This weekend, Mercedes-Benz South West were thrilled to welcome 42 members of the Mercedes-Benz Owner’s Club and their impressive collection of classic Mercedes-Benz cars to our Exeter showroom.
Founded in 1952, the Mercedes-Benz Club was the first of its kind. Created to bring together like-minded Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts and share in events throughout the UK, the club now has over 11,000 members nationwide.
Gathering with us for their latest club meeting, guests could revel in their shared passion for automotive enjoyment. With a forecourt packed full of vehicles both old and new, we were all in a unique position to compare the Mercedes-Benz of the present day with those of the past.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL.
Arguably the favourite of the day was this stunning 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL. We managed to speak to Martin Coombs, the proud owner.
“The 300 SEL is my favourite classic car. I particularly like them even though they are not the most valuable or the fastest. They run in my family as my Uncle still has one. That’s what got me hooked and why it had to be this model.”
An import from New Zealand, this particular 300SEL is certainly well travelled. Martin was able to tell us more about its long history.
“It was bought in New Zealand by the Belgium embassy over there and they kept it for about 3 years from new. After this it went through the hands of a few more owners – one being Rod Coppins who was a household name in touring car racing. I purchased the car 3 years ago and imported it into the UK“
Martin has been a member of the Mercedes-Benz Owner’s Club for five years but has been a classic car member for over ten years. He attends car shows up and down the country, ensuring his vehicle of choice is driven to location rather than travelling on the back of a trailer.
“I go to car shows and the car always gets driven there. In the first few years I totalled 12,000 miles. At 47 years old, that is a lot of miles for an old car but I haven’t really had any problems with it besides the starter motor going. Up to this stage it’s been perfect.”
We asked him what a car needs to become a classic:
“I think a classic car is something a little bit unusual. It could be something that is particularly old or a bit newer. Either way, something that was common sight at the time but isn’t any longer.”
The Mercedes-Benz SL 320.
Tony Motture, Regional Officer of The Mercedes-Benz Owner’s Club’s West Country Region and owner of this impressionable Mercedes-Benz SL 320, was on hand to tell us more about the Club and what it means to be a member.
“The Club was the first Mercedes-Benz Club ever to exist. It is officially recognised by Mercedes-Benz as belonging to a group of clubs that they support. My wife and I manage the South West region which, based on our allocated postcodes, spans from the North of Bristol to Bude. However, members can attend any event from any region.”
Typically the couple arrange one event per month for their members. This could be dealership visit as in this case, a country drive or a car show. In the Winter, when the weather is less forgiving, a favourite is to meet for a local pub lunch.
Like many of the attendees joining us on the day, Tony has a large Mercedes-Benz collection to choose from. Alongside the SL 320, he also owns a 1989 W124 and a 2011 S500.
With such a host behind him, we were eager to ask what he considered to be his ultimate classic car:
“I would probably pick the 300 SEL that is outside. That is the era in which, to my mind, Mercedes was absolutely at its height. It’s a lovely car that was very modern for its day. Although it doesn’t have the braking systems or sat nav etc like the cars of today, it has a style and an elegance to it that is just lovely.”
Quite the collection.
Representing an extensive range of Mercedes-Benz classics, our forecourt was also the temporary home of a Mercedes-Benz 300SL, a W124 and W123, plus an iconic SLS Gullwing, amongst many more.
Thank you to all of the Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts who joined us on the day. To have such an impressive gathering of fellow Mercedes-Benz fanatics and, of course, a beautiful selection of cars was really special for all of us here at Mercedes-Benz South West.
The next Mercedes-Benz Owners Club meeting will take place on May 14th at Killerton House Classic Car Show. To find out how you can become a member visit their official website.