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    ALL TIME STARS Japan.

New ways.

The Japanese love traditions, rituals and customs. Yet when it comes to cars, the situation has so far been very different, because Asians are irresistibly drawn to all things new. But, slowly, the Japanese are developing a taste for classic cars. Little wonder that ALL TIME STARS is now also available in Tokyo.

The new workshop in Shinagawa with its own ALL TIME STARS area.

Toshido Suda is President of the Mercedes-Benz branch in Tokyo.

Toshido Suda is President of the Mercedes-Benz branch in Tokyo.

Hands full.

In the final days before the opening of the classic-car area in Shinagawa with adjoining workshop and service centre, Toshido Suda, President of the largest Mercedes-Benz branch in Japan, has his hands full. In addition to looking after the normal business, he pays regular visits to the new outpost. The still young branch with its lounge and restaurant area in a trendy new district of the city is unrivalled in the whole of Japan. Not as big, nor as opulent as Suda's dealership in the heart of Tokyo, the new branch, just a few kilometres from Disneyland Tokyo, is quite different. Here, the atmosphere is cosy, people meet, read and simply relax in front of the open fireplace.

Dealership in the style of a lounge.

In early November, the new workshop with adjoining ALL TIME STARS area opened for business, just a few hundred metres away from the outpost in Shinagawa. The new building is much more than just a state-of-the-art workshop with seven lifting platforms and its own car wash on the first floor. On entering the building, one is struck by photos of classic Mercedes-Benz racing cars and the legendary Mercedes Simplex on the walls. In the showroom, visitors are greeted by a Mercedes-Benz 300 SE of the 126 model series in elegant dark blue with colour code 904. Immediately next to it is an example of the 140 model series not often seen in Europe. In the early 1990s, the Mercedes-Benz 600 SEL AMG was the worldwide benchmark – there was nothing sportier or more luxurious.

The Mercedes-Benz 600 SEL AMG is not an everyday sighting. Despite almost 300,000 km on the clock, it is in impressive shape.

Classic cars, such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE of the 126 model series or the E 320 Estate of the 124 model series, are growing ever more popular in Japan.

Classic cars, such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE of the 126 model series or the E 320 Estate of the 124 model series, are growing ever more popular in Japan.

Classic car in as-new condition.

With 294,000 kilometres behind it, the black Mercedes-Benz S-Class looks as if it has just rolled off the production line. 'In Japan, we're seeing a growing demand for high-quality classic cars. Japanese customers are very discerning and want vehicles that are in pristine condition,' explains Patrik Gottwick, responsible for ALL TIME STARS at Mercedes-Benz Classic. 'That fits excellently with our philosophy and ambition with ALL TIME STARS.' Two veritable gems – the perfect choice for the inauguration of ALL TIME STARS Japan. And there's more. Standing in front of the entrance is a stylish grey W 124 in tip-top condition. And resplendent behind the mighty glass front, set against the ALL TIME STARS scenic wall, is a facelifted Mercedes-Benz E 320 Estate in silver metallic with grey leather seats.

ALL TIME STARS.

In Germany, it was almost three years ago that the Mercedes-Benz Museum began offering sought-after classic cars ex factory under the ALL TIME STARS label. The ALL TIME STARS range includes Mercedes-Benz vehicles aged between 35 and 65. In the search for models in suitably tip-top condition, classic-car expert Patrik Gottwick regularly comes across vehicles from Japan.


'The Mercedes-Benz brand is highly valued in Japan,' says Gottwick. 'This is also reflected in the market for classic cars, both young and old. For this reason, Japan is highly attractive for us.'

Some classic cars are offered for sale directly to the ALL TIME STARS team at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart by their owners or collectors. The experts from ALL TIME STARS have contacts around the world and know whenever a vehicle in a particular condition or with a special history is about to come onto the market. 'We then travel there and first inspect all the numbers on the vehicle as well as the paintwork, joins and parts. Everything is noted down in a report,' explains Patrik Gottwick. 'We then decide whether or not to buy the vehicle. If we buy, the car is subjected to an extensive inspection in the workshop covering a total of 160 items.' The demand for classic cars of today and tomorrow is constantly growing and is now also extending to Japan.

All in white: this Mercedes-Benz SL of the R 129 model series is in prime condition.

All in white: this Mercedes-Benz SL of the R 129 model series is in prime condition.

All in white.

The showroom in Shinagawa is home to, among others, a gleaming white SL Roadster of the R 129 model series, which is in prime condition. Held discreetly behind it in a rack is the matching hardtop. Next to the golden Mercedes lettering on the black wall is a resplendent poster showing the double victory of the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows with Caracciola and von Brauchitsch at the 1937 German Grand Prix. Standing directly adjacent to it in the showroom window is a silver W 111 Coupé, which attracts all the attention of the visitors, while further automotive gems are parked tightly side-by-side on the second floor. Even on the roof, there is a black Mercedes-Benz 600 SEL of the 140 model series, which are set off perfectly against the Tokyo skyline.

Value proposition.

Patrik Gottwick: 'Japan is home to a wide range of classic cars, both young and old, which explains why many classic cars are exported from that country. However, even there, not every car lives up to the promise of its gleaming paintwork. The value proposition from ALL TIME STARS is therefore highly attractive both for the Japanese customer and for the potential export customer.'

Click here to visit ALL TIME STARS