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  • Star Race Laureus Awards 2018.
    1

    Monaco or BUST.

    Four gearheads from the Mercedes-Benz Museum on the way to Monaco.

The video about the road trip.

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Journey of stars to the Côte d’Azur.

The idea is fantastic: a “stardrive” to Monaco. The glamorous destination there is the Laureus World Sports Awards 2018 that honour the world’s best athletes. On board are bloggers, influencers, and photographers from many European countries, who will capture their travel experiences in photos. As always, the four petrol heads from the Mercedes-Benz Museum travel in slightly different style than anyone else and – due to their job – do not hit the road in new cars. We load an unrestored, manually shifted 280 S (W 108) from 1969 with a roof rack complete with surfboard and skateboard (both are musts on the Mediterranean) and put a bobble-head dachshund on the parcel shelf. Photographer, cameraman and equipment all travel in a 230 GE Automatic (W 460) from 1985. Through France on the old N7, because anyone can do the motorway. We have three days. What’s the worst that can happen?


Star Race Laureus Awards 2018.
Star Race Laureus Awards 2018.

The journey is the destination.

The somewhat worn journey-destination statement becomes truer than ever in two vintage cars. You travel differently. More slowly, attentively. Not just because the G-Class can’t “do” more than 120 km/h, but because the secondary roads exude so much charm that every third corner begs you to linger. We don’t want to mention the snow at all, but luckily it diminishes past the French border. These cars were built to be driven. We can tell that after years of being in a Snow White slumber, they are taking a deep breath and are positively sucking up the asphalt pavement. Good music on the radio, the full sound of the engines – it’s good to travel like this. The destination of the first leg is a cosy hotel in the old part of Besançon, a glass of red wine and a warm bed after a long day.


Destination makeshift hose.

The rugged beauty of the French interior far off the autoroutes is fascinating. The old cars seamlessly fit into the scenery of coarsely plastered walls, gas lamps giving off a yellow shine, and sycamore trees. It smells of good food and wood fire. Less fascinating are the white clouds that billow from under the S-Class come evening. The hose to the heat exchanger is torn off at the clamp! Standstill. Shortening works, but now it is … too short! Saturday evening, 5:30 pm, in the middle of France. We take off in the G-Class and find a workshop for quads, where a friendly mechanic cuts up an old chopper handle bar for us and inserts it into the severed hose with industrial-strength clamps. That does the job. Sometimes it is good to speak a little French. And the makeshift solution holds, all the way to Monaco! Highly satisfied and a little bit proud, we reach the port city Marseilles after dark. Hello Mediterranean!


Star Race Laureus Awards 2018.
Star Race Laureus Awards 2018.

Monte Carlo is the destination.

Come morning, we change the fuel filter on the W 108 as a precaution. On the last leg along the coast, we pass the incredible Cap Canaille near Cassis and take pictures of the lighthouse in unnaturally rainy Saint Tropez. The city names on the signs exude that southern French charm! Toulon. Fréjus. Cannes. Nice. The two vintage cars made it here, which nobody had doubted. The team from the museum reaches Monaco during the night. At a lofty spot above Monte Carlo, we look down on the shimmering sea of lights, the harbour and the cruise ships. Gorgeous.


High fives, hugs and a touch of pride.

High fives, hugs and a touch of pride accompany the cigarillo at the town sign. Later there will be a tasty meal with the organisers and the other participants of the journey of stars. Let’s see whether we’ll be able to get the oil and dirt off our hands by then. Up here, where a light breeze blows and the cars sit idling quietly, we all agree that this road trip was unlike anything else. Only vintage cars provide such an authentic travel experience.

Star Race Laureus Awards 2018.

Image gallery.