The gap is even bigger if Max had finished qualifying and we have seen it on the long runs too, so my state of mind hasn’t changed. The difference is that the trajectory is set now. We are just storming full steam ahead and changing things.”
“We’re making big steps at the moment with our R&D and our understanding in the wind tunnel. And these are really big steps because we just needed to have the confirmation in Bahrain that we got it wrong. And now we have that… Now is it realistic with today’s performance to even talk about the world championship? No, it’s not, you’d be a fool to think that way.
15 THE STAR MJ 2023
2023 Bahrain Grand Prix, Sunday - Jiri Krenek
But equally, it’s motor racing and you must never give up and I think if we continue to do the big steps that we have already done in the last 10 days, then I think we will come to a stage where we are able to race for wins.”
So what is wrong with the W14?
First, address the premise of a design ‘concept’. ‘Concept’ is an unfair and misguided description of a modern Formula 1 design, which is in effect a collection of hundreds of mathematicallybased chemical, engineering, and aerodynamic theories. That this year’s and last year’s Mercedes carry ‘zero-sidepods’ is only one part in the story of the car’s overall aerodynamic signature, which also includes the front and rear wing’s interaction with the airflow as well as the under-surface (or floor) that is now the most significant aerodynamic performance differentiator in the car. While it’s helpful therefore to simplify and box the various 2023 challengers into groups that look like a Red Bull, a Mercedes, or a Ferrari, the reality is that it is a far more complex problem. While changing a sidepod will make a difference to the performance of a car, it is unlikely to be a gamechanger if not done in concert with changes to the areas it interacts with, such as the leading surface (the front and nose) of the car which ultimately dictates the initial direction of the airflow over the vehicle. And because each car’s weight distribution, power map, tire degradation and use, airflow, etc. are unique, each is also its own philosophy, and only as powerful as the understanding behind it.
“People have tended to use the word concept when they mean the sidepod design,” said Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin, referring to the distinctive ‘zero-drag’ sidepods on the W13 and W14. “Toto said recently that we are looking at a revision that’s going to come along in the next few races anyway. Now given the gap to the front, of course we are going to look at bigger departures and more radical changes. But those changes take time to turn into a faster solution in the wind tunnel, so you can’t do them overnight. There’s quite a lot of development that you’ve got to do around any sort of big change in geometry in that area. We are looking at where we can improve the car. We’re looking for potential to develop, and you will see visible changes coming on the car over the next few races.”
The Mercedes W14, though an evolution, is also not the same concept as its 2022 predecessor. It is designed to ride higher, is not as stiff, and has a far wider aerodynamic range, and therefore is a far more pliable creature. But it is not without its flaws, as was painfully evidenced by the first two rounds of the season. It remains a “draggy” beast, but one that does not generate enough high-speed aerodynamic grip and therefore undermines its drivers’ confidence at critical points on a given lap–something that hurts Hamilton more than Russell because of their different approaches. Moreover, the W14 now suffers more tire degradation than its predecessor, while the W13’s saving grace was that it was kinder to Pirelli’s rubber than its immediate rivals.
“A change in concept means different things to different people,” said the team’s technical director Mike Elliot. “After Bahrain, we had to accept we weren’t where we wanted to be. We had to look at all the things that make up our car and work out what we could be doing differently, and how we could get
16 THE STAR MJ 2023
2023 Bahrain Pre-Season Test, Day 1 - Stephen Reuss
more performance. Because it is a significant gap to catch up to the front. So, the engineers are busy looking at aerodynamics, they are looking at the shape of the car, and things like the sidepod geometry; have we missed a trick? We’re also looking in the simulation world, are we targeting the right things? Are we pushing the aerodynamics in the right direction? We’re looking at the mechanical set-up of the car; are there things that we are missing? What else can we bring to the car that is going to add performance? And we are trying to do that as fast as we can. Bahrain was a real reality check.”
The speed of the switch from perseverance to pioneering was dramatic and unusual. It gave cause to wonder whether the evolution that was the W14 was actually perhaps a cautious final attempt at bench-testing Mercedes’ controversial highdownforce concept, while saving precious wind tunnel time and regulation-restricted resource should a volte-face be required early in the season, as now seems necessary. Certainly, it seems there were doubts before Bahrain about whether the W14 was the right solution following the team’s difficult 2022 season.
“You can look at your development rates in the wind tunnel, and before we even got to Bahrain, there were conversations about looking at bigger [concept] departures,” Shovlin was quoted by autosport.com as saying after Saudi Arabia. “This is something we’ve done over the course of the past 10 years. If you’re not finding the gains you need, you need a bigger change. You explore another area and often you want to unlock that. But perhaps the urgency to try and bring those bits to the track has gone up following the early races.”
Hamilton has been vocal in his disappointment. He told BBC 5 Live in Bahrain that the team had not ‘listened’ to him regarding the 2023 car’s development direction. “I’ve driven so many cars in my life, so I know what a car needs, I know what a car doesn’t need. It’s about owning up and saying: ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it used to be, and we’ve got to work.’”
The seven-time champion is facing a unique dilemma. He likes a car with a strong front-end, rather like a go-kart, that he can hurl into a turn hard, carrying speed and trust that the rear-end will respond when he changes direction, which he can do better than any other driver on the grid. He can handle rear-end instability, but he doesn’t like rear-end inconsistency He drove the previous generation of high-downforce F1 cars, which were precise, nimble, and in Hamilton’s case, sheer weapons. It’s not hard to understand the mental wrench of climbing into this comparatively heavy, wallowing, and unresponsive W14, and to try and find its sweet spot. The more grip a car has, the faster Lewis becomes, as he winds in the torsion and adhesion of the tire and fires the car out of the corner exit. This generation of unwieldy, sliding, and unpredictable F1 car plays against that inherent force.
Russell, on the other hand, is excelling. He’s not really known anything other than mediocrity in F1, and while he is now a grand prix winner following his victory in Brazil—thanks to Mercedes’ mercurial recovery during 2022—he has yet to work consistently with a world title contender. The two drivers are coming from different positions. To Russell, each podium counts; to Hamilton, he can just see Verstappen sailing away. Finishing third to him is almost inconsequential. Hamilton’s remarks led to typically lazy speculation about his future, but the Briton quickly shut that down: “I don’t see myself racing anywhere else.”
Wolff added: “He’s a fighter and so are we. If the fight is on, you stay in the fight and you don’t throw in the towel, and that’s how we are in the team. That’s why I have no reason to believe that he is going to walk away from it.”
But can that ground to Red Bull be recovered quickly? Well, the evidence is there that it can, as Wolff points out, “There is no Holy Cow.”
“Definitely what Aston Martin has done proves that within six or seven months you can gain so much lap time, that it makes you play at the front,” he said. “So that is good to see for
18 THE STAR MJ 2023
2023 Bahrain Pre-Season Test, Day 1 - Jiri Krenek
Member-Only 3-Day Ticket & Suite Packages
MBCA Member Exclusive
Mercedes-Benz Club of America members have access to exclusive ticket packages to the 2023 Miami Grand Prix
Sunday, 5/7 Race
1 Vista @ Turn 1 - 3-Day Package
The Vista at Turn 1 provides a trackside oasis at one of the most desirable areas of the circuit inside the first turn. This climate-controlled club offers a comfortable indoor dining and lounge experience as well as a tiered open-air balcony with assigned seating for an up-close view of the track. From the tiered balcony, guests will see the action inside Turn 1, as well as drivers exiting the pit lane. This package accommodates parties of 2+ and food, beer, wine, and champagne are included in the price of the ticket.
2 Boat House - 3-Day Package
Located in the world-famous MIA Marina, the Boathouse provides a view of the high-speed corner complex at turns 4 & 5. This open-air shaded club offers assigned seating and a communal lounge space. All guests of the Boathouse will have access to food and beverage, which is included in the ticket price.
3 Turn 1 Grandstands - 3-Day Package
The Turn 1 East grandstand provides a premium view of cars as they enter the braking zone into Turn 1 and accelerate into turns 2 and 3.
1 3 2 19 THE STAR MJ 2023
all of us that you should never write off a season if these kinds of steps can be done.
“We’ve been too low last year, we’ve been too high this year, and I think we believe we know where to land it now. And I think on the other side everything else follows in terms of floor and bodywork that you want to achieve. I don’t want to sound foolishly optimistic, but at least we are seeing low-hanging fruit, and that is encouraging.”
The championship is probably gone already, but this is a long campaign, there are still 20 races to cover as this piece is being written, and Red Bull, despite Russell’s affirmation that it will win every round in 2023, had already displayed fallibility in the transmission and driveshaft areas in Bahrain and Saudi. The trick is putting the world champion team under enough pressure to expose its weaknesses. Moreover, Red Bull has its wind tunnel and aero research time capped, both through regulation and penalty, and therefore Mercedes holds an opportunity advantage. Whether that can be grasped is a different matter, it’s something Mercedes has failed to do consistently since the rules changed for 2022.
“The lag is probably between six and 12 months because that is the time that it really took for us to figure out what was
happening with the car,” said Wolff. “And that means we just need to have double the development speed and a stronger development slope, and the logic and the rationale speaks for it that we could have. [Red Bull’s] gains are going to be incrementally smaller if their concept is mature. I think aerowise and wind tunnel time can help a bit, but not hugely. We have just got to get our act together, and if we fundamentally understand where we need to put the car, then the steps are going to be large… but we need to be perfect.”
In sport, great empires almost always crumble. The Dallas Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four years between 19931996. They’ve not returned to the top since… Manchester United won 13 Premiership titles in 20 years, between 1993 and 2013, but they’ve not won it since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Ferrari’s Formula 1 hegemony during the Schumacher years ended in 2004, and the Italian team has only won once since 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen. Mercedes is now attempting to push back that weight of history… but the difference is the emperor is still in charge. If anyone can do it, it’s this team, led by Wolff, Hamilton and Russell, Elliot, and an army of empathic but unemotional intelligent engineers.
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2023 Bahrain Pre-Season Test, Day 1 - Jiri Krenek
PART of the LOOK
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TEXT & PHOTOS: Trevor Dalton
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FFinding your car culture niche in Los Angeles takes time. For Mercedes Benz and other vintage Euro car enthusiasts, there is a healthy variety of shows to attend every weekend. Once it becomes a weekly ritual to drop in, you start to notice how small of a world it actually is. The overlap of friends, mutual acquaintances, and other regulars is everywhere you look. At my entrance into this world, I continued seeing an R107 SL finished in gold with a peculiar license plate, weekend after weekend. And the owners were always the most well-dressed at the show. Meet Lawrence Fitz-Simon and Taylor Dragotta. Two transplants from Northern California with a healthy love of convertibles, fine clothes, and the 1980s. Their car, a 1985 380SL, was Lawrence’s first car in high school and is still with the two of them today.
Their Los Angeles story begins over 12 years ago. Lawrence and Taylor were just out of high school, packing up the 380SL with as much as they could. “A shocking amount of stuff for a convertible,” Lawrence tells me. With a little over 100,000 miles on the odometer of the SL, they were heading for Los Angeles. The plate ‘WESTEGG’ adorns the car, a reference to The Great Gatsby and in the story the dichotomy of new money versus old money. A similar setting awaited the two of them in the city of Beverly Hills.
Fast forward to the present, 185,000 miles on the R107’s odometer. Lawrence and I are touring some of the neighborhoods in Beverly Hills scouting for areas to shoot. He is a real
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estate agent in the area and knows these streets like the back of his hand. “Beverly Hills has its side which everyone sees in the media and that’s the flash, that’s the Rodeo Drive and the bright neon supercars. But, it also has this amazing old-world elegance that’s a bit subtler, a bit behind the scenes,” Lawrence explains. We pass a row of driveways hidden behind large entryways, evocative of a past era. He tells me these houses were all built by legends. The ‘who’s who’ of architects were building their best work here at one point in time. “That’s what I’ve always loved about this city. What’s behind the gates, that’s the sophisticated world,” he says.
After our shoot, we are back at their home, surrounded by movie posters, art books, and every vintage model car imaginable. Inevitably, we get on the topic of films, a continuing discussion the three of us have had since we met. It’s a
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Top, opposite page top & bottom: The timeless combination of interior wood trim and original leather upholstery continues to give this 380 SL an incredibly luxurious look. The lustrous color and the Nardo steering wheel add to the visual centerpiece of the dashboard and entire interior.
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Top, above & opposite page: The 380 SL has appeared in countless movies and TV series. From American Gigolo (1980), Beverly HIlls Cop (1984), Casino (1995), to (Falcon Crest (1981-1990), NYPD Blue (1992-2005) Ingrid Goes West (2017), and many more spanning many decades. Films and personal stories have, and continue to have, influenced the passion for Mercedes-Benz vintage. Lawrence and Taylor are no different.
never-ending list of films from before we were born. Films we’ve seen and haven’t seen. Films we obsess over, not always for the story but for their style, cinematography, and mood. We have referenced these in our photoshoots, creating stills from an imaginary film starring Lawrence & Taylor, The City of The Angels, and of course, the star of our shoots, the 380SL. It’s an ongoing series that we add to every time I’m in town.
Films influenced a large part of both Lawrence’s and Taylor’s love of the SL platform as well. After Lawrence’s father gave him the car, he introduced him to the work of Paul Schrader and the film American Gigolo. Julian Kaye (played by Richard Gere) drives down the Pacific Coast Highway and through a familiar Beverly Hills in his Black SL (R107), just as Lawrence does today. The car becomes an integral part of the film’s aesthetic and symbolizes Julian’s stylish and luxurious lifestyle in the
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1980s. It was a lasting impression that elevated Lawrence’s appreciation of the car.
For Taylor, SLs (R129) were “the car” on tv as a kid. “Growing up in the 90s, watching music videos, everyone who was anyone had that car. And I think it’s kind of synonymous with LA. It’s just a part of the lifestyle. You feel good driving it, especially when the top comes down and the sun is out.”
Lawrence solidifies that feeling. “When you want to have an enjoyable day and drive to Malibu for lunch, what’s the car in the garage that you go to? It’s funny, you know, it’s almost like a car that you wear as well. It’s like a good suit. There’s a look to that. Other cars are something that you use to get from A to B but the SL is, you know, it’s part of the look. It’s subtle, under the radar. It’s not in your face, but again, it adapts like a suit. It’s how you wear it. So, it can also be out there, extraordinary, and catching people’s attention. It’s not a boring character.”
For many transplants, moving to Los Angeles is to pursue the L.A. Dream. A personal vision of wealth, fame, and success. A place of opportunities, good fortune, and new beginnings. For Lawrence, his SL embodies that dream. “The SL is Los Angeles’ car. What’s amazing is it fits in so many places. When I think of an SL I think of the 80s films, I think of PCH, I think of old Hollywood. I think of actors and musicians. I think of that shot of Ben Stein, sitting on the hood of his SL in the Hollywood hills. It is LA.”
“But what’s amazing about the SL is that it’s adapted into so many different dreams of the 80s. When you think of New Yorkers, what did they drive from Manhattan to Long Island? They drove an SL. When you think of the Palm Spring retirees, what did they drive? They drove an SL. You think of Miami and driving in South Beach, you think of an SL. It’s really, you know, there’s something synonymous with anyone’s dreams of that era and it can be adapted to any city. For myself, yeah, that’s LA. You know it’s driving along the coast. It’s driving to Malibu. But really, the SL fits in anywhere in the United States. It’s high class, relaxed, and you know it can fit into any situation.”
Fortunately for us, the dream isn’t locked behind those Beverly Hills gates anymore. Compared to its mutual icons of the era, the R107 SL is a relative bargain. And with an 18-year production run and a variety of engine and color options, there is a car out there to fit everyone’s dream. For Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts and non-car people alike, the R107 is the classic roadster with the 3-Pointed Star up front. It represents a dream that only they could describe for us. For people like Lawrence and Taylor, that dream is of old Beverly Hills and the films of the 1980s. A bygone era lost to a different type of new extravagance and flash. But the SL is a way to escape that. A way to turn a daydream of a different era into a reality—at least until the next stoplight.
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BETTER THAN ONE
TEXT: Terry Kiwala
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PHOTOS: Trevor Dalton
If you have attended a Concours in the Southeast over the past several years, you have likely seen two perfectly matching cars, a 250 sedan, and a 280SL pagoda, both featuring the same color combination. This story describes both cars, the couple who owns them and features them at MBCA events, and the unique role the Club has played in their lives.
Joan Couch and Her 1971 250
Joan Couch remembers her father, an early employee of Robins Air Force Base, drove her around in a Volkswagen Beetle. But he always told her that if she wanted a really good car, she should buy a Mercedes. A lifelong resident of Perry, Georgia, Joan relocated to Atlanta, married her first husband, and became a flight attendant for Delta, where she covered international routes.
Joan’s first car was a 1964 Chevrolet Corvair, which she still has and has now restored, although she always remembered her father’s endorsement of Mercedes-Benz. Several years later, Joan decided to follow her father’s recommendation and ordered
a 1971 250 sedan from RBM Motors in Atlanta. Because of her frequent international travels, Joan was able to pick up the car under the European Delivery program. She vacationed with it in Europe and then accompanied it back to the United States.
The 1971 250 has a light ivory body, tobacco brown painted roof, and cognac MB Tex interior. This car became Joan’s daily driver, putting out a modest 128 horsepower as she drove back and forth on I-75 to her job at Hartsfield airport. Joan has every service receipt–including the first service for $38, the original title–and a long list of stories. She used the car as a daily driver, and now as an enthusiast at MBCA events.
Joan’s car is completely original, save a respray of the roof in 2020 due to sun damage. With approximately 130,000 miles, the car has competed in numerous club events.
Tommy Couch and a Lifetime of Cars
Tommy Couch was raised in the retail automotive business. He’s always had, as he puts it, “a neat car, not the newest, but something really special.” Because of the nature of the Couch’s business, there were always a variety of cars to drive–although no car was ever around very long. Following a four-year stint in the service at the Air Force Academy, Tommy returned to his family’s
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Tommy Couch was thrilled to be reunited with the 280SL he owned in 1972 and sold with only 5,000 miles.
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Bud’s Benz embarked on a five year restoration, paying close attention to preserving the car’s original details.
business in Meridian, Mississippi. He has had a variety of careers in the automotive business ever since, including numerous retail roles, as well as owning six Budget rental car franchises.
In 2010, Tommy was at Mercedes-Benz of Macon, Georgia, servicing an SLK 230. There he saw both a Gullwing and W198 300SL at the dealership. He asked about both cars, which were owned by longtime MBCA member KB Pearce. The dealership told Tommy that the Peachtree section would be holding a show there the following day. Tommy cleaned up his long-owned 380SL and headed to the dealership the next morning.
Joan was also a participant at the show, exhibiting her 250. That car show was Tommy and Joan’s first meeting and they saw each other at subsequent club events. At one of those events, Joan was disappointed that she could not attend in her 250, as it would not start even though it had a battery tender on it. Tommy offered to bring her a battery and arrived at her house the next day. When Tommy opened the garage and saw the 250 and the Corvair, he thought to himself, “I found myself a car girl!”
And indeed, it was a match–Tommy and Joan started dating thereafter and married in 2011. Together, they have attended numerous events in the southeast, including the Sand Hills Concours, Amelia Island Cars and Coffee, and several local Peachtree events. At one of these events, Tommy came across a truly unique opportunity to add to their growing collection.
One of the cars that Tommy was particularly fond of was a 1970 280SL that was part of his retail car lot in Meridian in 1972. This interesting 280SL was light ivory, with a tobacco brown
roof and cognac interior, the exact color combination as Joan’s 250. While selling cars was his business, Tommy fondly speaks about enjoying certain cars as they were in between owners, and this 280SL was one of his favorites. With the speedometer showing approximately 5,000 miles, Tommy reluctantly sold the 280SL to a local friend who drove and enjoyed the car, although time and distance caused them to lose touch.
Decades later, at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Tommy ran into an old friend and former employee from Mississippi who demonstratively told him that he had bought Tommy’s 280SL from the man he had sold it to in 1972 and that it needed restoration. Immediately Tommy was intrigued and told his friend to call him first if the car were ever available for sale, as that was one of his favorites. Six months later, Tommy was able to purchase the 75,000-mile 280SL and embarked on a five-year restoration with David Laitham at Bud’s Benz in Atlanta, Georgia. The cosmetic and mechanical restoration was completed in 2017. At that time, Tommy started to show the 280SL alongside the 250. The couple has many more cars, including the aforementioned 380SL, another 280SL, a 1995 SL500, a 2003 SL55, and a 2018 E400 convertible. Still, their favorite cars are the matching 250 and 280SL. Even though Joan is no longer able to drive, she still displays her 250 with her caregiver, and Tommy follows closely behind in their 280SL. When you see them on the field this summer, stop by and meet Tommy and Joan and see their prized matching cars.
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Top: Joan Couch’s 1971 250 is popular among members, as many fondly remember the model providing excellent transportation.
Middle: The Couch’s love affair with Mercedes spans many decades. It took MBCA to bring them together.
Bottom: Tommy and Joan enthusiastically share their cars with other members at MBCA events.
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THE FIRST “UHLENHAUT COUPE”
300 SL /53
Rudy Uhlenhaut set down the parameters for a faster racing sports car and Hans Herrmann proved that it worked. But the 1953-model 300 SL was caught in the hiatus between the 1952 season and the coming racers of 1954.
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TEXT: Karl Ludvigsen PHOTOS: Dailmler Archives/Ludvigsen Partners
Looking ahead to its major re-entry to racing in 1954, MercedesBenz arranged a test and practice session on Monday, October 12, 1953. The venue was convenient, the Solitude circuit on the south-west side of Stuttgart. This was a twisting triangular course on public roads so 150 policemen had to be mustered to keep it clear.
Solitude would test both men and cars because its varied surfaces were in mediocre shape. The roads were narrow and uneven; a few months later improvements were to begin;. All the better to put the drivers to the test. Those present to drive were respected Karl Kling, Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess, the latter two the winners at Le Mans in 1952 in a 300 SL. Joining in was Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the head of Daimler-Benz research and development who on his day was as fast as any of them.
Also present was a 25-year-old Stuttgart café owner who had recently made a name for himself by becoming German Champion in the 1,500 cc sports-car class: Hans Herrmann. Race director Alfred Neubauer had signed him as a junior driver after tests conducted by Daimler-Benz at the Nürburgring that summer.
Two versions of the 300 SL were available for these tests and comparisons. One was an original racing coupe from 1952, chassis 08, while the other was chassis 11, which looked different. It was sharper-edged at the front with unusual air-exit vents and bulges in its hood. Under it was an engine equipped with fuel injection, the first Mercedes product to be so-equipped. It was a candidate to race in 1953.
So far no motorcar driver had managed to exceed or even reach the Solitude circuit’s “dream limit” of a five-minute lap. “As a comparison for our lap times,” said Herrmann, “we can have a look at the last race, which took place in 1950. Karl Kling achieved 5:11 in a Veritas racing car. The Australian Ken Kavanagh still held the motorcycle record since 1951 on the 500 cc Norton with 4:58.
“At the start and finish area at Glemseck there was a real racing atmosphere that morning,” Herrmann recalled. “Neubauer commanded his staff, company directors were there, engineers, Mrs. Kling, journalists, photographers, paramedics. All the equipment is laid out: tires, fuel barrels, signal flags, timing. The drivers took turns. The two cars completed many
laps before mechanical damage occurred. As expected, we achieved the fastest times with the new Type 1953. The best laps were recorded as follows:
“Kling 5:17 minutes (track partially wet), Lang 5:10, Riess 5:07, Uhlenhaut 5:03, Herrmann 4:52. I still remember well how a mechanic held out the scoreboard with the best time. Alfred Neubauer later noted in his report: ‘The performance of our young driver Hans Herrmann surprised us again. He was the only one who went below the five-minute mark and broke Kavanagh’s official lap record.’”
This was an impressive result not only for Herrmann but also for the 1953 version of the 300 SL, represented by chassis 11. Also satisfied was Uhlenhaut, who not only set out the parameters for the 1953 300 SL but also directed the changes that made it much faster than the 1952 model. “The next day,” recalled an observer, “the newspapers were full of praise for the new car and the new Mercedes works driver.”
Little did they know that the 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, so impressive in looks and performance, was a dead duck and had been since January 21. That was the day on which engineering chief Fritz Nallinger wrote to Uhlenhaut, Neubauer and their close colleagues to state that racing participation would cease in 1953. Exciting new cars were being prepared for 1954. All emphasis would be placed on their design and perfection.
But the new record-holder at Solitude, chassis W 194/00011, escaped the implications of that ukase. At the time of Nallinger’s declaration it hadn’t been completed. The plans to make nine more like it, launched in November 1952, hit the barrier. But the prototype of the new 300 SL racing version would carry on.
One of the major advances in the new car’s six-cylinder 3.0-liter engine, adding much of its speed, was its use of fuel injection. Engine maven Heinz Lamm had already shown its potential by fitting Weber carburetors, giving each cylinder its own clear and smooth passage to its ports to aid the exploitation of inlet ram effect. Both power and torque numbers rose when three twin-throat Webers were feeding a revised cylinder head with larger inlet valves and ports. But Webers were not the ultimate answer.
Daimler-Benz played the same role in advancing fuel injection for automobiles that it had in introducing supercharging
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Opposite page, top: Heavy insect accumulation resulted from test laps at Monza for the 300 SL/53 and Hans Herrmann, active here. Belgian Englebert tires were used.
Right: Below a redesigned instrument panel, the central tunnel of the 1953 300 SL version was higher to accommodate its shift linkage, which had a reverse lockout.
Below: Convenient to home base, the track at Hockenheim was fast but with its sharpest bend nearest the town, the Stadtkurve, that the 1953 prototype took with aplomb.
Bottom: Herrmann is pictured at the door of the 300 SL/53 during the Solitude trials. Both the impressive young driver and the striking new version of the SL made headlines.
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a generation earlier. Like supercharging, fuel injection came to Mercedes-Benz cars through racing after proving itself on aircraft engines in the course of a great world conflict. Also relevant was the company’s experience, with Bosch, in the development of direct-injection equipment for car and truck diesel engines.
Just how this was achieved is a subject that deserves a separate story. Engineers who contributed to the advancement of fuel injection at Daimler-Benz were Herbert Maruhn before the war and Hans Scherenberg afterward. The latter in fact was the first to productionize fuel injection on the two-stroke Goliath GP700 Sport and GP700 E models in 1952, before he moved to Daimler-Benz. He led the work on this advancement that ultimately spread across the Untertürkheim company’s range, with the invaluable help of Bosch.
As applied to the 1953 car’s M198 six, injection helped raise its power past the 200 mark to 220 bhp at 5,600 rpm and its torque to 202 lb-ft at 5,220 rpm. These figures corresponded to Rudy Uhlenhaut’s stated objective of a 21 percent increase in power for the 1953 model and a 7 percent rise in torque.
By exploiting the added power in a more compact and less heavy car with 16-inch wheels, lighter shock absorbers (a Rennabteilung obsession) and the initiation of disc-brake experiments with Britain’s Lockheed, Rudy Uhlenhaut stated, “I am convinced that a sports car of this design will have good chances for success in the year 1953.” This was on 1 December 1952, when plans were going forward robustly for the 1953 season.
The 1953 prototype, chassis number W 194/010000011/53, was built to incorporate as many of Uhlenhaut’s ideas as possible.
The use of disc brakes went by the board for the time being, but better braking would be the result of larger brake drums made possible by the use of 16-inch wheels. The former 15-inch wheels had been a point of debate with racing-tire suppliers, who complained that they were too small to carry rubber that could have decent wear as well as grip capability. They now carried 8.25 x 16 tires on rims 7 inches wide.
Among the means urged by Uhlenhaut for lightening the 300 SL for 1953 were a body of magnesium, simpler and lighter fuel tanks and cast aluminum instead of cast iron for both the transmission housing and the cylinder block. Many of these were achieved in the first prototype. Moreover its lightness was aided by reducing the wheelbase to 90.6 inches, splitting the difference between the wheelbase of the standard racing coupe and that of the short roadster that had been built for the 1952 Nürburgring sports-car race.
The reduced wheelbase was also intended to shift more weight to the rear axle to improve drive traction. Planned to enhance this was a move of the battery and dry-sump oil reservoir to the rear. As well the four-speed transmission was moved to the rear of the chassis, where it was attached by a magnesium adaptor to the front of the differential. It was shifted by a remote-control rod going forward to the gear lever. This was a return to the rear transaxle that had been a feature of M-B Grand Prix cars from 1934 to 1939.
To reduce the jacking effect that was preventing the added power from being used effectively in turns, the prototype’s rear suspension was converted to a low-pivot configuration. Never happy with the rear-axle chatter experienced with the pre-war
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Grand Prix car’s suspension, Uhlenhaut had fitted a low-pivot swing axle to one of these cars in 1951 as an experiment leading toward the design of a then-planned new 1½-litre racer.
The tests he conducted at various circuits showed, Uhlenhaut recorded, “that a swing axle with a low-placed pivot and thereby a lower roll center as well as a longer effective swing length, and with radius rods to transmit the propulsion forces from the driving wheels, produces very good handling characteristics which are at least equal to those of the double-joint axle [the normal W154 rear suspension] and evidently even superior. A swing axle that meets these requirements can be realized, using the existing axle housing with relatively few changes.”
Rudy Uhlenhaut added, “I believe that without lowering the roll center of the swing axle and without longitudinal support of the drive wheels the 300 SL will not be able to achieve a significant increase in performance on winding roads even if the engine output is far greater than at present.”
In addition to Uhlenhaut, Hans Scherenberg and Josef Müller shared credits in the patents covering the principle first implemented on chassis number 11. Swing arms to its rear hubs were pivoted to the bottom of the distance piece that joined the transmission to the differential. They swung in front of the exposed half-shafts. This gave a lower roll center.
Hub thrust and torque loadings were taken by a Watts linkage made up of radius rods above and below each hub. The lower rod ran forward and the higher one rearward, so that the rods would be in tension under braking torques. Coil springing was retained. This was in essence the rear suspension that would be used on the coming 1954-55 Grand Prix cars and 300 SLR sports-racers.
Chassis 11 was given the narrower track dimensions of 51.2 inches in front and 53.0 inches at the rear, a substantial reduction thanks to the new suspension. This was in aid of a decrease in frontal area, for which an 8 percent lower figure was sought to reduce drag.
Changes in the body of the 300 SL for 1953 were encouraged by wind-tunnel tests. They showed that the original system for
ducting the escaping radiator air increased the drag coefficient (Cd) by a startling 20 percent. Allowing the warm air to depart instead through vents at the sides of the engine room, into a low-pressure area, incurred a rise of only 5 percent in the Cd. Karl Kling’s Le Mans/Mexico coupe was modified experimentally to this form of venting.
Like the 1952 300 SL and yet subtly different, the body shape of the 1953 car was most changed at the front. It had a wider rectangular air intake with a bold three-pointed star at the center of a horizontal bar. The hood was sharply downswept between the fenders and the smaller, lighter headlamps. For the first time this required two “power bulges” in the hood panel—one over the cam cover and the other over the inlet plenum chamber.
In accord with the wind-tunnel findings, vertical vents at the sides of the cowl were added to exhaust the under-hood air, the exhaust pipe peeping from the bottom of the righthand vent. Other vents were added in the rear fenders. A new grille at the base of the windscreen drew in air for cockpit ventilation and the air outlet at the rear of the roof was made permanently open instead of the flip-up door it had been in 1952. An external fuel-filler was set into the right side of the plexiglass rear window. Tail lamps were mounted in relief from the main body shape.
Instead of the hoped-for magnesium, aluminum was used for the body of the 1953 prototype. An aggressive-looking car, its sloping hood attracted the nickname Hobel at the works after the sharp-nosed planes or scrapers that are used to finish rough bodywork. Newly designed, its handsome cockpit had a single shroud over both the speedometer and tachometer and a high central tunnel to contain the rear transaxle and its remote shift linkage.
Plans for the modified bodywork of the W194/11 came from coachwork designer Walter Gragert, who before the war worked for the renowned Dresden coachbuilding company Gläser. He now reported to Walter Häcker at Sindelfingen, where bodies for nine more cars would be made. The prototype was created at
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the racing department in Untertürkheim, where Walter Schüller was responsible. Hans Scherenberg called Schüller “an artist of God-given talent” in recognition of his extraordinary skill in forming and working metal panels of all kinds.
Perfection of the revolutionary induction system paralleled that of the rest of the car. This 1953 prototype received intake air through a fabricated aluminum manifold with individual ram pipes leading to each inlet port from a long cylindrical plenum chamber. Air entered the front of this chamber, under the control of a large throttle valve, from a scoop behind the grille. Inserted between the inlet and exhaust manifolds, a polished aluminum sheet kept the inlet pipes from becoming too hot, which would reduce the density of the ingested air and subsequently the power of the engine.
In his December 1 manifesto for the 1953 car Uhlenhaut was looking for a weight reduction on the order of 155 pounds. In spite of the lack of either the magnesium body or the aluminum cylinder block, this was nearly achieved. Chassis 11 was compared with chassis 8, Kling’s Carrera coupe, both with two spare wheels and 150 litres of fuel aboard. Against the
Top left: Watt linkages, giving the wheels vertical travel, guided the hub-bearing uprights. Brake drums had shrouded blading to draw cool air over their exteriors.
Above left: Looking toward the front, the arms to the hubs of the 300 SL/53 swung from pivots forward of the differential. Driveshafts had variable-length provisions.
Top right: Two spark-plug locations had been tried for the 300 SL six. The position in the cylinder block was used for the fuel-injection spray nozzles.
Opposiete page, bottom left: Below a redesigned instrument panel, the central tunnel of the 1953 300 SL version was higher to accommodate its shift linkage, which had a reverse lockout.
Opposiete page, bottom right: A major change was the repositioning of the aluminum-cased gearbox at the rear, attached to the differential by a distance piece.
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1952 car’s 2,591 pounds the new one scaled 2,450 pounds—a 141-pound reduction.
In fact engines with aluminum blocks were used at times—as new historical evidence reveals: the experimental aluminum engines M 198/81 and 198/82 were used in test sessions at Hockenheim and at the Solitude circuit in 1953 and 1954.
The idea of racing this new version of the 300 SL (with its shorter wheelbase the 300 SLK?) was still very much alive. The necessary works commissions were put in hand. Fritz Nallinger approved the construction of ten new cars, in addition to the prototype. Its dedicates space frame was completed on December 18, 1952. After building the first body of the final shape itself, the Racing Department was to ship its wood model to Sindelfingen not later than 15 February 1953 so that four more bodies could be made there between March 7 and April 7to have five cars ready in good time for the Mille Miglia on April 25th.
In the meantime preliminary experimental work was progressing at Untertürkheim through 1952 on the concept of a new Grand Prix car for the 1954 season. Promising solutions, such as the use of fuel injection and the low-pivot swing axle, had been found to the challenges posed by the new 2½-liter G.P. formula.
Early in 1953 Daimler-Benz senior managers were ready to commit their company to the huge challenge of a Grand Prix
campaign in 1954. All its resources were needed, it decided, to make this the success it had to be. As well, the program included a sports car based on the G.P. concept. Thus the decision was taken to scrub the ‘300 SLK’ project. Only the prototype, chassis 11, remained to suggest what might have been.
Nevertheless the unique sports coupe served its purpose. Ready to rumble in the spring of 1953, it was driven in public by members of the test and racing departments. It was Rudy Uhlenhaut’s favored transport until his 300 SLR coupes were ready. In fact this car fully deserves the designation “Uhlenhaut Coupe”, for it was Uhlenhaut who specified the design that was subsequently built according to his concepts and ideas.
Used for regular test drives in the Alps or for travel to the Geneva Motor Show, the Hobel also carried out intensive tiretesting and driver-training assignments. In November 1953 it was featured on the cover of ADAC Motorwelt, the house organ of Germany’s biggest motoring association. A month earlier the magazine Auto Motor und Sport had published official works photos under the heading “SL 1954”.
Modifications of the car’s exterior were made over the years, sometimes leading to the belief that there were several examples of the 300 SL/53. One change was in its exterior. During 1955 the car was given dark-grey paintwork and the radiator aperture was accentuated with chrome and aluminum trim. Why this was done is not apparent from the records. As well
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the air vents behind the rear wheels were given four horizontal chrome louvres instead of the original three.
On July 3, 1953 tests were scheduled at Hockenheim to measure tire wear and test a recirculating-ball steering system. The engine with an aluminum cylinder block was used and a 3.25:1 rear-axle ratio was installed. Test laps were driven by Rudy Uhlenhaut and his assistant Walter Kostelezky. The 300 SL/53 proved to be decisively faster than its sister from 1952: Uhlenhaut’s fastest lap time of 2:31.7 with the old racing 300 SL was lowered to 2:20.1 with the 300 SL/53.
The enormous time reduction of 11.6 seconds impressively demonstrated the correctness of Uhlenhaut’s theories on how to make the 300 SL a winning proposition for 1953. On the long straight between the East Bend and the Friedhof Bend a maximum engine speed of 6,100 rpm was achieved with the new car, though only 5,800-5,900 rpm was possible in the old car with the same final-drive ratio.
Juan Manuel Fangio, whom Alfred Neubauer was persuading— so far vainly—to accept a seat on his 1954 Grand Prix team, was offered the wheel of the prototype coupe at Monza during tire tests at the fabled Italian circuit on September 30 and October 1. He lapped at 110.61 mph. This was quick but below the speeds of some 113 mph recorded the previous June by the latest 3.0-liter Ferraris and Lancias at the same track. The decision not to race the new-type 300 SL in 1953 seemed vindicated...
although the new car had neither its planned weight-saving aluminum cylinder block nor its magnesium body.
Nonetheless the Monza tests further validated how much faster the new car was. In particular they showed how well the changes suited the new car to the virtuosity of a driver of the caliber of Fangio. Lap-time comparisons with a 1952 coupe at Monza told the story.
Driver1953 300 SL1952 300 SL:
• Her rmann2:9.02:14.5
The last word went to Hans Herrmann. He described the unique car’s driving behavior and road holding as “very good, with slightly oversteering cornering behavior. The suspension was harder than on the production model but less hard than on the 1955 racing 300 SLR.” As for the oversteering, this would be dealt with by the low-pivot swing axle used in the 300 SL Roadster. In the Daimler-Benz of those days—and even today for that matter—no hard-learned knowledge goes unexploited.
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Significantly narrower with smaller headlamps to reduce frontal area, the new 1953 300 SL was lighter with less length. Wheels were 16-inch instead of 15-inch.
THE GRAND 600 SILVER ARROW
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TEXT & PHOTOS: Rubin Howard
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Once in a while, you lay eyes on a custom Mercedes-Benz that is something special. It’s clearly a Mercedes, but there’s something unique. Peculiar, yet familiar to connoisseurs of the marque.
Paul Bracq & Karl Middelhauve, two friends with a shared passion for Mercedes-Benz, used their talents to re-imagine the car they love and create something new–the Grand 600 Silver Arrow.
Paul Bracq is a household name to many Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts. The famous French designer penned the lines of many iconic Mercedes-Benz models of the 1960s and 1970s, including the Mercedes-Benz 600. His designs for MercedesBenz are considered by many to be some of the most beautiful vehicles in the world. Bracq’s talents did not stop at MercedesBenz. He also succeeded with designs for other European marques such as BMW & Peugeot. Karl Middelhauve is a world-renowned specialist whose legacy revolves around the restoration and provenance of Mercedes-Benz 600 automobiles. His restorations and one-off vehicles have made their way across the world, and owners pride themselves when they say their car came from Middelhauve. Unafraid to push boundaries
OThe Silver Arrow. Something uniquely Mercedes.
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The Grand 600 Silver Arrow weaves many interesting parts together as a rich combination of brand history.
and explore the capabilities of the W100, Karl has restored dozens of 600’s using refurbished original parts and ensures that his cars are as close to perfection as possible. He has also re-engineered certain design aspects of these cars to improve functionality and reliability. He and Paul have also worked together to design and build two one-off 600 pick-up trucks: El Benzo and Benzamino.
The idea for the Silver Arrow began in 2009. One day, Middelhauve asked Bracq how he thought a Mercedes-Benz 600 cabriolet would look. Paul replied, “I will let you know soon”. Then Paul Bracq drafted five renditions of what a W100 600 might look like–two of which made it to the final drawing board. The first proposal was to use an original W100 600, move the front axle forward by six inches, shorten the boot, lower the roof line by four inches, and slope back the windshield to be reminiscent of an R129. The alternative option was to take a V12 R129 SL and re-work the body with sheet metal from a W100. The latter was deemed the better option.
The duo wanted to embody the spirit of the “Grosser” 600 while implementing the modern technology that comes with a modern R129 chassis. A reverse Resto-Mod, if you will. The SL600 Silver Arrow would be an extremely rare and prestigious
vehicle, much like an original 600. Only 100 SL600 Silver Arrows were built. The M120 6.0L V12 is a true homage to prior Mercedes-Benz 600 flagship models.
The complexity and attention to detail have always positioned Mercedes-Benz 600 automobiles in a class of their own. Throughout history, the number 600 evolved through many iterations. It first stood on the rear deck of the larger-than-life Mercedes-Benz 600 which was built from 1963-1981. The 600 name was derived from the massive 6.3L M100 V8 used to propel the large sedans. The magic number then disappeared until 1992, with the reveal of the revolutionary M120 6.0L V12 in the W140 S600, and of course the R129 SL600. Naturally, all of these cars served as flagship automobiles for MercedesBenz. They were all truly bespoke cars, and by the 1990s, it seemed as though there was a 600 for everybody who would dare to own one.
“Coach-built” would be an excellent way to refer to the Grand Mercedes-Benz 600 Silver Arrow. Attention to detail was paramount. To satisfy the design needs of Mr. Bracq, the car had to have a belt line reminiscent of the W100. The car embodies all of the 600’s timeless design elements, but it’s still an R129 SL600 underneath. Karl managed to retain the classic and original
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In its simplest form, the car combines a 2002 SL roadster and a 1967 Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100), also known as the Grosser.
style of a W100 door handle while integrating the infrared remote-key entry from the R129. The entire bonnet mechanism had to be reworked since the original 600 was 5 inches wider than the R129. The exterior retains the original Mercedes db777 Silver Arrow silver. The interior transports you through time and provides the creature comforts that one might expect of an early 2000s luxury vehicle. The famous hydraulic-operated roof is fully integrated, and functional within the design. The panoramic hardtop provides variety for the driver, allowing the Grand 600 Silver Arrow to perform well on both coastal cruises and cross-country adventures. R129 enthusiasts will also be quick to note that all of the Silver Arrow’s interior appointments remain the same, from the two-tone Designo leather, veneer, gauge cluster, and even the Silver Arrow designation over the ash-tray cover.
When it comes to Mercedes-Benz cars, the number 600 has always carried an aura of opulence, prestige, and excess, and has often been seen within the circles of celebrities, world leaders, and the über-wealthy. Historically, this ultra-luxurious Mercedes-Benz has never been superseded in terms of quality, comfort, prestige, and price. As Mercedes-Benz evolved, the
number became a constant within the realm of flagship design. This particular vehicle is powered by the legendary M120 6.0L V12 engine. The engine develops 389 horsepower and is paired to a 722.4 5-speed automatic transmission. The engine is famous for several reasons. First, you can balance a coin vertically on the engine. Second, the M120 found its way into several Pagani Honda models. Finally, exhaust modifications can provide a uniquely high-pitched exhaust note.
This author is lucky enough to have experienced the “Grand Mercedes-Benz 600 Silver Arrow” first-hand. Its stature is prominent and reminiscent of a personal luxury coupe from another era. The interior offers the highest appointments of any R129 and provides a sense of familiarity to the driver–something that is missing from many custom vehicle builds. The car handles precisely, as one would expect from an R129 SL600 Silver Arrow, and this is part of the reason why the wheels were retained from the underbody vehicle. The Grand 600 Silver Arrow offers an unparalleled experience as to what the late 1990s / early 2000s Mercedes-Benz could have been if traditions had remained unchanged at Mercedes-Benz.
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The lines successfully pairs the bold fenders of the 600 with the extra sleek lines of the panoramic roof.
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The Grand 600 Silver Arrow is the ultimate Restomod featuring a 6.0 liter V12 engine.
UNIQUE The 1927 Model K Fleetwood
In today’s collector car world, there always seems to be a new way to describe rare automobiles. But there are the few that exist in rarefied air —the truly unique.
Enter our feature 1927 Mercedes-Benz Model K Fleetwood.
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TEXT: David Engelman PHOTOS: Denis L. Tanney
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In today’s collector car world, there always seems to be a new way to describe rare automobiles. But there are a few that exist in rarefied air–the truly unique. Enter our feature 1927 Mercedes-Benz Model K Fleetwood.
It is well-documented that economic conditions in post-WWI Germany brought Daimler and Benz together, creating the Mercedes-Benz we know today. One example: of the 86 German car factories in 1924, only 19 were still producing automobiles three years later. The merger that began with a technical cooperation agreement in 1924 was finalized on July 1, 1926, with an understanding that it was to last until the year 2000.
The following year, Mercedes-Benz recorded an impressive race-victory count, thanks in large part to its new, shorter 630K chassis, leading M-B to be one of the original suppliers of race cars for public consumption.
This new-for-1927 M-B Model K (K for kurzer Radstand or short wheelbase–opposed to Kompressor as on other supercharges models) 24/110/160 PS chassis was powered by a large, 6.2-liter, switchable supercharged (Kompressor) six-cylinder engine and four-speed transmission. Developed by Professor Ferdinand Porsche during his second stint with Daimler and
Ibefore he opened his engineering office in 1931, the Model K, with its larger S-Model supercharger was the direct forerunner to the legendary S, SS, SSK, and SSKL cars that immediately followed. The 1927 Model K was considered the world’s fastest production car at the time with a guaranteed top speed of over 90 mph.
An evolutionary version of the Typ 630 chassis, where the “630” references the 6.3-liter engine size, the Model K chassis featured a 14-inch shorter, 130-inch wheelbase, moving it into sports car territory. Additionally, on the “K” models, in contrast to earlier varieties, the exhaust pipes exited on the right-hand side of the engine bonnet, where they were to remain on all subsequent models–supercharged or not.
As was common practice, the model designations were a combination of calculated engine size, naturally aspirated horsepower, and finally, horsepower with the supercharger engaged.
Beginning in 1906, German authorities used an engine’s bore, and its stroke, along with metric horsepower figures to calculate the required yearly vehicle tax owed. This was different from other parts of Europe and signified the 24/110/160 PS grouping. In the case of the new more powerful Model K, the
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“24” represents the calculated engine size, the “110” represents the naturally aspirated horsepower, and the “160” was the horsepower figure with the supercharger employed.
When William Sloan of Rochester, NY (of the famed Sloan Valve Company) saw Rudolph Valentino’s (yes, that Rudolph Valentino) Fleetwood-bodied Isotta-Fraschini on display an ocean away, he knew he wanted one. Although the famed actor had just passed away shortly before it was to be hand-delivered, the Fleetwood-bodied Italian Tipo 8A was at the Hotel Commodore for the 22nd annual 1926 Auto Salon in New York City. Sloan, already a Mercedes-Benz aficionado, commissioned the Fleetwood Metal Body coachbuilder company, which had a sales office less than 20-blocks away at 2 Columbus Circle, to combine the custom body he had become instantly enamored with a brand-new Mercedes-Benz chassis.
The Fleetwood company, with its manufacturing plant located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country just 60 miles outside of Philadelphia, had just been purchased by Fisher Body, themselves recently integrated into General Motors’ growing empire, and was still a few years away from their move to Detroit.
Our featured Model K has taken a remarkable path from its days in Pennsylvania 95 years ago to being back home today. While only passing through a small number of hands once it left the Sloan collection, a few stand out. One such set belonged to the famed southern California auto collector, restorer, racer, and leader of the NBC Orchestra, Don Ricardo.
Opposite Page, Top: Original tool kit along for the ride in the driver’s side running board, ready to assist with multiple tire changes and more.
Opposite Page, Right: The Star – Not just a hood ornament. Registered on 2 August 1923, the trademarked three-pointed star sits atop of the radiator cap; soon to become instantly recognizable world-wide.
Opposite Page, Left, Middle: Original “Fleetwood Body Corp” seat documentation discovered during two-year restoration.
Opposite Page, Left, Bottom: 160 Supercharged horsepower in 1927. Kompressor engaged by way of a switch under throttle pedal. 90+ mph top speed guaranteed by Mercedes-Benz.
As it’s known to happen in the automotive world, some people spend years looking for the right car, and sometimes it is the car that finds the right person. Place current Orwigsburg, Pennsylvanian custodians Michael and Joannie Rich in the latter group. “It came to us by chance,” Michael says. “I was approached by someone in 2017 that knew we would appreciate a special car from nearby Fleetwood.”
Established in 1909 in the small borough of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, the Fleetwood Metal Body Company was the
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brainchild of Harry Urich. Fleetwood designed and fabricated custom automotive bodies for chassis manufacturers such as Duesenberg, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, and perhaps what they later became best known for–Cadillac–for over 60 years.
“With the original Fleetwood company and its early history less than 25 miles away, it was a location we were familiar with and had passed by numerous times,” Michael said. “It was an immediate draw to the Model K.”
Despite a devastating Christmas Eve fire in 2006, the Fleetwood final assembly building survived the fire and still stands today.
The two-year nut and bolt restoration by Steve Babinsky at Automotive Restorations Inc. in Lebanon, NJ began soon after the car arrived from the previous owner in Florida. Over the course of many conversations, the decision was made to use as much of the original sheet metal as humanly possible, despite the extra time it would take. As “the sometime in the past” red painted finish was removed from the exterior and interior metal panels, over 25,000 of the original engine turn swirls, or jewel marks, were revealed.
“Thanks to a forensic paint specialist in New York City, we were able to determine the original colors during the very beginning of the restoration,” Michael continued. “We were even able to find a piece of the original leather. Additionally, each interior wood panel removed had the same markings made by Fleetwood, confirming the car not only retained all the original exterior metal panels but the interior ones as well.”
Opposide Page: Twin Michelin spare tires indicative of 1927 road conditions.
Left: Small sample of the 25,000 engine turns found under repainted cowl.
Above: 160 Supercharged horsepower in 1927. Kompressor engaged by way of a switch under throttle pedal. 90+ mph top speed guaranteed by Mercedes-Benz.
“My father was the inspiration for me to get involved in this wonderful hobby,” Michael shared. “I wish he was still here to have shared this restoration project with Joannie and me and to share the journey as we continue to travel with the car at Concours events around the country.”
“This has been a fun project,” Joannie adds. “From the acquisition in Florida to the stages of restoration, to finally getting it out to the public to see. We struggled with the color of the car, but believed it was important to bring it back to its original glory in all ways.”
“To be honest, Steve Babinsky and I were very disappointed we didn’t win best of show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2019,” Michael admitted. “But it was our first show, fresh out of Steve’s shop. Of course, competition is at an incredible level and getting more intense every year. The car that won our Mercedes-Benz Pre-War class went on to win Best of Show at the following Pebble. However, earning Best of Show at the 2019 Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance a month later, and the Mercedes-Benz Star of Excellence Award at the 25th Amelia Island Concours helped us get past the initial letdown.”
“The final product exceeded our expectations, and our experience has been very positive,” Michael continued. “We enjoy sharing it with people and telling its story and would do it all over again.”
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“We enjoy sharing it with people and telling its story and would do it all over again.”
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Roadbook to Provence.
Last June, a group of MercedesBenz enthusiasts from San Diego embarked on an adventure, driving Mercedes SL roadsters in Southern France. From the youngest member aged 11 to seniors in their mid-eighties, the group began a seven-day driving tour covering 500 miles over scenic country roads. Classic Car Travel had carefully planned and taken care of every detail.
The first hotel, fronting the Mediterranean Sea on Promenade des Anglais in Nice, was perfect for adapting to local time and also exploring the highlights of the French Riviera. The following morning in Monaco, a local guide led us through the city state’s cobbled streets and the tour ended with a ceremonious changing of the guard at the palace. The afternoon included a visit to Belle Epoque Villa Ephrussi-Rothschild, with its impressive botanical gardens overlooking the seaside resort of Cap-Ferrat. The first of several birthdays in the group was celebrated at a harborside dinner with a very French birthday cake loaded with candles. Anticipating the lavender fields to come, each couple received a lavender travel diary and a clutch of purple pens and pencils. Returning to the hotel, everyone hoped for a glimpse of the SL roadsters, but Classic Car Travel team would not reveal where the classic cars were stored for the night.
Sharing the Road with Napoleon
The next day, there was a rush to check out of the hotel and get on the road. But first, a technical orientation was held. The briefing concluded with a surprise gift of leather driving gloves for everyone. In the garage afterward, each couple quickly selected a Mercedes-Benz roadster for the day, and drove out to confront Nice’s heavy early morning traffic, French road signage, and seemingly endless traffic circles (which honestly do come in handy when an exit is missed). These French challenges only heightened everyone’s longing for those promised country roads.
The day’s first stop in Grasse provided a private tour of the Fragonard perfumery, before departing into the hills of Route Napoleon used by the French Emperor
June 2022 came and twenty San Diego
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MBCA members departed on a customized French adventure. Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Travel, they found themselves behind the steering wheels of classics.
SAN DIEGO SECTION DRIVING TOUR
upon his return from Italian exile. The challenging hills quickly changed to rolling cork oak forests, olive fields, and vineyards as drivers motored to their second base camp, the elegant and rustic country hotel “Bastide du Calalou.” Dressing for dinner, everyone gathered for cocktails in the bar, and then moved to dinner in a private glass gazebo for a farm-to-table gourmet meal concluding with “The Dark Chocolate Mille-Feuille.” Need more be said? After dinner, keepsake rocks collected from the stone-lined Nice coastline and hand-decorated with “MB-Provence Driving Trip 2022” were distributed by our youngest member. The consensus of the day was “Thank the Lord for good brakes.”
Circumnavigating the Verdon Gorge, France’s “Grand Canyon”
Each day the drivers drove a different MB roadster, providing the opportunity to experience the characteristic engineering changes, some might say improvements, made by Mercedes-Benz in the manufacturing of their first SLs -the W113 built from 1963-1971, and the R107 produced from 1971-1989. While driving the perimeter of the Gorges du Verdon, many thought the Verdon more impressive than the US Grand Canyon. Breathtaking views changed around every turn. Overhanging stone cliffs, lush steep sandstone canyon faces, narrow tunnels,and a fog-enshrouded turquoise riverbed were only a few of the majestic sights. This was also the day for awards. The best mileage of the day went to “Pimento’s” drivers who managed the day’s drive on “empty” (gas gauge on the fritz). “Pumpkin’s” drivers received the “Speed Award” as they whizzed by every other car in the Classic Car flock. Another couple, who lived in France for years, summed up the day by concluding, “This was a part of France that we had no idea existed.”
Hunting for Lavender
Day 5 took the group west to the so-called “High Provence” (Haute Provence) on a spectacular day through many picturesque villages surrounded by the famous
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SAN DIEGO SECTION DRIVING TOUR
Formal gardens at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
2. Changing of the guard at the Prince’s Palace, Monaco.
3. Pink umbrella-lined street in Grasse.
2 4 1 3
4. Farewell dinner in Mallemort, France.
SAN DIEGO SECTION DRIVING TOUR
lavender fields! Lourmarin, ranked among the “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (most beautiful villages of France), was the day’s lunch stop. While the cars climbed the mountainside during the lavender hunt, convertible tops went down, up, and down again as rain clouds and sunny skies contended with one another. A few creative drivers reverted to emergency tops, better known as umbrellas! The rain failed to dampen spirits, however, and thankfully, clear blue skies prevailed over lush, peak-period lavender fields.
Early evening arrival at the third and last charming Provence hotel, Le Moulin de Vernegues, a former post station and mill, provided time to enjoy an outdoor dinner and celebrate another birthday. It became clear to all that the French only bake very large birthday cakes.
The next day’s driving was carefully planned to allow for a more relaxed pace. While some travelers drove all the way to see the wild white horses and the wetlands of the Camargue (they say these are the only horses that can graze underwater), others visited the walled Roman town of Aigues-Mortes passing countless
sunflower fields along the way. After an early afternoon drive to Arles, we rendezvoused for a guided tour. Over dinner, a champagne toast was given by one couple celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary. They drive a Mercedes-Benz 280 SL at home. Everybody agreed how fortunate we were to not only see beautiful historic sites and natural wonders but to do so in classic roadsters.
The last driving day provided a leisurely drive through the French countryside ending in Avignon. The City of Popes, as Avignon is known, is a preserved medieval city with an intact ring wall and fortified towers. After the visit, drivers eagerly jumped back into their cars for a return trip through quaint hillside Gordes which is perfectly situated to earn the title of the “watchman” of the Luberon. The entire traveling group dined together one last time at a typical Provencal restaurant where unique, individual stories and toasts abounded.
Bidding a Farewell to France
Summing up the multitude of sights and experiences is difficult. What was the
highlight? The amazing scenery everywhere, from the stony Riviera seashore or the hilly Verdon Gorge? The opportunity to choose a different elegant roadster to drive each day? Indulging day after day with delicious French wine, food, and desserts that really were too beautiful to eat? Enjoying a completely unique experience with new friends? Clearly, it was all these things, and no doubt for each of us, many other special memories. This had indeed been a “trip of a lifetime,” and many voiced a desire for another trip. After goodbyes and hugs, our tour director, Walter Laimer, one of the Managing Directors at MercedesBenz Classic Car Travel, left us with his parting comment: “Your group was as American as I wished you to be.” Knowing Walter’s love of America, we weren’t certain it was a compliment, but it was taken as one!
With oh-la-la and a bientot,
2022 MBCA San Diego Provence Travelers
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Vintage SLs parked for the evening. Driving along the Verdon Gorge.
• Tech Talks & Guest Speakers
• MBCA Fashion Show/ Car Show & Luncheon
• Mercedes-Benz New Car Extravaganza and Lifestyle Exhibition
• Tech Talks & Guest Speakers
• Rally Drives and Tours
Presented by the Mercedes-Benz Club of America & Artomobilia
• MBCA Medallion Rally Luncheon
• Hullabaloo Street Festival, Drive-In Car Show, and Concert
• Mercedes Monumental Classic Car Show at Artomobilia
• The Grande Celebration Awards Dinner
• Kids Zone Exhibit Play Station & Driving Experience
• Rally Drives and Tours
Presented by the Mercedes-Benz Club of America & Artomobilia
• Silo Auto Club Racing Simulator Challenge
We have partnered with Indianapolis Downtown Hilton Hotel & Suites to help accommodate you during your visit from start to finish. This is the host hotel for many of the Mercedes-Benz events, and they are nothing short of the best.
BOOK YOUR STAY TODAY!
Days of Mercedes-Benz Culture, Causes, People, Lifestyle, Technology, and Cars.
Access the MERCEDES BENZ CLUB OF AMERICA special rate of $179.00 per person plus taxes. When you use promo codeGRANDE NOW! qrco.de/mercedesgrande Save $50 per person by purchasing the VIP Ticket Package.
all Things Mercedes-Benz Four
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MBCA Member Exclusive
MBCA welcomes Mecum Auctions as a new member benefit and sponsor. Now, members can enjoy the “Mecum Experience” at any future Mecum Auction.
Mecum Auction Schedule qrco.de/mecum
1 Get Access
MBCA members can access any Mecum Auction and also receive 50% off the Standard Bidder registration fee at any Mecum Auction.
2 Bring a Group
MBCA Regions and Sections can schedule member meet-ups and gatherings at any Mecum Auctions, which includes a welcome from Dave Magers, the CEO of Mecum Auctions, and also information about trends in the collector car market. In addition, members will experience the display of thousands of consigned vehicles.
3 Did You Know?
In just the last 10-plus years, Mecum Auctions has consigned more than 7,000 Mercedes-Benz, with the highest-seller being a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing selling for $2.64 million. Details about this and all results at Mecum Auctions are complimentary with a MyMecum profile at mecum.com.
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MBCA GERMAN TOURS
Immersive Members Only Germany Tour
HHave you ever wondered about all the history and technology that have gone into making your Mercedes-Benz? In September, club members have had the chance to learn with a weeklong guided tour of all things Mercedes in and around the city of Stuttgart, organized by the MercedesBenz Club of America (MBCA). We have had the distinct pleasure of taking a trip, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
MBCA puts together a non-stop agenda of museum and factory tours that made automotive history come to life and gave
us an even stronger appreciation for the Mercedes-Benz marque.
From our hotel base near the Sindelfingen factory, we visited several facilities before finishing each day with marvelous German cuisine at a different restaurant every night.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum provided context for the whole week, with nine floors spiraling down in time through 130 years of automotive history. The Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Center in nearby Fellbach maintains those vehicles and ships classic parts worldwide,
operates a world-renowned repair and restoration center, and sells fully restored classic cars displayed in the building.
At AMG headquarters in Affalterbach, we learned about AMG’s growth from an independent engine-tuning company to its current role in developing cars like the then new GT S. We watched as AMG technicians build individual engines, using precision equipment and skills that justify an individual craftsman’s signature on each lovingly completed power plant.
At the Sindelfingen Factory, where 450 S- and 1,200 E-Class cars left the assembly line every day, we felt the floor shake in the body-panel shop as 20-ton presses stamped S-Class body parts, fascinated as robots executed heavy lifts and intricate, repetitive tasks. Assembly workers carried out the more complex tasks with equal grace and efficiency. Adjacent to production facilities, up to 400 new owners pick up their new cars each day. At the nearby Mercedes-Benz Research and Development facility, we saw future-year cars under cover and test models camouflaged with black-and-white patterned vinyl wraps.
Further afield, we visited Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum, displaying an eclectic collection of technology of all descriptions ranging from an actual Concorde supersonic jet to tanks and steam locomotives. Hundreds of classic American and European car exhibits, including gorgeous examples of Mercedes from the 1920s and 1930s, featured vignettes with models wearing period clothing, bringing the museum pieces to life.
Our final stop was the Dr. Carl Benz AutoMuseum in Ladenburg, home to an extensive display of Benz and MercedesBenz automobiles and memorabilia, including the car that Bertha Benz drove on the world’s first road trip in 1886. It was an incredible privilege to see this treasure up close.
We all owe gratitude to MBCA and Daimler AG for supporting these adventures each year. Trips will take place in September 2023.
These trips do sell out, and we would encourage you to book soon.
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TEXT: Linda Gleadle PHOTOS: Ian Gleadle
Mercedes-Benz Club of America offers members a complete travel adventure and tour to the iconic Mercedes-Benz Museum, AMG Factory, Mercedes-Benz Factory and Euro Delivery Center, Carl Benz Museum, and much more. Space Is Limited | mbca.org/travel | (800) 637-2360 2023 German Tours September 11-17
LEGENDS OF THE AUTOBAHN
TEXT: Tiffany Wismer
Legends of the Autobahn.
On August 17th, the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance will exhibit elegance in motion as cars travel down the Pacific Coast Highway, finally resting in Carmel. Car lovers from all over the world will marvel at the incredible vehicles being displayed and the stories of the ownership of these magnificent automobiles.
Bruno Sacco, who will celebrate his 90th birthday this year, famously said: “A Mercede s-Benz should always look like a Mercedes-Benz.” There will be no mistaking the pedigree of the first few cars in the Pebble Beach tour. Mercedes-Benz has the honor of leading the procession. And after the Tour d’Elegance, you can get as many Mercedes-Benz (as well as other German cars) as you can handle at Legends of The Autobahn.
“The people in Monterey all know that Legends of the Autobahn is one
This August, German car lovers will gather on the lawn for a bit of glamour and a lot of fun at Legends of The Autobahn— a premiere kickoff event for Pebble Beach car week.
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Bruno Sacco, who will celebrate his 90th birthday this year.
of the best shows to experience,” said the Event Coordinator for Legends of the Autobahn, David Abarr. The free event entices observers to encounter a popular and well-defined Mercedes-Benz classic lineup.
For those who show cars, as Abarr put it, “if you’re not there, you’re not anywhere.” And Legends of The Autobahn is the perfect way to participate in the most prestigious car week in the world. He went on. “For members to take their car to Pebble Beach week generates unforgettable memories. Then, to display their classic at Legends of the Autobahn’s perfectly manicured golf course facing the ocean, where else can you encounter that kind of opportunity during Pebble Beach week?”
This year’s Legends of the Autobahn will be held (for the second time) at the PG Links in Pacific Grove. Registration opens on April 19th on the Legends of The Autobahn website, and nobody gets turned away. It’s a casual kickoff to the week, quite the opposite of Sunday’s dressed-to-the-nines experience. Casual and accessible, but by no means basic. And the turnout, Abarr says, “is always good. Last year’s event was so
well-attended that they put a committee together after the event to brainstorm ways of allowing crowds to flow more efficiently through the venue.”
Abarr shared the number of awards they plan for the Legends of The Autobahn. First, there are traditional concours awards using the 100-point scoring system. Additionally, there are some fun awards, such as the “Owner Who Looks Most Like Their Car” prize, an award for the person that’s traveled the farthest to attend, and several others.
Legends of The Autobahn includes beloved German designs from MercedesBenz, BMW, and Audi. It’s the perfect introduction to the weekend. Bruno Sacco’s designs will be front and center this year as the Millennial generation falls in love with the Mercedes-Benz of the 80s and 90s, especially the SL500 R126 and R129.
“Legends really is a do-not-miss event,” David said. “And I don’t think anybody is going to walk away without saying, ‘wow, what a great day!’ I’ve been going for years, and I run the thing, and I would never not go. It’s in my DNA now, I guess.”
AUGUST 17, 2023
Pacific Grove, CA
Legends Of The Autobahn® is an all-German marque Concours d’Elegance held in Pacific Grove, California, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Legends is hosted by the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, the BMW Car Club of America, and the Audi Club of North America. The annual concours events offer both corral and judged areas, awards for all three featured marques and an open class for all other German-made cars.
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LEGENDS OF THE AUTOBAHN
St. Louis Gateway Section, Jim Weddles Car Collection, February 4. On Saturday, February 4th we had the opportunity to visit Jim Weddle’s exotic car collection. Jim, who is often referred to as the Jay Leno of the Midwest, had an impressive array of vintage and modern. We had the chance to get up close and personal with some of the rarest and most beautiful cars in the world, including a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. -Jonathan
Southern Stars, Caffeine and Octane Jacksonville, February 11. Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts attended the Caffeine and Octane Jacksonville event of 2023, and many braved the slightly misty conditions to connect with fellow members and build camaraderie! We had a fantastic mix of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in attendance including AMGs, coupes, sport utility coupes, and sedans! –David Wommer
Wichita Section, Garage Visit, February 11. Member Jeff Siebel very kindly hosted a visit to his car barn. He had several beautiful MB’s along with many other domestic and foreign collectors. Jeff does much of his own car maintenance and restoration, so this was also a great opportunity to get some maintenance tips and gain some additional car knowledge. –Robert Filbey
opportunity for us to share Mercedes-Benz vehicles with vehicle buyers and enthusiasts who might not otherwise see a variety of exotic, historic, modern, and daily-able vehicles! We shared 6 vehicles, including a 1964 Mechatronick 230 SL (with a modern Mercedes-Benz V8!) and a 1997 SL 500 40th Anniversary roadster in gorgeous Crimson Metallic. We enjoyed the new members we met at the event and look forward to future Jax Auto Shows! –David
North Texas Section, White Dog 140 Day Drive, February 18. 32 members and 19 cars gathered for the first drive of ’23. A special thank you to Mel and Eve Kym for planning and leading the drive, setting up a tour of the Ironroot distillery, and the great lunch at MG’s in Sherman, Texas where we had great burgers and a fun display of early neon signs and car models. The tour of the distillery gave a history of the process from grain to barrel bottling with samples for the group. We had a cool but sunny day for the drive to Lake Texoma for pictures of members and their cars. It was a great drive with a great turnout, and it was also good to see so many new members in our section.
Pittsburgh Section, Pittsburgh Auto Show, February 18. Members met for its annual photo at the Mercedes-Benz display at the Pittsburgh International Auto Show. Over 20 members came with their families to see the new models, catch up, and get lunch afterwards.
Wisconsin Section, Valentine’s Day Drive to Dine, February 12. A record turnout of thirty-five members and guests enjoyed great weather and an outstanding brunch at the Wisconsin Section’s 5th Annual Valentine’s Drive-toDine. The weather was outstanding for February, with the temperature in the upper 40s with clear skies. –Jim
Southern Stars Section, The Jacksonville International Auto Show, February 16. The Jax Auto Show was a great
Niagara Section, Valentine’s Day Luncheon, February 19. Valentine’s Day is over, but our love of Mercedes continues. The 31 Niagara section members enjoyed a luncheon at the Pendleton Creek Pub on Tonawanda Creek Road on February 19.
1. Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, part of Jim Weddle’s exotic car collection.
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Search for events in your area and across North America.
Primary members of U.S. Mercedes-Benz Club of America are eligible to exclusive rebates on the lease or purchase of select Mercedes-Benz vehicles. To learn more visit www. mbca.org/mbusa-incentives.
1 Fleet incentives available only for qualified customers on certain MY23 Mercedes-Benz models. Not all engine variants are eligible for Fleet incentives. Please confirm with dealership if chosen vehicle is eligible for Fleet incentives at the time of purchase. Incentive must be used at time of purchase/lease. Incentives vary based on vehicle model as indicated. Eligible person must be the buyer/co-buyer or lessee/co-lessee. Star Access$M incentives cannot be used in conjunction with Diplomat, European Delivery, Special Demos, Certificate Programs Mercedes-Benz Incentive Bonus Cash and other Fleet programs, or non- U.S. specification vehicles. Incentive amounts are subject to change on a monthly basis and should be confirmed with your dealer at the time of transaction. Amount of actual savings may vary depending on model selected. Offer expires March 31, 2023.
Eastern Oklahoma Section, Tulsa Air & Space Museum
Tour, February 22. Fifteen members took a small drive to the Tulsa Air & Space Museum located on the grounds of the Tulsa International Airport. With a mission of “honoring the past, inspiring the future”, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium has carved out a unique niche in the Oklahoma museum community.
Bluegrass Stars Section, Mercedes-Benz of Louisville, February 23. A presentation of the new EQ electric Benz, a tour of the facility, and a delicious Italian meal, all courtesy of the dealership, and our gracious host, General Manager, Miller Warren. –Nancy
Southern Stars Section, Southern Stars Drive & Dine to Ford’s Garage, February 25. Nearly three dozen members joined us to dine at Ford’s Garage restaurant in St. Augustine after most members met us in the Julington Creek area of Jacksonville, FL to commence about a 45-minute scenic drive! Ford’s Garage has the vibe of a 1920’s service station including vintage Ford vehicles, gas pumps, and fixtures.
Pittsburgh Section, Dual Devils Garage Tour, March 11. 18 members gathered at Dual Devils for a tour of a great car collection. A special thanks to all that attended and a shout out to club member Anton Ribich for the site recommendation.
Sierra Nevada Section, Super Bowl Party, February 12.
Members of the Sierra Nevada Section of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America gathered to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play the Philadelphia Eagles.
North Texas Section, Cars and Coffee, March 18. The North Texas Section kicked off Cars and Coffee, a new event for our Section on Saturday, March 18th at the Paradise Cafe in Dallas, Texas. It was a cool morning for Dallas, but the sun was out, and 18 cars attended. The cars ranged from a wonderful Pagoda to a G-Wagon and many models in between.
Bluegrass Stars Section, Collection21 in Erlanger, KY, March 18. It was a blustery, snowy, really cold day when the Bluegrass Stars joined the Cincinnati Section for a tour of Collection21 in Erlanger, KY. It is a private collection, single owner, with 232 American Made vehicles. The Collection spanned everything from an old 4-door to a Corvette or DeLorean! –Nancy Rece
Niagara Section, Benz Talk - Working on the Car, March 18. The Niagara section has a new committee called Benz Talk. This committee is made up of members who love working on cars, going to car shows, and talking about cars. The last event was 3 members who gathered at a member’s garage to work on a beautiful 380SL engine. They spend hours working on the timing chain guides. –Deborah
Ozark Section, Luncheon at Bonefish Grill, March 18. It was a sunny, chilly Saturday with lots of laughs and time to catch up. With its delicious seafood menu, Bonefish is a favorite restaurant of many of our members. –Kathleen
Desert Stars Section, 2023 Picnic, March 18. On a balmy and beautiful weekend in March, members and friends saddled up and rode to the grounds of Kim and David Cesal’s 87-year-old
1. Southern Stars Section members on a scenic drive in Jacksonville, Florida.
2. North Texas Section members during the Cars and Coffee meetup.
2 1 3
3. Witchita Section: one of Jeff Sibel’s Mercedes-Benz during their garage visit
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190 SL-230SL-280SL-450SL K&K Manufacturing 79 THE STAR MJ 2023
ranch-style home at the Phoenix Country Club. Members were greeted by a true replica (No. 15) of the celebrated 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, a special exhibit provided by our fine friends at the Martin Automotive Museum & Events Center. –
Niagara Section, Annual Maple Syrup Weekend Pancake Breakfast, March 19. After a 21-mile drive to the southern tier of New York, the Niagara section members gathered at Sprague’s Restaurant. This is Maple Syrup weekend where pancakes and maple syrup rule the day.
Tampa Bay Section, Silver Springs Glass Bottom Boat Ride, March 19. On Sunday, March 19th, our group of 26 members and guests braved the somewhat chilly weather for a glass-bottom boat ride at Silver Springs Park in the Ocala area. Following the boat tour our group had an early dinner at Brooklyn’s Backyard, a nice casual restaurant nearby.
Los Angeles Section, Carlsbad Adventure, March 25. Craftsmanship Museum Miniature models of engines, buildings & vehicles made of metal & wood are displayed at this museum. The museum, which opened in February 2011, includes the work of the world’s best craftsmen. The facility includes a well-equipped machine shop manned by volunteer craftsmen, making it possible for visitors to watch a machinist at work.
Eastern Oklahoma Section, Gateway Classic Cars
Caffeine & Chrome, March 26. Twenty-three members showcased 18 Mercedes-Benz automobiles at the Caffeine & Chrome event. Members met at the Jackie Cooper Mercedes-Benz parking lot and departed as a group over to the classic car showroom. Thanks to Kristen Bebout and David Young of Jackie Cooper Mercedes-Benz for bringing a new all-electric EQS sedan for display and test drives. –John
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1. One of the many Mercedes-Benz displayed at the 2022 Ponte Vedra Auto Show.
2. The Eastern Oklahoma Section takes a cruise on Route 66 to take in the history and notable neon signs.
1 3 2
3. Members of the North Texas Section participated in the Farmers Branch Classic Car Show.
New identity, new projects !!! 81 THE STAR MJ 2023
The Mercedes-Benz Experience Center
Every once in a while, one discovers a store that is absolutely amazing. In 2020 I was lucky enough to discover such a store: the MercedesBenz Experience Center. Located just 20 minutes from the Atlanta perimeter highway north on GA Highway 400, the Mercedes-Benz Experience Center definitely meets the description of being unique. It all began in 2018. RBM of Alpharetta was approached by the developers of a new upscale mixed-use community, Halcyon, about the possibility of opening a Mercedes-Benz store in their new community. After negotiations with Halcyon, RBM Alpharetta approached MBUSA for their approval and ideas about building a 100-percent Mercedes store. Construction began
soon thereafter on the Mercedes-Benz Experience store, the first of its kind in the United States, and presently the only one in the world. The cost to build the store approached $1 million.
The store’s upscale and modern design is most impressive. All of the walls are black glass, hidinglarge state-of-the-art video screens. On one wall customers can view a live video stream directly from MBUSA; on the opposite wall, visitors can design and customize their dream Mercedes-Benz. The shelving is backlit so that the items on display stand out.
Entering the store, one is immediately greeted by a brand-new Mercedes-Benz vehicle on the showroom floor, as well as several friendly associates. The store
features numerous new Mercedes-Benz vehicles on display for new and existing customers to view. Occasionally, RBM will relocate their exact replica of the 1896 Motor Patent Wagen from the dealership to the store, and periodically displays it at the annual Peachtree Section Concours held every year during Halcyon’s Oktoberfest celebration, Along with the member cars that fill the parking lots adjacent to the shopping plaza, the Patent Wagen is always one of the stars of the show.
The store features a variety of Mercedes-Benz clothing, jewelry, decorative accessories, car models, posters, and pictures. The store’s manager, Christy Spooner, is always bringing in new seasonal merchandise and unique
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TEXT: Doug Geganto PHOTO: Rubin Howard
any make or model of car, truck, motorcycle or boat – running or not – in support of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America Educational Foundation (MBCAEF)
The MBCAEF supports automotive education, defensive driving programs for young people, and Mercedes-Benz technical documentation
ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE
All issues of The Star ® for the years 20112019 are still available. Many issues for the years 1999 to 2010 are also available. Please call to find out if your requested issue is still in stock.
83 THE STAR MJ 2023
Mercedes-Benz items. Visitors often ask if a particular car on display is for sale —and the answer is always yes! If a customer is serious about buying the vehicle, the staff mobilizes immediately and coordinates next steps. Christy proudly states that since opening they’ve sold between 30 to 50 cars from the store.
The store is staffed by sales associates called “Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassadors.” The Center’s staff are trained and well-versed in the specifications and features of the vehicles that are displayed in the store, and always willing to answer questions from visitors. With extensive training on Mercedes-Benz’s history, culture, and models, Ambassadors are very knowledgable and many are promoted into more senior positions at the dealership.
Christy loves to have young people visit and browse around the store. Many times, young enthusiasts ask questions about the cars and Mercedes-Benz’s history, and she is always pleased to let them know that the first Mercedes-Benz vehicle was built in 1886, twenty-two years before Henry Ford built his first Model T in 1908. Christy also enjoys telling the story of Bertha Benz and how she and her two sons drove the Patent Wagen on August 5, 1888, from Mannheim to Pforzheim becoming the first woman to drive an automobile a significant distance. The Center also gives out small models, lollipops, and miscellaneous Experience Center memorabilia, all in an effort to cultivate a new generation of Mercedes-Benz owners.
If you are heading to Atlanta for pleasure or business, visit the Mercedes-Benz Experience Center. The store is located at 6345 Halcyon Way #835, Alpharetta, GA 3000. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11AM to 5PM. Best yet, MBCA members always get a discount if they show their Mercedes-Benz car key and mention their membership in the Club. The Peachtree Section thanks Christy and the Mercedes-Benz Experience Center and looks forward to many fun events together.
1. Outside the front of the stores resides MercedesBenz cars for people to take a closer look at and test drive.
Christy Spooner, the Mercedes-Benz Experience Center manager, provides visitors with the finest customer service experience.
The store offers the finest accessories, clothing, artwork, and more.
2 4 1 3
A large interactive display screen gives visitors the experience of shopping and building MercedesBenz vehicles.
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TEXT: Doug Geganto
DIRECTORS AT LARGE
President (2023) Doug Geganto Peachtree Section 404.754.9955 email@example.com
Vice President (2024) Drew Webb Northern NE Star Section 508.662.4900 firstname.lastname@example.org
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PHILANTHROPY RACHELLE BRUMMETT
Indiana Crossroads 317.989.2843 (c) rachelle.mbcaindianacrossroads@ gmail.com
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1955-1957 Dr. Milton Allen =
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President Bryan Gunning firstname.lastname@example.org
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86 THE STAR MJ 2023
Own a Porsche? Great Membership Benefits for only $46: • Over 3,500 events annually including National and Regional events, driving tours, car shows, autocross, high performance driving, sim racing, and rallies. • Award-winning monthly magazine, Porsche Panorama. • Free classified ads and access to our exclusive membersonly marketplace, The Mart. • Exclusive bi-annual members-only new car raffles. • e-Brake News, weekly Porsche content to your Inbox JOIN US | WWW.PCA.ORG | 410-381-0911 Shoponline BUD’S PARTS • SERVICE •RESTORATION BudsBenz.com 770.942.8444 Mon-Fri 8am-5pm est 7773 W. Strickland St. Douglasville, GA 30134 ORDER FROM OUR NEW ONLINE CATALOGS! CANDOITALL 87 THE STAR MJ 2023
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BEWARE OF SCAMMERS!
1971 280SL, Horizon Blue/Blue Heather, 25,000 miles. Recently restored after 15 years of inside storage. New paint in the original horizon blue with navy leather interior and floor mounted automatic trans. Recent addition of under-dash air conditioning. Believed to be under 25k miles but not verifiable. Recent mechanical work including complete transmission rebuild. Nick Ginali, 847/638-0615 (IL).
1971 280SL, Black/White, 65,800 miles. $140,000 restoration, including paint and engine. All original matching numbers. Two Owners $185,000. Emil Mayer 516-902-9229 email@example.com (DE).
1976 450SLC, Silver/Black Excellent condition. Runs great. Michelin tires, CD player, California car, leather, paperwork, engine overhaul, clean and original. $14,900. Kevin McSherry (818) 5058498, firstname.lastname@example.org (CA).
1986 560SL, Black/Pearl Grey, 75,000 miles. Only two previous owners. Original paint, interior, Becker radio, tools, books, and first aid kit. Everything works. Recent services include: rebuilt steering components, idle control unit, four new tires, and A/C compressor. More photos available. $32,500. Larry Taylor, 717/406-8015 email@example.com (NY).
1987 560 SL, Smoke Silver/Red, 83,267 miles. This 560SL is powered by a 5.5-liter V8 paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. Equipment includes a body-color removable hardtop, and black soft top. Oscar Sanchez, 201/320-3631 firstname.lastname@example.org (NJ).
1987 560SL, Bronze/Brown, 88,831 miles. Garage kept, car runs great, and looks fantastic. Whenever the car is on the road, people notice. This car is a great example of a very nice driver. Since I have owned, seats have been recovered. $29,000. Wendell Gundlach, 336/209-2736, email@example.com (NC
1989 560SL, White/Beige, 39,000 miles. This vehicle is in impeccable condition, less than 100 miles/ month. Custom ceramic coating by Mod Finishes of Colorado Springs. Brand new Pirelli tires. Custom metal hoist and car cover Tonneau cover, chrome door edge guards and fog light covers. Sean Smyth, 909/518-0452, MercedesBenz@bigseon.com (CO)
1990 300SL, Red/Tan, 84,067 miles. Excellent condition. Soft top and removable hard top. Automatic. $22,500. Tom Eardley, 832/544-6715 firstname.lastname@example.org (TX).
1998 SL500, Imperial Red/Parchment, 47,165 miles. Very good condition, extensive records. NC/TX car, paint corrected, ceramic coated. Hardtop hoist & stand, car & hardtop cover. Becker refurb’d radio, top hydraulics replaced. Always garage kept, Silver Star eligible. David Thorne, 704/293-6411, email@example.com (NC).
2001 SL600, Black/Grey ,94,000 miles. Runs perfect. Records from previous owner. Have had it one year. Selling because I have another R129 and an R230 AMG car fell in my lap at a deal too good to pass up. Don’t really need 3 SLs. $32,000. Kevin Tynan: (631)671-9148 firstname.lastname@example.org (NJ).
2002 SL500, Obsidian Black/Oyster,102,000 miles. Four Owners. 300 HP 5L V8, 5 speed automatic transmission with sport mode. Hard top convertible, heated seats, airbags, Xenon headlights, 10 way power seats, ABS, great condition. Asking price $15,500. David Brill: 860-398-1732 Dave@AutoArcheologist.com (CT).
▸ OTHER MERCEDES-BENZ VEHICLES FOR SALE
NO PHOTO PROVIDED
1951 170S. Owned for 35+years. Car can be seen on internet: 1951 Mercedes 170S under concept cars. Car is pretty much complete. Asking $40,000. Carl Minneci: 412/343-5258 (PA).
1953 300 Adenauer. Large sunroof sedan, engine in cradle, rolling car, no gas tank, all doors disassembled, interior & wood very weathered. 90% parts are there, very limited restoration, all primer. Good candidate for full restoration. Will consider reasonable offers, cash only. Juergen Berthold, 802/263-9876 (VT).
2003 SL500, Magma Red/Grey, 31,000 miles. AMG wheels, good paint, asking $19,900 OBO. Audrey Biby, 618/525-8090 email@example.com (IL).
1959 220S, Burgundy/Tan. Project car. Owner embarked on a full restoration in the 1980s, but never got it back together. Very solid with great metal. Clear Oregon title. $3,950. Detailed photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/20823381@N08/albums/72177720296711058.
Michael Spicer, 503/550-1403 (OR).
CLASSIFIEDS ▸ SLs FOR SALE
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Be careful. Online crooks can scam you. It’s best to sell to someone you know, or to confirm the transaction with a mutual friend, like a club member. Note that cashier’s checks are easily faked. Ask for a direct bank-to-bank transfer and confirm receipt before releasing your car. The most common scam is when the Scammers offers more than your asking price, paying with a cashier’s check, with excess to be used by you to pay for shipping.
1962 220SE Coupe, White/Black. Fully restored, beautiful. Owned for 25 years, all paperwork $55,000. Serious buyers only please. James Donovan 206/364-1258, firstname.lastname@example.org (WA).
1967 200, Black/Red. 152,000 miles. 3 year restored by 3 MBCA mechanics. Engine by Metric, New suspension, steering, brakes, interior, wheels and tires. Upgrades from original: wood dash, quartz clock, 3-pt seat belts. Automatic transmission on floor, Webers. All Receipts. To offer, contact by email. John Lofgren, email@example.com (CA).s.
1969 280 SE Carbiolet, Black/Black/Black Top. 65,000 miles. Show quality condition with low miles. Fresh paint on flawless body ready for concours shows or the summer. Factory A/C with floor mounted auto. Fully detailed throughout. Nick Ginali: 847/6380615, firstname.lastname@example.org. (IL).
1971 220D, Blue/Brown/White Roof. 227,000 miles. Fully appraised, concourse condition, single family owner with all original documents and complete service records. Vast majority of its life spent in storage. Runs great. Pics from when it was on display at the local dealer for 16 months. $25,500. William Abb: 919/4485407. email@example.com (NC).
1971 600SWB, White/Blue. 60,000 miles. Short wheelbase 600 in show-quality condition. Long-term collector ownership with meticulous maintenance. Original white paint in flawless condition on an untouched body. Mechanically perfect operating condition. Original a/c car with velour interior including crystal shot glasses. Truly none finer. Nick Ginali: 847/638-0615, firstname.lastname@example.org. (IL).
1973 280SE 4.5, V/8. Exceptional condition throughout. One family owned since I purchased three years ago. Extraordinary care since new. Always garaged; life long California car. Drives fantastic. A V/8 is a real game changer! $24,500. Bill Neff, 619/540-4637 email@example.com (CA).
1973 200SEL 4.5, Silver/Navy. Last year model was made. Silver with navy blue leather. Original OEM alloy wheels. Stored since 1993 when my wife bought me a new SL for my birthday. Can be seen by appointment in. Asking price $30,000 or best offer. Brent Claridge, 519/751-1103, firstname.lastname@example.org (Ontario, Canada).
1979 300CD, Blue/Blue. Bought new in 1979 for $26,000 in Southern California where it still lives. All original, maintenance records. No damage, everything works great. Show car but never been shown. Email offers. A rare one. Detailed often. $29,000 firm. David, 310/375-8363 email@example.com (CA).
1980 280E, Astral Silver/Blue. 110,000 miles. One owner 19822014. Records dating back to new. Fantastic condition inside and out. Very original and very well maintained. Runs and drives great. Cold A/C. Every power option works. Contact for photos and lots of history on this 280E! $15,000. Casey Mitcham, 762/499-0513 firstname.lastname@example.org (GA).
1982 300SD, Lapis Blue/Grey Leather 148,000 miles. One owner, original paint, no rust, garaged. Drive anywhere. Shows well but paint thinning. You’ll find no other like it. Excellent solid driver, 100% correct. Leave message if no answer. First $4750 takes it. Joseph King: 407/862-2693, email@example.com (FL).
1983 300CD, Light Ivory/Palomino. 162,000 miles. Southern rust-free example from FL & TX. New window seals, fluids and filters. Well-sorted, smooth-running engine. Comes with books, tools & first aid kits. Clean CarFax. More photos on request. $19,500. Larry Taylor, 717/406-8015, firstname.lastname@example.org (NY).
1984 300D, Thistle Green, Metallic / Beige, MB-Tex. 148,000 miles. Rust free, all original, perfect interior. Floors, chrome, trim, glass, wood all mint. New brakes, injectors, filters. Battery serviced. Collector quality. Original title and window sticker. Asking $15,000. Stanley Gold, 386/931-3998, email@example.com (FL).
1986 300E. White / Grey, 108,000 miles. Amazing original paint survivor that must be seen to be believed. Full leather interior, over $6k in recent service, looks and drives like a new car. Call for details about its very few flaws. Fly into Phoenix and drive home. $11,500. John Pavich, 928/600-4871, firstname.lastname@example.org (AZ).
1986 560SEC. Black / Black, 108,500 miles. Extensively serviced all-original 560SEC. All mechanical and electrical functions work as designed, car is drivable daily as is. Clean underneath. Records dating back to original sale paperwork in 1986. $21,900. Matt Calhoun, 518/817-9675 (IL).
1987 300TD. Anthracite / Cream Beige, 193,971 miles. 5-speed manual transmission. Interior/exterior from 1995 E320T. Good solid runner. Uses no oil. Strong engine, good mileage. Purchased in 2008 , 45k miles since then. Not perfect but very good solid condition. Fun to drive! $7500 OBO. Craig Wilson, 863/946-1714 email@example.com (GA).
CONT’D. ▾ ▸ OTHER MERCEDES-BENZ VEHICLES FOR SALE
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1987 560SEC. Plumb Red / Red, 127,856 miles. Concourse quality paint matches the immaculate interior. New parts as needed including fuel pumps and suspension air bags. This has been a fantastic road car and inspections are welcome. $11,500. David Hester, 719/395-9156, firstname.lastname@example.org (CO).
1989 300CE. Almandine Red / Mushroom, 132,435 miles. Solid car. Updates added: two USB charging outlets, upgraded speakers, Kenwood radio with Apple Play, Bluetooth. Needs some work, but easily restored to like new. Call or email for details and additional pictures. Tom Keenze, 918/636-6546 email@example.com (OK).
1989 300TE. Permatallic grey / Date leather, 271,000 miles. Recently serviced, runs great. New tires and battery. All records since purchase in 1996. Sunroof. Some rust, paint is faded. No accidents or body work. $3,000. David Varnish: 917/375-6949 firstname.lastname@example.org (CT)
1991 560SEL. Grey / Grey, 82,000 miles. Lots of new parts including tires, brakes, shocks, fuel pumps, local pickup. $10,999, avoid “BAT” fees, buy here. Hilmar, email@example.com (NJ).
1992 300TE 4-Matic. White / Tan, 150,000 miles. From the collection of Jim Luikens. Concours condition Runs & drives excellent, needs nothing, AMG Wheels. Includes car cover. $24,995 FOB. Roger Rosebush, 989/415-3140 firstname.lastname@example.org (MI).
NO PHOTO PROVIDED
1995 E300 Diesel. Smoke silver / Cream beige, 81,000 miles. Acquired from original owner in FL. All original including paint. Rare 1 year only model. Recent service includes new Michelins, MB battery, brake hoses, rotors & pads, fluids and filters, tie rods and ball joints. Everything works including A/C. $21,500. Larry Taylor, 717/406-8015, email@example.com (NY).
2002 ML500 4-Matic. Black Opal / Saddle, 84,172 miles. It is in exceptional shape. Gasoline 5L V8, 4matic. It is “Black Opal”, (very dark blue), with natural colored seats. I have MB Chrome wheels with summer tires to be negotiated into the price. $8,999/Offer. Ed Blomstrom: 608/444-2160 (WI).
1994 E500. Black with Grey Cladding / Black, 131,150 miles. Complete maintenance history. Original paint except for resprayed hood; detailed with paint correction. All in working order, great car, drives strong and shifts like new. AMG staggered wheels recently added in new condition. Dennis Canino, 954/614-6068 (FL).
NO PHOTO PROVIDED
2003 S430. Silver / Tan, 67,000 miles. Original owner. Pristine in/out. Mercedes maintained. New Michelin MXV tires mid-2022. $17,000. Bruce Valley, 603/964-1404, firstname.lastname@example.org (NH).
2005 G500. Silver / Grey, 120,000 miles. Excellent condition. 2nd owner. Colm, 845/641-2431, email@example.com (NY).
VIN# WDBUF76J46A879321, 4 Owner Car (1 dealer), Always garaged and serviced, looked after by Mercedes dealer, last year of individual built cars. Excellent condition. $22,000 OBO. Bill Mialki, 989/708-8038. firstname.lastname@example.org (MI).
185,000 miles. 2 owners, babied, dealer serviced, well-maintained, records, non-smoker, never used factory tow hitch, no kids or pets, recent Michelins, rotors, brakes. Fluids & filters current, OE parts, mostly highway miles. $9,500 OBO. David Pienkowski, 859/230-0870 email@example.com (KY).
2011 G550. Black / Black, 68,000 miles. I am the second owner of this classic. She has always been taken care of. One scratch on the back, right of the door. Everything works, I upgraded the sound system with a Sony XAV-AX5500 Digital system and new camera. serious inquiries only. Manuel Lugo, 330-573-5896, firstname.lastname@example.org (CO).
$55,000, Video: https://youtu.be/C3--GYibci0 Photos: https:// youtu.be/EA2PJhUSnNs . Mike McHann, mike.mchann@eccotek. com, 901/299-6341 (TN).
▸ OTHER MERCEDES-BENZ VEHICLES FOR SALE
2006 E55 AMG. Silver / Black, 83,800 miles.
2014 E250 BlueTec 4-Matic. Obsidian black / chestnut brown, 141,000 miles. Highly optioned with panoramic roof, heated/ ventilated seats, etc. Always garaged. All records, original owner, MB dealer serviced. 141k miles. $16,500. Kenneth McCauley, email@example.com: 908/377-5982
2008 ML320 CDI. White / Tan,
2014 SLK55 AMG. Fire opal red / White / Black top, 16,000 miles. Perfect condition, AMG engine signed by builder, only 400 built that year, Complete service records by MB dealership.
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2017 C300 4-Matic. Cardinal red / Saddle brown, 41,000 miles. Designo edition with H07 Linden Wood. Backup camera, blind spot warning, laser jammer, radar detector, AMG floor carpet mats, Weather Tech floor protection, SiO2, coating, Burmeister stereo, panoramic glass roof, sport package, rear spoiler. Mike Roth, 513/646-6523, firstname.lastname@example.org (FL).
2017 C43. White / Brown / Black top, 57,000 miles. Clear front bra, including headlights and side mirrors. AMG wheels. Garage kept. Excellent condition. 60k mile service already done. Top in great condition and works perfectly. Luxor and original floor mats. Chris Shank, 949/241-1010 (CA).
2017 S65 Cabriolet. Grey / Red, 27,480 miles. Offering a rare and beautiful, highly optioned S65 in designo Manufaktur Allanite Grey Magno with Bengal Red & Black exclusive leather. This vehicle is in very good condition and drives great. Message me for details. Harvey Proveyer, 786/556-1582 (FL).
& MISC. FOR SALE
R107, W123, W126. W124, W129. W140- Maybach sales info’; Model Cars; Mercedes History Books; Catalogs and Sales Literature; M-B Museum Foldouts; Porcelain; Lots items from 80’s04; call 386/263-2245, text 443/454-2829.
Six Wood cuts by Mercedes- Benz in special cardboard folder. All in perfect condition. Folder has coffee stains on back, front and back shows wear. $150.00, you pay shipping from CA. Mary Nohr 805/688-7192 email@example.com (CA).
1938 Poster for Sale – 1938 Mercedes-Benz factory issued poster. Celebrates the 1938 running of the East Prussia Drive. Sized at 8 1/4” x 11 3/4” and printed on the thin paper of the time. This is an Ultra Rare piece of pre-war Mercedes history. $500 plus shipping. TZombek: 614/204-0961 TZombek@aol.com (OH)
– Here is an original pre war Mercedes poster from the 11th Intl. Polish Rally 1938. This is 1/4” x 11 3/4” in size are printed on the thin paper from the time. This is an incredibly rare piece of Mercedes history. $750 plus shipping and insurance. T. Zombek, 614/204-0961, TZombek@aol.com (OH).
NO PHOTO PROVIDED
Workshop Manual-Roadster Parts List-GW Group, 18 Section Tech Tips, 3 Ring Binder-Trunk Badge-Plus Vintage SL Letters & Star Mags.-1958 GW International Membership Directory Honoring Juan Fangio. Text Bid for Prompt
▸ PARTS & MISC. WANTED
▸ I am looking for an ENGINE OIL COOLER for a 2009 (20072010) SLK55 AMG P30. The part is unique and MB part number is 171 500 01 00. A used part or NOS will be fine. Alex, 778/402-9089, firstname.lastname@example.org
NO PHOTO PROVIDED NO PHOTO PROVIDED
▸ 1983 R107 280SL needs a dual water valve . This is the two zone version, not the single automatic version. Part number is 126 830 0084. Can be working or not. Thanks. Robert Lloyd: 2679943584 email@example.com
▸ Seeking W111 220S, SE, SEB sedan or wagon in high-end driver’s condition. Sunroof and floor mounted manual preferred. Trade for same quality ‘67 Porsche 912 5-speed? Todd Buckton: 630/767-9344 firstname.lastname@example.org
▸ 1968 Mercedes 250S 01212-039398.
Miscellaneous parts for sale. Becker Mexico radios with built in cassettes; Becker Corona radio; Tool kits from the 1970s; Headrest from 280SE Convertible; First Aid kits; Manual for SL500 or SL600 convertible; 1970s style convertible top wrench. Make offer. Harvey Kay: 440/646-8400 email@example.com (OH).
Mercedes wheels for R129. New, originally purchased for my 2000 SL600 but never installed. Asking $900.00 Firehawk Indy 500 - Size: 245/45R17 Wheels: 17x8 Offset:+28mm Backspacing: 5.629” Bolt Pattern: 5X112mm Finish: Gloss Blac. Al Michaud, 860/913-5257 firstname.lastname@example.org (CT).
Hardtop for 1991 500SL. Very good condition. Buyer will need to pick up in San Francisco. $800 OBO. Eddy Rubin, 510/928-9945, Eddyrubin1@gmail.com (CA).
Power steering gear box, seat covers, auto trans shift lever retainers. Mike
New Springs for Pagoda. Set of five (5) John Olson progressive rate springs for a Pagoda ( fits 230/250/280SL): front, rear, and swing axle. Reduced nosedive, sportier handling and slightly lower suspension. Springs are new and never installed. $495 plus shipping. Peter Klose, 610/247-6749 email@example.com
Reply. Mike Marsh, 601/946.1950 firstname.lastname@example.org (MS)
1996 R129 SL500 Hardtop – Polar White hardtop with dark blue trim, stand included. No tears in trim or headliner. Needs minor tucks on interior trim. Call for more detail and/or pictures. Hardtop located near Ft Myers Fl. Prefer local pick-up. Make offer. Bill Ross: 919/349-2590 email@example.com (FL)
Parchment leather seats and replacement leather for W108 or W109 sedans. Inquire. Terry Kiwala, 312/286-0532, firstname.lastname@example.org (IN).
Merceces-Benz Shop Closing. All left over assorted manuals, parts and tools for sale. Owners manuals, service manuals & and assorted parts for most models from 1960-1990 for sale. Mostly used, some new. Jeffrey: 410/526-4495
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Removable hardtop with stand and cover. Color is Ivory. Good condition and has been in storage. Jim Watkin: 865/322-0962, email@example.com
WWW.CLASSICTRIMPARTS.COM Your source for hard to ﬁnd R129 SL trim parts. +1-(716)-931-9551 CLASSICTRIMPARTSLLC@GMAIL.COM 94 THE STAR MJ 2023
The Next Trading Post Ad Deadline: May 15, 2023 BACK ISSUES All issues of The Star ® for the years 20112019 are still available. Many issues for the years 1999 to 2010 are also available. Please call to find out if your requested issue is still in stock. (800) 637-2360 123 USA LLC 83 Adsit Company, Inc. 79 Airstream, Inc C4 Amica C2 Authentic Classics LLC 81 AutoMobilia Magazine 87 Becker AutoSound, LLC 95 Beverly Hills Car Club 95 BMWCCA 87 Bud’s Benz 87 Classic Trim 94 Gill’s Precision Automotive 81 Gooding & Company 1 Gordon & Partners 5 Gullwing Motorcars Inc 83 J.C. Taylor Antique Auto Insurance 19 K&K Manufacturing 79 Kienle GmbH 11, 81 Kuberth America 9 Lauderdale Speedometer 87 Laurent Nay 81 Liqui Moly 17 Madera Concepts 83 MBCA –Educational Foundation (MBCAEF) 83 MBCA ERC 65 MBCA German Trip 73 MBCA Loyalty Rewards Program • U.S.........77 MBCA Mercedes Grande 69 MBCA Formula 1 Miami..................................21 MBCA – Purchase Name Badges. 94 MBCA –The Star Back Issues .........................83 Mecum Auctions 3 Mercedes-Benz Cars MBUSA C4 Mercedes-Benz Lifestyle Collections 2 Metric Motors Inc. 94 Miller’s Inc. 87 Niemöller Spare Parts 87 Pelican Parts 85 Porsche Club of America 87 Tire Rack 12, 13 Unique Cars of Palm Beach 94
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ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
In the hills above Talent, Oregon, this rare green (268) 1970 European model, four-speed manual with an electric sunroof has adventured the back roads of vast forests of the great Pacific Northwest.
TEXT & PHOTO: Blue Nelson
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