• Cars & Coffee.

Steaming, freshly prepared coffee.

There it was after all, peeping out from behind the clouds: the sun. This 13 August it had been rather miserly with its rays and warmth. That did not bother many of the fans of 'Cars & Coffee'. They had come with their cars, and now, in the early morning, the mound outside the Mercedes-Benz Museum presented an impressive line-up of vehicles, as it does on most summer Sundays. Cars of all brands and ages try to outshine each other, while their owners enjoy the sunshades and atmosphere of the adjacent Summer Lounge. And steaming, freshly prepared coffee – or something else from the range of available food and drinks.

A jamboree for vehicles and fans: "Cars & Coffee" at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

A jamboree for vehicles and fans: 'Cars & Coffee' at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Relaxed atmosphere, good conversation: fans and visitors amongst the vehicles.

Relaxed atmosphere, good conversation: fans and visitors amongst the vehicles.

Still going until 10 September 2017.

The atmosphere at the Museum site is very relaxed. A beautiful car plus a hot drink – a combination that makes many a classic car owner happy. And even happier in the company of like-minded people. Cars & Coffee: (almost) every Sunday in summer, up until 10 September 2017, this event at the Mercedes-Benz Museum brings fans and vehicles together. It's a relaxed gathering, without formalities or prior registration, every brand is welcome, and people can arrive and drive away when they want. 'The Museum is a tremendous backdrop, and the Mercedes star gives a welcome to all,' says Marcel Hänsch of the Museum team, who regularly manages the event.

2017 prize draw.

This season, all those arriving by car drive through the inflatable archway at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. A photo is taken by the Museum photographer, she hands over a card with the link https://www.flickr.com/photos/mb_museum/albums to all photos and gives the new arrival a smile.

'You never know, you might win – we're going to be holding a prize draw at the end of the season for all of this year's participants.' In fact everyone is already a winner – by spending a pleasant and relaxed Sunday morning with like-minded people.

Volkswagen 1500 (Model 3) next to a 280 CE: 'I didn't want a typical girl's car,' says its owner.

1 family, 2 cars, 4 people.

A characteristic engine note makes itself heard from behind. Sounds very much like a 'Beetle'. Turn around to a look: wrong – a beige Volkswagen 1500 (Model 3) from the 1960s is being parked. 'I didn't want a typical girl's car,' says Susanne Barz, the owner of this gem, 'it had to be precisely this model.' Meanwhile her husband Philip is lifting their two sons Jakob and Bruno out of the Mercedes-Benz 280 CE in which he has arrived. 'We bought this because it has three-point seat belts, so we can take the child seats with us.' This is not the first time that the young family from the Göppingen area has been here. 'This is a wonderful event. We like the very informal atmosphere.'

Former test vehicle.

Wherever you look at Cars & Coffee, the heart beats faster. A sixteen-valve model from the W 201 series? Standing there in the sunshine, and it's the first model. 'Not quite correct,' says Ulrich Gönnenwein from Heilbronn as he opens the bonnet to reveal the '2.5' emblazoned on the cylinder head cover. 'This is a former test vehicle. It already has the more powerful 2.5-litre engine of the 'EVOLUTION'. But externally it looks like a 190 E 2.3-16.' Gönnenwein carries out all the servicing work on this rare example himself – and is quite prepared to put the 'probably 220 horsepower' car through its paces on a fast lap of the Nürburgring.

In the guise of the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16: a former test vehicle, already fitted with the 2.5-litre engine.

"That's a Pullman": correct, a Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman produced in 1965.

'That's a Pullman': correct, a Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman produced in 1965.

Popular with the public too.

There's a constant coming and going outside the Mercedes-Benz Museum. A 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet drives away – and its space is immediately taken by a 300 SL Roadster. Naturally many of the cars bear the Mercedes star, but by no means all of them. The mix is clearly popular with the public as well, as many a Museum visitor first takes a stroll around the private exhibits before entering the imposing building. For some groups of cyclists, Cars & Coffee is both an interim destination and a welcome break. 'That's a Pullman,' intones a local Swabian in his strong dialect, admiring the long, black 600 Pullman state limousine dating from 1965 which is parked diagonally opposite the Museum entrance.

A colourful collection of vehicles.

The oldest car is probably the Jaguar SS 100 parked a few spaces lower down. 'Built in the 1930s, right?' Wrong again. Gotthold Müller from Backnang is hardly able to conceal his glee. 'This is a replica, believe it or not,' he says. 'It was built in 1966 using Jaguar technology. I would have to sell my house to buy the original.'

Correct, this new edition was produced in the 1960s – which makes the cars classics in their own right. Cars & Coffee really is a colourful event. One which Uwe Müller, who has come in the SS 100 with his father today, has also graced a few times with his own red Maserati 3500 GT Coupé.

Particularly interesting to the young lady: flower decoration on a Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5.

The perfect Sunday morning.

'We really enjoy this event,' says Gotthold Müller. 'You come here with your car, enjoy the time here, talk to nice people – a very nice start to a Sunday, don't you think?' As one can hear from all the conversations, the informality and open-branded nature of the event is very well received. As one participant puts it, we all have the same hobby, just with different brands of vehicles. And since no prior registration is needed, you can come on the spur of the moment or only for a short while. The main thing is to have been there.

150 to 200 vehicles.

Cars & Coffee has been open-branded for around two years now. Before that the meeting was restricted to models bearing the Mercedes star. 'Since then, the Museum mound has become more and more busy every Sunday,' Marcel Hänsch reports. 'Nowadays we expect to get around 150 to 200 vehicles spread over the day, adding an additional, mobile museum to the big one. Most of them are there between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.' Many come from the surrounding region, including absolute rarities such as the sports car by the French brand Facel Vega, but others also come from further afield.

Rare example, on the far right: Facel Vega HK 500.

Rare example, on the far right: Facel Vega HK 500.

Ideal atmosphere for conversation: ALL TIME STARS summer lounge at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Lively conversation in an informal atmosphere.

Another ideal event feature is the summer lounge, which provides appropriate catering directly next to the vehicles. Both are extremely popular with the visitors: most of the comfortable lounge chairs are occupied by motoring fans holding lively conversations. The main topic is usually the cars they have brought to the event – but not always. Many have met here several times before, or have come in small groups with several cars.

Also welcome: motorcycles.

This is something that Erich Wagner from Weil der Stadt can confirm as he shows his motorcycle, a red BMW R 80 G/S produced in 1987, the model with the characteristic single rear swing-arm. 'I've owned it for almost 30 years, and it's in absolutely original condition,' he says. 'The odometer reads 90,000 kilometres – not really that much for its age.'

Today there are only two motorcycles amidst the cars, but the other one is likewise an enduro with cult status, a Yamaha XT 500. 'Come on, let's take a look around,' Wagner says to his partner Michaela Adams. And they both wander off to enjoy the happy Sunday atmosphere.