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  • The 2018 season opens for the “Cars & Coffee” all-brand classic car rally.
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    Stars and summertime.

    The 2018 season opens for the “Cars & Coffee” all-brand classic car rally.

The way we were in 1968.

Forever young! In mid-June, some timeless reminders of 1960s automotive styling will be making their way onto the mound in front of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The launch of the 2018 season for the all-brand “Cars & Coffee” classic car rally will see the “Stroke Eight” model series W 115 and W 114 well represented: saloon and coupé models in a variety of colours, almost the full range of four- and six-cylinder engines, pre- and post-facelift versions.


The 2018 season opens for the “Cars & Coffee” all-brand classic car rally.
Happy Birthday: the “Stroke Eight” turns 50. Rolf Knappert, Chairman of the MB /8 Club Germany with his Mercedes-Benz 200.

Happy Birthday: the “Stroke Eight” turns 50. Rolf Knappert, Chairman of the MB /8 Club Germany with his Mercedes-Benz 200.


Rally rendezvous at the Museum.

Their presence there is opportune. After all, as Rolf Knappert, Chairman of the MB /8 Club in Germany, reminds us, this year marks the fiftieth birthday of the “Stroke Eight” models. This sunny Sunday morning sees him visiting the Museum in his mid-blue Mercedes-Benz 200. “Unadulterated original condition”, says Knappert of his 1970-built saloon, produced for the Swedish market with engine heating rod and other details that equipped it to cope with the harsh Scandinavian winter.

For the brand club, the season’s opening event of the classic car meet at the museum also marks a sort of sneak preview of this year’s “Star rally”. To mark the golden anniversary for these model series, this will be a two-day event leading to the birthplace of the “Stroke Eight”: on 27 July the club will meet up in Hall 36 of the Sindelfingen plant. On 28 July, guests are then invited to the Mercedes-Benz Museum. “We are expecting around 125 vehicles”, reveals the Chairman excitedly.


Summer fun.

A special feature of the season’s inaugural event is the chance to spread out your own picnic rug on the mound in front of the Museum: all the fun of summer against the impressive backdrop of the Museum building and so many classic cars. And what if you didn’t pack a picnic basket? There’s a tremendous selection of speciality coffees, refreshing drinks and much more right next door in the ALL TIME STARS summer lounge.

The lounge will be open throughout the summer. It has long been established as a popular rendezvous point for the “Cars & Coffee” classic car meet that takes place here every Sunday from 9 a.m. onwards, right through until September. The first “Cars & Coffee” of 2018 is expected to host more than 300 vehicles over the course of the day.


What people find so thrilling about “Cars & Coffee”? “The relaxed atmosphere and the variety of marques that you see here”, says Karl-Joachim Grün, a regular visitor to the classic car rally at the Museum. He’s here with his Porsche, a 911 T from 1971 with a Karmann body, but which has been fitted – by him – with the engine from a Carrera RS 2.7. “Lightweight construction, through and through”, says Grün of the vehicle, which sports Walter Röhrl’s autograph on the filler cap. He has a second classic car as well, a Mercedes-Benz 190 SL. To sum up the passion for classic cars in a nutshell? “Restoring a car body is an art as much as a skill.”


Power pack: a look into the engine compartment of a Porsche 911 T of 1971 featuring a 2.7-litre engine from the 1973 RS.

Power pack: a look into the engine compartment of a Porsche 911 T of 1971 featuring a 2.7-litre engine from the 1973 RS.


The culture of performance.

The variety on display here extends not only to the range of marques, but also to the range of engines: from a three-cylinder two-stroke unit in an Auto Union 1000 and a frugal van diesel through to the full panoply of passenger car petrol and diesel engines. Making their presence felt particularly, acoustically speaking: the mighty V8 units of the many US classics. Their sonorous rumble rings out again and again over the museum mound.

A passion for performance? Yes indeed, says Maren Hinderer. This young woman, who works in the engineering development department at Mercedes-AMG, has just driven a circuit of the car park in front of the museum in her sumptuous Lincoln Mark IV. She herself brought the 1974-built highway cruiser, which has a displacement of 7.5 litres, over to Germany, but only drives it in fine weather, she says.

Alongside it, gleaming in the sun, is the E 500 limited (W 124) of 1994 belonging to Thomas Hoffmann. Just 500 units of this version were built. Hoffman has been absolutely delighted with his high-performance V8 saloon right from the beginning: “When I bought it, it felt like a new vehicle that was just nicely run-in – although even back then it had already been running for more than ten years”, he says.


Greetings from Graz.

Outside the ALL TIME STARS summer lounge, a pair of fraternal twins eye each other up from their respective positions on the museum mound: down below is the white Mercedes-Benz 230 GE currently in the care of ALL TIME STARS, the retail arm of Mercedes-Benz Classic. Up at the top is Frank Hinness with his olive green Puch 230 GE. “The Puch was supplied to the Swiss army in 1992. They took really good care of it”, according to Hinness. The retrofitted Mercedes star on the radiator grille is his tongue-in-cheek comment on the two-brand strategy practised in those days with respect to sales of the G. Otherwise his vehicle retains its original Steyr-Daimler-Puch logos.


Swiss confederate: this Puch 230 GE originally saw service with the Swiss army.

Swiss confederate: this Puch 230 GE originally saw service with the Swiss army.


Team player: the Setra is now a mobile conference room.

Team player: the Setra is now a mobile conference room.


Cosy conferencing.

And now a library bus appears around the corner. In a demonstration of considerable skill, Thomas Mötz manoeuvres his cosily converted 14-tonne bus around the museum mound. The communications expert has converted the 1983-built vehicle into a mobile conference room: what was once a mobile library, benefiting from a high roof and lots of windows, has been comfortably appointed and fitted with all sorts of computers and communications equipment. As well as touchscreen and WiFi technology, he has somehow also managed to find the space to hang a surfboard from the ceiling.


Classic lines.

“It’s my first car”, says the young motor vehicle technician Ingo Schwartekopp of his sky blue Kadett B, “I just hung on to it.” The Opel, built in 1969, features a Coupé F body. The original substance of this classic model sporting the Opel lightning bolt symbol tells a fascinating story: at least half the vehicle still shows the original paintwork, and any restoration and repair work has always been done with care and consideration. Schwartekopp has therefore also undertaken very little modification of the vehicle. And where he has, the parts used, such as the steering wheel, have been taken from the car’s contemporary, the Rallye Kadett. “It had to be from a Kadett of some sort.”


The older the model, the greater the fascination? Not true at all. As proved by the many lively discussions at “Cars & Coffee” about exciting youngtimers and classics of the future. And even where there’s a clear and proven historical provenance, it’s not always a case of old technology, according to Frank Pfister. He’s at the get-together with his authentic Morgan Roadster, which is not even 15 years old yet: design and basic structure date from the 1930s, but they go hand in hand here with a state-of-the-art V6 engine and a green environmental sticker.


Football festival: almost all World Cup games are being shown on the big screen at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Football festival: almost all World Cup games are being shown on the big screen at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Summer fun.

Even before the kick-off of the first World Cup football game of the day, one thing was clear this Sunday: it’s once again going to be a great summer for automobile enthusiasts at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. That is if the wonderful atmosphere, the wide range of vehicles and the delighted faces of visitors to the museum as they stroll through the assembled line-up of vehicles on their way to the entrance are anything to go by. It’s a feeling reinforced by the many promises to meet up again from the participants of “Cars & Coffee”: “See you next Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Museum!”

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