• Classic cars every Sunday in the summer at the museum.

France, Italy and America blended in one car.

“Here we can indulge our hobby, meet other classic car fans and exchange stories. Especially in the current climate, this event is really fun,” says Malte. He has come to Cars & Coffee at the Mercedes-Benz Museum with his father and a rare classic car: a Facel Vega HK 500 from 1960. “Only 490 of these were built between 1958 and 1961, and around 390 of them have survived,” says Stefan. The manufacturer of this Gran Turismo was French, the design heavily Italian-influenced and a lot of the technology inside is American.

One of 390 maintained cars: the Facel Vega HK 500 belonging to Malte and his father.

One of 390 maintained cars: the Facel Vega HK 500 belonging to Malte and his father.

Normally in our daily lives.

Stefan bought it in 2012, “very spontaneously”, as he says. His son confirms: “We were astonished one day at home when we got a call from him from England at lunchtime telling us that he had bought a car.” Because that was where this right-hand drive car had been up for auction. The interest shown by the other bidders was moderate, which meant the price was attractive. “I bought the car at the auction in exactly the state in which you see it here. It can stay in this condition and show off the signs of its age,” says Stefan. “The Facel Vega is, of course, not our only car. But we use it perfectly normally in our daily lives.” But they do not take any risks. This is an important addendum. The former first owner in England, a dentist, managed to bend the powerful coupé with the Chrysler V8 engine and 265 kW (360 PS) twice and had it rebuilt twice. “I suspect that was too expensive for him in the long run.”

Luxurious: this describes the interior of the French Gran Turismo with American technology.

Luxurious: this describes the interior of the French Gran Turismo with American technology.

US surprise and a roaring V8.

The vehicle next door also has a large American V8 engine. Martin has arrived in his black Ford Falcon. “Built in 1964. Rebuilt from 2016 until mid-2019.” He discovered the coupé in America via the Internet, its condition was described as good, so he bought it and had the classic car shipped to Germany. “When the car arrived, I was shocked – the state it was in had nothing to do with the description. It was in a totally dilapidated state and the car had to be completely rebuilt.” Which he then did himself.

The excellent supply of spare parts was a great help because, technically, the Falcon formed the basis for the coveted Ford Mustang.

Why did he choose that car? “I have always driven American cars,” says Martin. “The Falcon is a compact car and, as a result, I really enjoy it.” No doubt also because of its 235 kW (320 PS) engine, coupled with a vehicle weight of only 1,400 kilograms.

US surprise and a roaring V8.

The vehicle next door also has a large American V8 engine. Martin has arrived in his black Ford Falcon. “Built in 1964. Rebuilt from 2016 until mid-2019.” He discovered the coupé in America via the Internet, its condition was described as good, so he bought it and had the classic car shipped to Germany. “When the car arrived, I was shocked – the state it was in had nothing to do with the description. It was in a totally dilapidated state and the car had to be completely rebuilt.” Which he then did himself.

The excellent supply of spare parts was a great help because, technically, the Falcon formed the basis for the coveted Ford Mustang.

Why did he choose that car? “I have always driven American cars,” says Martin. “The Falcon is a compact car and, as a result, I really enjoy it.” No doubt also because of its 235 kW (320 PS) engine, coupled with a vehicle weight of only 1,400 kilograms.

Old Alfa and colourful BMW.

What really makes Cars & Coffee stand out is the broad mix of car brands. On this particular Sunday, numerous Alfa Romeo owners agreed to meet here and all came to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, and brought a large number of Giulias with them. And from a particular region of Germany that has a white-and-blue flag, situated between Italy and Baden-Württemberg (where Mercedes-Benz is based), several large coupés and compact sports cars have come over to Stuttgart – a friendly nod from BMW. The BMWs all get on very well with the many Mercedes-Benz cars that share the museum hill with them.

Cars & Coffee is a stimulating rendezvous of fascinating vehicles.

Cars & Coffee is a stimulating rendezvous of fascinating vehicles.

15,000 kilometres a year.

Directly opposite the entrance, Wolfgang has found a place for his Mercedes-Benz 170 Va. When this black saloon was built and registered in Germany in 1951, it was a special motorcar in a country that was in the throes of reconstruction. “In 2000, I did a complete restoration job right down to the last screw, and since then the car has been back on the road,” says the owner. The 170 Va looks almost as if it has just come off the assembly line. “I managed to find the original upholstery fabric for the seats at Mercedes-Benz Classic.”

We asked how long he had had the car. “Actually, I have always had it – but sometimes not,” comes the mischievous answer. It is not easy to say exactly, since for a while he shared the car with a friend.

He travels around 15,000 kilometres a year in his classic car. And then he mentions by the way that he does a load more kilometres in his 1949 Unimog. “That's my holiday vehicle. It knows every mountain pass from Vienna to Nice. I sleep on the platform under the tarp.”

Like father, like son.

The Mercedes-Benz 220 S Cabriolet belonging to Bernd, which is parked next to the 170 Va at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, does not do anything like as many kilometres every year. But it is not just a stationary exhibit, either: “It does about 5,000 kilometres every year.” He had been on the look-out for exactly this model for a long time, he says, pulls his mobile phone out of his pocket and shows us a black-and-white photo from 1958 with exactly this model of cabriolet, a little boy by the driver’s door and a man with a camera. “That’s my father. And I am the little boy,” Bernd explains, evidently very pleased.

Made in 1958 and still very elegant today: Mercedes-Benz 220 S Cabriolet.

Made in 1958 and still very elegant today: Mercedes-Benz 220 S Cabriolet.

Elegant two-tone paint scheme.

But Bernd was even more satisfied when, a few years ago, he found a 220 S Cabriolet, built in 1958 – in a pawn shop in Franconia, South Germany. “It had been there for two years and was now up for sale,” says Bernd. Did he give it a thorough inspection? He was not allowed to. The car with its elegant two-tone paint scheme in red and white was a pig in a poke. But when the car was allowed to leave storage, it was in a completely problem-free state. “Of course, the battery was flat. And I had the brakes replaced. But that was about it.” Even the “Becker Europa” radio worked.

Time travel: it was the father’s car (the man with the camera) that triggered the son’s desire to buy a Mercedes-Benz 220 S Cabriolet decades later.

Time travel: it was the father’s car (the man with the camera) that triggered the son’s desire to buy a Mercedes-Benz 220 S Cabriolet decades later.

Classy coachwork and everyday runabouts.

Cars & Coffee does not only offer high-class dream cars – carefully positioned among those cars are several mass-produced everyday people movers that attract just as much admiration from visitors. The reason is that these are often the cars they used to have themselves. Like an Opel Kadett, for example. A Trabant 601. Or a Volvo 760.

Contemporary witnesses of the period’s mobility from Rüsselsheim, Wolfsburg and Bremen: Opel Ascona, Volkswagen Beetle 1300 and Mercedes-Benz SL from model series R 129 (from right to left).

Contemporary witnesses of the period’s mobility from Rüsselsheim, Wolfsburg and Bremen: Opel Ascona, Volkswagen Beetle 1300 and Mercedes-Benz SL from model series R 129 (from right to left).

VW prototype vehicle with a luxurious trim level.

Or a Volkswagen Passat Variant, as provided by Hans and Maria. They bought this estate car 19 years ago when it was a six-year-old used car. For years, it accompanied the family on all their journeys – and gradually, as the years passed, slipped into its current role as a classic car. Admittedly, it is a rather special model: “It’s a VR6, that is, with a six-cylinder engine,” explains Hans. “It was originally a VW experimental car. It has all the fittings and trim they had on offer at the time.” Everything is original, except for the sports seats which he fitted. He found the smooth leather of the original seats so slippery that occupants slid around on them in the bends. “We like going to such meetings,” adds his wife, Maria. “Though this year many have been cancelled due to the coronavirus. This is the only one.”

Luxurious estate car: Maria and Hans’s VW Passat Variant.

Luxurious estate car: Maria and Hans's VW Passat Variant.

The relaxed atmosphere is part of the recipe for success.

There’s a constant coming and going outside the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Another feature of the Cars & Coffee meetings is that some visitors attend the meeting for the whole day, while others only stay for maybe an hour. There’s always something to see. There are no defined rules. And visitors are welcome even if they do not bring their own car. What counts is to bring along an appreciation of old cars and contribute to one or other friendly conversation.

Casual deckchair seating with a view of classic cars: what more could one wish for than Cars & Coffee for a perfect Sunday?

Casual deckchair seating with a view of classic cars: what more could one wish for than Cars & Coffee for a perfect Sunday?

Extraordinary diversity.

The extraordinary diversity of classics makes it difficult to choose one’s personal favourite. Perhaps the white Unimog 1300 back there? Or the luxurious BMW V8 Baroque Angel? The Beetle 1300, built in 1966, making it 54 years old, still with its original owner and with just 45,000 kilometres on the clock? This time the choice is a Mercedes-Benz 180 from 1955, a “Ponton” (self-supporting chassis-body structure) saloon. The way it stands now in front of the museum, it looks as if it has just been discovered after many years in someone’s barn. The paint is dull, there are visible rust spots, the chrome trim is fading. The vehicle bears the dignity of age – and a note with a simple message on it: “New MOT, no defects.”

“New MOT, no defects”: this note was attached to the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 180 – which had a few signs of age as well.

“New MOT, no defects”: this note was attached to the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 180 – which had a few signs of age as well.

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

Product may vary after press date on 11.08.2020.

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

6 Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.