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Spectacular vehicles and auctions, the first presentation of a breath-taking study, rare models: The Monterey Car Week is the most exclusive classic car fair in the world.

The most exclusive classic car meeting in the world: Monterey Car Week 2016.

The most exclusive classic car fair in the world, the Monterey Car Week in Pebble Beach, offers spectacular vehicles and rare models.

Text: Helge Bendl
Photos: Royce Rumsey

AMG S 63 Cabriolet:

Fuel consumption combined: 10.4 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 244 g/km.*

The most exclusive classic car event in the world.

Early in the morning, the mood is already magical. When the curtain of night lifts off the landscape, you can see the shining paint of fine classic cars in the wan light of dawn. Engines chug, growl and howl until every vehicle is placed in the correct position. The excitement is palpable: Soon the experts will appear to judge the vehicles. The technical specialists with their panama hats are friendly, but unrelenting. They inspect the vehicles fastidiously. Only those that are absolutely perfect in every way have a chance of receiving an award.

Being able to exhibit their treasures here is the ultimate accolade for collectors: The Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach is considered to be the most exclusive classic car event in the world.

For many months, sometimes years, the owners of these valuable cars have been working towards this very day. They have invested much time and money in their rolling treasures.

Aaron and Valerie Weiss have their 290 Cabriolet A from 1936 on show, which, after extensive restoration, looks as if it left the factory just yesterday.
From the Evergreen Historic Automobiles collection based in Montana, the 540 K Cabriolet built in 1937 is also a statement on wheels.

Noble cars with a star.

Many vehicles featuring the Mercedes star attract enthusiasts. Aaron and Valerie Weiss have their 290 Cabriolet A from 1936 on show, which, after extensive restoration, looks as if it left the factory just yesterday. The conspicuous, bi-colour paintwork and the polished chrome emphasise the elegant lines of the body.

The 540 K Cabriolet A built in 1937 is also a statement on wheels. The eight-cylinder model, once praised as the “car for the connoisseur”, was the benchmark for performance and comfort in the 1930s.

Rarity: 300 SL aluminium Gullwing.

A 300 SL from 1956 stands out amongst the classic sports cars on the green of the golf course. The Gullwing Coupé sports the same ivory paintwork and red gabardine upholstery as well as the 6-cylinder inline engine with a ratio optimised for racing it had when it rolled out of the factory. It was a wreck when found years ago. Restored to its former glory, it is one of the few light alloy Gullwings of which only 29 were built.

A 300 SL Gullwing from 1956 stands out amongst the classic sports cars on the green of the golf course.
The Mercedes 38/70 PS with a body fitted for seven passengers ordered by the entrepreneur Samuel P. Colt in 1911 comes from an exquisite collection.

Veterans on the field.

The veterans on the field are perhaps not as fast as an SL, but they often have a more eventful history. The Mercedes 38/70 PS with a body fitted for seven passengers ordered by the entrepreneur Samuel P. Colt in 1911 comes from an exquisite collection. Colt wanted to use the car for a grand tour across Europe. After the trip, the car was confiscated by the French army during the First World War and only found its way back to Colt’s family home on Rhode Island in the 1920s. After catching fire, it took 12,000 hours of labour to return the car to its original state.

Veterans on the field.

The veterans on the field are perhaps not as fast as an SL, but they often have a more eventful history. The Mercedes 38/70 PS with a body fitted for seven passengers ordered by the entrepreneur Samuel P. Colt in 1911 comes from an exquisite collection. Colt wanted to use the car for a grand tour across Europe. After the trip, the car was confiscated by the French army during the First World War and only found its way back to Colt’s family home on Rhode Island in the 1920s. After catching fire, it took 12,000 hours of labour to return the car to its original state.

The Mercedes 38/70 PS with a body fitted for seven passengers ordered by the entrepreneur Samuel P. Colt in 1911 comes from an exquisite collection.

Ten times more expensive than a Ford Model T.

Gerhard Schnuerer also walked through fire. The judges of the Concours ask him to switch on the engine of his Benz 28/50 PS. It runs as smoothly as it did in its heyday. And that is certainly not a given: A while ago, the four-cylinder engine of this veteran also overheated whilst on the road and flames licked out of the bonnet. After two years of restoration, the car is again in running order. Originally, the rolling chassis was ordered by the rail tycoon, Charles M. Hayes. “The chassis was shipped to the USA in 1911. In New York, a touring car body was made”, says Gerhard Schnuerer. He has also compared the prices of the time: “The vehicle was ten times more expensive than a Ford Model T.”

The rolling chassis of this Benz 28/50 PS was ordered by the rail tycoon, Charles M. Hayes.

However, Hayes was not able to enjoy the maiden voyage with his prestigious automobile: “He was on board the Titanic and did not survive its collision with the iceberg.”

A Maybach DS 8 Zeppelin Cabriolet F, built in 1934, looks as if it could clear any obstacle from its path.
Der Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 verspricht ultimativen Luxus für die nächste Epoche der Mobilität.

Maybach: The future meets the past.

A Maybach DS 8 Zeppelin Cabriolet F, built in 1934, looks as if it could clear any obstacle from its path. The impressive 12-cylinder engine with 8-litre displacement and a body made by Spohn belongs to the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection in Stuttgart. A show car is presented alongside it; the ultimate luxury for the next age of mobility. The vision of a Mercedes-Maybach 6 first attracts the attention of those in the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge and after that everyone on the putting green.

The Monterey Car Week on the Californian peninsula is a must for enthusiasts from America. And not just them: Guests from all over the world come to see the events on the Pacific coast, two hours south of San Francisco.

The Pagoda, the Mercedes-Benz 280 SL W 113, is greatly admired.

Dozens of classic cars: Tour d’Elegance.

During the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, dozens of classic cars roll through the small town of Carmel led by racing legend Sir Stirling Moss in a 300 SL Gullwing.

The Mercedes-Benz Club of America also comes to the Car Week in California. “This year our members are exhibiting 90 vehicles”, Allen Stephens, Chairman of “Legends of the Motorway” tells us. Visitors gather around the open cars, especially the Pagodas belonging to Amy McKenna from Pennsylvania and Chuck Stanford from Arizona are greatly admired.

… And sold!

It doesn’t matter whether you are bidding or just watching: The atmosphere during the auctions at the Monterey Car Week is unique. Nowhere else in the world do so many high-class vehicles come to auction in only a few days – this year cars worth a total of nearly 345 million dollars were sold.

The legendary classic cars from Germany achieve high prices. At the Bonham auction, a 1904 Mercedes-Simplex 28/32 PS, which was often seen at the legendary London-Brighton race, changed hands for 2.8 million dollars.

It doesn’t matter whether you are bidding or just watching: The atmosphere during the auctions at the Monterey Car Week is unique.

However, some bargains can be had: A 560 SL built in 1989 was auctioned off for just under 15,000 dollars. Experiencing just how much fun it is to travel in a vintage or modern Mercedes classic car isn’t just for millionaires.

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