Peter Spitzer

2016 was a busy year for Advanced Driving School events.  With 5 events at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport), one trip to Watkins Glen in the Finger Lake NY region and one to Calabogie (near Ottawa) there were some great driving opportunities.  In addition for anybody that has grown through the school to S-level can apply to attend the annual Racing school.  Section Sports Director Peter Spitzer attended all the events and here is his report.

ADS-2016-0401After a few years of enjoying the continuous learning experience of the ADS at Mosport I was signed off into the S Level in 2015.  With this in hand I applied to attended the Racing school and was accepted.  Going through the levels raised my skills and awareness alike; a benefit I feel every day while driving in my day to day routines.  We only see a few members
coming out to the events.  We did get a good set of pictures with Ray learning how to get more out of his über-cool E63 Estate.

CLK55 AMG  Season start was also the beginning and end of my new-to-me previously enjoyed addition to my garage. I found the 2001 CLK55 AMG in California and with only 62K Miles it seemed like the2001 AMG Piston perfect car for these events.  This excitement was short-lived as on the first day out the engine lights announced the painful beginning of an engine self destruction and a 5 month ongoing process to get it back in shape. A crushed piston was the result most likely caused by detonation which then scratched the cylinder wall beyond possible repair.  A replacement engine was installed but tuning to prevent a similar incidence took most of the summer to complete.

After the Saturday session closes out the group goes for a “track walk” to learn from the days experience and see the track and surface close up.  Well, while it is call “track walk” it is really a cruise from one corner to the next to get a close look.  Derek Hanson the chief instructor provides a fantastic insight on the track, how to use it and how it applies to driving skills.

Driving upstate NYIn June MBCA and Lotus organized a combined performance driving school day on the Watkin Glen International Raceway.  This was the first season after all new track surface was applied and provided amazing grip.  Gilbert led the trip down through upstate New York and added a beautiful drive down to the event.

Advanced Driving School is an amazing opportunity to improve driving skills, learn and enjoy your car and all that on a controlled track.

See you out there at the next event and in 2017!


The 2015 Stars of the Autobahn was held at Chudleigh’s Farm in Milton and this special event had the largest recent participation of 36 cars and 63 MBCA members and families that reflected the community and family theme.  Highlighting a stunning mix of classic and performance Mercedes ranging from Pagoda’s to AMG powerhouses.

Co-sponsored by Chudleigh’s whose trademark amazing apple blossom desserts are available across North America in stores and in premier restaurants, our event had an optimal location.  Playground for families to enjoy, reserved parking for the fabulous cars, and lunch including special desserts for all.  In addition numerous photographers were onsite to stage and capture pictures of the event.

The SOTA – Stars of the Autobahn features trophies by popular vote in 6 categories plus a Directors choice and a sponsor’s choice.

Chudleigh’s Choice award which was selected by Luke Chudleigh an aspiring Formula One driver and his father Scott went to Norbert Egli’s magnificent 1970 250C coupe which he has owned since new and had his first attendance to the launch of the Toronto Section 24 years ago. Luke Chudleigh has been documenting his adventurers in Europe in the feature film “Braking Point” (password: screening) in achieving his dream of being a Formula 1 driver.

New members Allan and Darlene Leader joined us for the first time and the honor to select the Directors Choice award which went to Harald von Langsdorff for his 1969 300SEL 6.3 sedan.

The event but also attracted the attention of one of Canada’s national newspapers the National Post.  John Geist’s 1966 230SL will be getting some special attention from the National Post in upcoming automotive editions for his restoration in memory of Mike Stanek of Euromotion Garage who passed away recently. It was his last restoration before his passing and he will be missed by many members.

After a lunch of corn on the cob, a selection of BBQ and the feature deserts of Chudleigh’s apple blossoms and key lime pie, members selected the People’s Choice Awards winners for the following categories. The temperature was pushing 30 Celsius so large quantities of lemonade and other drinks were consumed.


Pre 1975 Sedan First Place Paul Rosen 1970 250
Second Place Harald von Langsdorff 1969 300SEL 6.3
Post 1975 Sedan First Place Peter & Jessica Spitzer and Joyce & Nathan Hughes 2010 E63 AMG
Second Place Tim Fung 2010 C63 AMG
Pre 1975 Coupe First Place Doug Dees 1969 280SE Coupe
Second Place D Jovo 1971 250 Coupe
Post 1975 Coupe First Place Richard Calingasan CLS 550
Second Place Daniel Iampietro CL 550
Pre 1975 Cabriolet First place Marcus and Diana van Bers 1966 230SL
Second Place John Geist 1966 230SL
Post 1975 Cabriolet First place Richard and Mariela Kunst SL63 AMG
Second Place Tony Brenders  SLK55 AMG










Special thanks to the staff at Chudleigh’s for the great food and service,  to all the members and friends helping for their hard work in organizing and supporting this event as the biggest ever.

Check out the great pictures on our Gallery.

Stars of the Autobahn has been rolled into our Family Outing at Chudleigh’s August 16, 2015. The event will be at Chudleigh’s Apple Farm just off highway 25 north of Milton.  For more event details please go to the Event Section.

There will be trophies in 6 categories including Sedans, Coupes and Cabriolets split in Pre and Post 1975 groups. There will also be a “Director’s cut” and “Chudleigh’s Choice”

When arriving please register and get a Car ID (one per car) plus a voting card (one per person).  Please follow this mapChudleighs Location map once you get there.

Any help is always welcome; as you know this is a club event and all effort is on volunteer basis.

We have a photographer onsite for professional quality and post processed pictures of your car (and you if you like).  Since this is staged we will try to park so we can move cars to the staging.  Also means please be available when we get to your car.  Or let us know if you have no interest in this.

Finally in case anybody missed Luke Chudleigh’s TV airing of “Braking Point” we have special access to the Vimeo link and see it online.  PCs and tablets as well as most smart TVs / TV Boxes support this.  Here is the link and the password is “screening”.

Please remember that we have a special for our membership drive.  If you have a friend that has a MB and would be interested in joining please bring them, give them one of our promotional flyer or just send them straight to this Promo Registration Page.

If you have not registered yet, please see the events link.

We will see each other at the Event.


The Toronto section held its 4th annual Tech Session put on Mercedes-Benz Canada on April 18th at their Toronto training facility near Pearson airport.  46 participants attended this event hosted by Arden Nerling, Events Manager of Mercedes-Benz Canada. The presentation of the new technology in the AMG SL, S Class coupe and C 63 was done by Derrick Tan, Sales Trainer at the Training Academy with the assistance of Rob Takacs, Corporate Sponsorships & Event Marketing Project Leader of Mercedes-Benz Canada. These new cars are packed with the new superior technology at a similar price to the same model 15 years ago, clearly demonstrating the added value of the new technology.S65 Engine description

The apple and blue berry strudel as well as the pretzels were delivered in a red AMG GT by Arden, who admitted he was tempted to race an upstart Mustang who challenged him on the way to pick up our morning treats but better judgment prevailed and he ignored the challenge, knowing that if he was caught racing, he would miss his own presentation.AMG GTS

Some new members were present as well as many familiar faces that have enjoyed the previous events. Harald von Langsdorff, recently coming back from his Stuttgart adventure and Baden-Classics car rally presented the upcoming year events. This meeting provided the new members not only to ask questions about the latest technology such as the aluminum frame on the AMG GT but also to ask existing members about their recent classic car purchases and share information.

The warm spring sunshine kept some of the members outside during the break to look at the latest acquisitions of their fellow members and to share stories.

The draws for a 1:16 scale AMG GT and a Mercedes Formula 1 wall clock between presentations resulted in smiling faces and those that didn’t win a grand prize received a complimentary Mercedes-Benz ballpoint pen.

Many thanks to Arden and Mercedes-Benz Canada for their hospitality in hosting this event.



DSC06902The Toronto Section met on February 19th for a private viewing of the new models arriving for 2016. Arden Nerling of Mercedes-Benz Canada was our host for the evening and shared with us information on the organization and new layout of the displays for this year’s show which included specialty designed extruded lighted aluminum bars that formed the backdrop of the Mercedes-Benz display.

Arden also explained how this new display custom built for Toronto was assembled and disassembled for use next year. There will also be a virtual video tour for those that missed the Toronto show on the Mercedes-Benz Canada website. The cars were arranged by colour with the AMG cars in white and the E class cars in blue

On display was the new four wheel drive Sprinter class that was built in Germany. Mercedes-Benz Canada works with customizers to outfit these vehicles from rolling workshops to motor homes.

The new S class coupe was also on display that featured a beautiful exterior that highlighted the new design features of the S Class models. As thes cars are unique and very desirable, the resulting waiting list is long

There was as well as a display of the AMG vehicles which are very 20150219_182804popular including the new AMG GT S coupe in a bright red for a new price of $149,900. Features include AMG performance seats in Nappa leather,Blind Spot Assist, LED High performance headlamps and Burmeister surround sound.

For those that enjoy off roading in luxury, a bright green AMG G Wagen was on display for those that wanted to have something different on the truck.

The highlight of our tour was the 2015 GLE a four door that looks like a coupe.  I happen to see this car in a body “in white’ at the Vance Alabama plant last fall. Also on display was the new Mercedes Maybach based on the S class platform with a price tag of $213,000. This version is 20cm longer than the S 600 with Magic Sky Control technology and Magic Body Control.

The accessories booth had items at a 20% discount from the normal retail prices which members took advantage. The ECO bikes, Smart cars and accessories with various available configurations were also on display.

The tour ended with a private visit to the Mercedes-Benz lounge where you had to show your Mercedes-Benz key fob to gain entrance and all Toronto members received a fir tree seedling ready for planting to commemorate the Smart Four Two electric cars that were on display. The new version of the Smart car has not arrived yet but those that wish to further protect the environment especially city dwellers are looking forward to seeing and driving the new car.

The show will move on to Quebec City, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver but they will use a different display layout. Certainly the Mercedes-Benz display was the most impressive in the show and readily visible as you entered the south hall

We look forward to the Tech session on April 18th at the Mercedes-Benz training center at the airport to learn more about the new models and technical features.

Doug Dees

Note: As the cyber attack on our website interfered with the last edition of our Starlite this was listed under “Upcoming”.

Just when you wondered where the beautiful cars hide in the winter, you can find some of them, at least 400 of them snuggled together in 88,000 sq feet of an underground secured storage complex.

Toronto Section member,  Gary Shapiro, entrepreneur extraordinaire and President of Auto Vault Canada found the perfect solution to the age old question of where to hide you beautiful Mercedes-Benz from your wife or where can I go on a Saturday, meet fellow enthusiasts and look at wonderful cars while it snows outside.Gary Shapiro at the side of his 280SL

The facility in the northern part of Toronto is open by appointment and to the car owners only. Our Toronto members had an exclusive invitation to attend in particular to see Gary’s new acquisition a 1971 Pagoda. This discreet facility in its 11th year of operation is full secured with video and 24 hour physical security service, probably the most comprehensive in North America.

Although many fine cars are stored here from Rolls Royce to Maserati, the highlight for us is the vast array of Mercedes-Benz cars including the show piece, Gary’s 1971 280SL which is surrounded by a teller’s rope.

This beauty is an American version that was purchased in the US and sent to the Dominican Republic where Performance Vintage Classicos spent 18 months completely restoring the car with some very special Shapiro effects. This firm specializes in Pagodas and 190Sls and all parts come from the Classic Centre in California. They are currently working on a black Pagoda with a sunroof. Given the lower cost of labour in the Dominican Republic, this restoration is more feasible.

The body colour is a standard metallic silver but the interior is a special red with matching soft top, tool kit and shoes for Gary.280 SL - matching kit

Now, one could say that judging points are lost due to the non period original modifications and colour which include the goose neck mirrors, rear power aerial and earlier wipers, but Paul Bracq probably would give the car a nod as he was the designer anyway of these earlier features.

In production currently is matching luggage from a specialist in the Catskills in Upper New York.

The Toronto Section members who own Pagodas were impressed with the quality of workmanship on all aspects of the work and it does set a benchmark for quality that equals other restorers and it should be noted that the company was reluctant to change the original specs of the car but the customer is always right.

Gary is also available to assist in the purchasing and restoration of any Pagoda, 190SL or 3.5 cabriolet

Mercedes-Benz Representative Mohommad Zuie Sales Expert for AMG at  the new 130,000 sqft dealership of M-B Canada at Yonge and Steeles was on hand as well to meet the 32 Toronto members and talk about how we can work together to enhance the brand awareness.

Gary is offering a discount to the Toronto Section members as well as making a contribution to a charity on behalf of the members.

Coffee, donuts, croissants and danishes contributed by the Toronto Section were devoured as the members viewed the many other makes in the facility and we look forward to sunny days and dry roads and to tempt Gary to bring his Pagoda to our Stars of the Autobahn and Cobble Beach.

It was our last Advanced Driving School of this year.  The weekend starting with rain and while clearing up it was a pretty chilly weekend. With wet conditions the event started with cautious driving and and there is lots of learning when it is slippery out. It did dry out but never turned into nice weather till Sunday afternoon.  But fall weather aside it turned into a great experience of class room, practice and track sessions.  As usual the Trillium is organized and stays on schedule – rain or shine.  We would like to thank them for a fantastic year of working together and providing an opportunity of such a great set of events.

To all interested for next year; email me so we can gauge participation and interest level.  This type of event surely is a fantastic gift for any car enthusiast or just to yourself 🙂

Toronto Section Meets at Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance

The  September 13,14th  Concours  at Cobble Beach Golf Club which is located just outside of Owen Sound Ontario on the shores of Lake Huron is their second annual event. Inspired by Pebble Beach, although at a northern location, this classic event has many similarities to Amelia Island and Pebble Beach in terms of location on the water, beautiful scenery and of course fine exotic cars.
This year over 125 cars in 22 classes were on display from the first known Canadian Seth Taylor steam car of 1867 to a beautiful 1928 Isotta  Fraschini  8A SS with ostrich skin upholstery owned by Peter Boyle of Oil City Pennsylvania  which graced the main entrance to the show. Packard, Mercedes -Benz and Rolls Royce were also on display, all of which had to be invited to show their workmanship.  A British built Daimler with a Knight sleeve valve engine completed the early brass entries.


A 1936 Delahaye Type 135 Teardrop coupe swept the top two awards People’s Choice and Best of Show. The 1930s was well represented with a 1930 black and red Auburn boat tail speedster and the 1960s with many Corvettes and muscle cars.

Margaret Dunning  of Plymouth Michigan who is 104 years young brought her 1930 Packard 740 Roadster again this year for display and was made an honourary judge for this year’s  Concours. She presented the Margaret Dunning  Spirit of Driving award although  she stopped servicing her car herself only 10 years ago.

This was her second appearance at Cobble Beach and was at Amelia Island earlier this year meeting and met with MBCA members.

Judges from 15 states and 5 provinces attended in their blue blazers and beige trousers to judge the various makes. Of particular interest were the minicars such as a tandem seat Messerschmidt and a Vespa car as well French and English three wheelers such as Raleigh.

Cars came from as far away as Denver Colorado, Florida and Italy and many museums such as Hershey and the Canadian Automotive Museum loaned cars for the display. A 1939 Mclauglin Buick limousine that was used by the Royal tour by King George VI was also on display.

SL 300 RoadsterToronto members met on the previous evening at Blue Mountain Resort for dinner and drinks in the village. The following morning we met up with other members for breakfast and had a scenic drive to Cobble Beach.

Although the weather did not co-operate on Saturday September 13th, the Sunday was better although the wind was brisk along the lake. The 190SL group was there with 7 show cars including some MBCA members. Next year the Toronto Section plans to have an official delegation there with reserved Mercedes-Benz parking and display at the entrance so we can recruit more members. The Cobble Beach Concours is particularly interested in prewar Mercedes-Benz, so keep your eyes open.190 SL

For those MBCA members in the northern US and in eastern Canada, this is an ideal opportunity to see Pebble Beach, Concours of America or Amelia Island cars in a unique setting. Next year the cars will not be the same as they can only return in four years similar to the Pebble Beach rules.

See you on the Beach

The MBCA Toronto Section joined the BMW Trillium Chapter for the sold out 3rd  2014 Advanced Driving School at Mosport. The weekend starting with rain and clearing up to mild sunny days were the perfect conditions we were gifted for this hands on driver event.  With wet conditions the event started with cautious driving and learning alternate lines. As it cleared up it turned into a fantastic weekend of class room, practice and track sessions.  Since it was a sold out event the track sessions were fairly busy providing good experience for “situational awareness” and passing etiquette yet plenty of space to experience the car’s performance.

Not just another day at school.

In June, I participated in the AMG Mastering Performance driving school.

This particular event was organized by Mercedes Benz Durham. Designed for the novice and enthusiast alike, it is a full day program that is conducted on purpose-built race tracks throughout the country. In our case the the famous Mosport Grand Prix race track known as the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

The objective of this program is to teach advanced driving techniques and apply them in a race track environment. This is not a “racing” program; rather, it is a high performance driving program. Our objective was to learn advanced techniques and how critical elements such as vision, weight transfer and the use of vehicle control systems ultimately affect traction and vehicle behavior.


  • Cornering
  • Trail Braking and Vehicle Balance
  • Performance Vision
  • Orientation Lapping – Learning race track line
  • Coached group lapping with instructor feedback

Bentley Hammer, President of Mercedes-Benz Durham was present to welcome the dozen or so participants. MBCA members will be familiar with Mercedes Durham as a regular sponsor at our MBCA Section events.

After a brief introduction and wishing us good luck, Bentley gave the reign over to Danny Kok, Chief Instructor of the AMG Driving Academy. Danny, a very experience instructor and race car driver, immediately became focused and task oriented. He again stressed that the event is not a “racing” day per se, but to teach participants advanced driving skills in a closed and controlled environment. If these skills will then enable you to drive faster around the track – even better.

Our detailed itinerary was as follows.

8:30 – 9:00: Catered breakfast and registration
9:00 – 9:45: Classroom session
9:50 – 10:05: Car assignment and checking proper seating position for all participants
10:05 – 10:45: Group exercises
10:50 – 11:20: Orientation lapping
11:25 – 11:55: Medium speed lapping
12:00 – 1:00: Catered lunch
1:00 – 1:20: Classroom discussion on lapping and cornering lines
1:25 – 2:30: Lapping with instructors
2:30 – 2:45: Afternoon break and Q&A session
2:50 – 3:20: Lapping session with instructors focused on individual needs
3:25 – 3:40: Final lapping session focused on the perfect line
3:45 – 4:00: Wrap-up, presentation of certificates and distribution of handouts and handbooks

Our cars were from the current Mercedes-Benz Canada line up. Over the course of the day, we all had ample opportunity to drive each car in various situations. While driving an SLS AMG is surely on every enthusiast’s bucket list, it was not the most impressive car for me on this day, but more on that later.
Beside advanced seating and handling skills, the main focus during the day was to learn to go around Mosport’s Turn 2 and 5 as fast and save as possible. Danny’s reasoning is that these 2 corners are very technical and mastering them will make any driver more than capable to navigate the rest of Mosport in an extremely brisk and performance oriented way.

It was very educational to drive so many different cars right after one another. It was clear that each car had very individual driving characteristics. But at the same time, all presented the famous and renowned “Mercedes” feel of substance, purpose and performance.

So what was my favorite Benz or should I say most impressive car of the day. The new S550.

This car is not only supreme comfortable and tranquil – as expected. Not even the AMG version, this S550 was also wickedly fast and capable on the track. It was maybe not the fastest car out there, but the way this S–Class luxury sedan let you dive into corners at high speed, take you around Mosport’s devilish Turn 5 and sling shot you down the straight was – well – a real surprise to me.

To sum it all up, the AMG Mastering Performance was an exceptionally fun and informative event. While the cosy of $1600 is not a bargain price for a driving school, please keep in mind that other schools do not provide you with all the gear and the cars and definitely not cars of the caliber of a S550, CLA45, E63 or SLS AMG. Also, taking you own car on the track as most other schools require, can easily cost you a few hundred $ just in wear and tear, the need to buy your own helmet not to mention and the risk of having your car being damaged.

Also, and I may go out on a limb here, I predict that if you get your new AMG at MB Durham you may be able to negotiate a discount for your next AMG driving academyJ.

In any case, participation is certainly well worth it.



May 31 turned out to be a perfect sunny day in the suburbs to test the skills of young and seasoned drivers. This was the second Safe Driver – Safe Family driving school for the Toronto Section. Frank and Mary Alice Cozza and Ernie Fancy Director North East Region with his wife Bonnie  came to Toronto to sample some Canadian hospitality, food and to share their skills and help. Miss Lauren Howe, second runner up for the Miss Universe Canada pageant joined in the afternoon to talk to the young drivers about their driving experience in the SD-SF program

The event started on Friday afternoon when the instructors and helpers had a first briefing. After a site visit of the training facilities we had a shared dinner at a popular local buffet restaurant. Early on Saturday morning, the set up and cone arrangement got the activities started on time for the 43 participants. A big thanks you goes out to our sponsors K. J. Beamish Construction Co. who lend us the pylons needed for the course layout and an opulent lunch donated by Pizza-Pizza Canada.

This year’s Safe Driver – Safe Family event had a triple purpose to not only train seasoned adult as well as young student drivers but also to train the new MBCA Regional Instructors. Dr. Jim Roberts, Chair of the National Driving Committee Doug Dees, President of the MBCA Educational Foundation and Harald von Langsdorff, Section President and Section Sports Director Peter Spitzer were at hand to get the event underway and to observe the activities.

In the morning, the groups went through the classroom session, hands on technical inspection of their cars, demonstration on proper seating, followed by the driving clinic.

Collision avoidance and the slalom maneuvers completed the activities before lunch followed by figure eight, the newly introduced Hoegl Parking Challenge and the grand finale of the timed auto slalom, always a the highlight for participants.

Our resident film producer Christopher Dew added by his camera crew of Gunter Barkowsky and John Osbourne did the filming and editing for the websites.

The newly accredited Regional Instructors are:

  • Christopher Dew
  • Norbert Egli
  • Ernie Fancy
  • John Geist
  • Michael Hoegl
  • Joyce Hughes
  • Richard Kunst
  • Mariela Castano
  • Harald von Langsdorff
  • Peter Spitzer

Timing for the Young Drivers Auto Slalom results:

  1. Kelsey Baird
  2. Taylor Baird
  3. Alexander Alexopoulos


TIming for the Hoegl Parking Challenge Youth

  1. Kelsey Baird
  2. Carter Rock
  3. Shannon Hughes

Timing for the auto slalom resulted in the following adult winners.

  1. Michael Hoegl
  2. Peter Spitzer
  3. Richard Kunst

Timing for the Hoegl Parking Challenge Adults

  1. Jim Brindle
  2. Annette Hoegl
  3. Peter Spitzer


The afternoon ended with some small gifts from Mercedes-Benz Canada for participants who traveled to Toronto as well as prizes for the winners of the autocross. Certificates were given to the successful drivers and Regional Instructors.

Afterwards we retired for some R&R to the Section President’s house in the country to have fine wine, German beer, cheese, chili and butternut chicken on the patio overlooking his private pond.

Many thanks to the attendees, students, helpers and our new MBCA Regional Instructors for a great event.

Doug Dees


May 25, Sunday morning, it could not have been a better day.  After a brutally long and harsh winter and still cold and wet May it cleared up over the weekend and was a stunning day.  Mid 20’s and clear was the perfect day for a cruise from the GTA to Parry Sound for lunch.  Seems like the younger AMG crowd and some of the V12’s cruised at a different speed than the classics – or “vintage” as the crowed so kindly referred to anything more then 5 years old 🙂

The group left from the Colossus theater in Woodbridge and gathered a few along the way up Highway 400 towards Parry Sound.  In Parry Sound we gathered at the harbor front displaying the 20 cars that made it all the way. After some Pizza lunch we got a closer look at the machinery varying all the way back from a ’66 230SL to an over 800 HP supercharged C63.  John with much pride showed his 230SL Pagoda in near perfect shape while Michael showed his RenTech 7.4L V12.

The way back was just as pleasant and as the group dispersed after lunch some chose a mix with some country road on the way back home.  A fun day out with the Mercedes Benz Club of America Toronto Section.


by Doug Dees

Mika Häkkinen joined with Mercedes-Benz Canada and Johnnie Walker Distilleries as their official spokesperson to kick off the Canadian “ JOIN THE PACT” campaign to not Drink and Drive. Over a million signatures have been collected around the world whereby   a $20 taxi voucher will be given to early responders for each pledge. The second tour will be launched at the Singapore Grand Prix with the objective of collecting another million pledges.

At this official press launch, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Mika to discuss the activities of the Mercedes Benz Club of America (MBCA) and the MBCAEF’s “Safe Drivers-Safe Families” program.  I emphasized our commitment to have his message delivered as part of the MBCAEF program at our driving events as part of our partnership with Mercedes-Benz Canada.

A special C63 with the Johnnie Walker was on display with requisite Johnnie Walker leather clad ladies for photo ops.

Executives of Mercedes-Benz Canada, Johnnie Walker and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario were also present to lend their support for this international campaign.

Mika will be at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in June to further promote the “Join the Pact” campaign. To sign up MBCA members can go to or use the hashtag  #ImNOTdriving .

April 26-27 was a mixed weekend at Mosport Park and provided great opportunity to learn and enjoy.  The weather started mixed with rain and cold but cleared up for Sunday. As usual the event is very well managed and is kept on a tight schedule so everybody gets their fair share of track and class room time.

With just over 120 participants the groups were defined by experience level from beginner all the way to Racers.  It is not a frequent occurrence that a Race School has one of the sessions during this event but adds to the fun watching them practice. While wet and cold caution is of utter importance and the teachers ensured a safe and fun driving environment.

First the schedule includes class room training for subjects such as safety processes on a track, control methods of the car including weight shift and energy dynamics.  A high degree of training once going on the track is focused on situation awareness from vehicle dynamics, weather and street conditions as well as your friendly partners.  Remember that while there are no speed limits your teacher will guide you to stay well within safe limits and to ensure that everybody stays out of each others way. On Sunday the day was nearly perfect – cool but sunny and dry.

The cool provided for a good performing environment for brakes and engine allowing for experiencing more of the potentials built into the machines.  A wide variety of cars attended including some Toyota and Mitsubishi’s, a wide range of BMW’s from 1 series to very fast M5’s and even a 7 series as well as many Mustangs, Porsche’s and Corvettes.  Unfortunately this time only one MB. Learning to master the car at the various speeds and conditions is a tremendous experience and translates into much more control over your car while driving in any condition.

It was good seeing everybody during our Mercedes-Benz TechSession on April 5th.  We had over 45 attendance and organizers which made it one of the biggest events yet.  The Team from Mercedes Benz Canada was well prepared and highlighted some of the new technologies and trends.  Seeing an open new generation transmission can be just about as exciting as being able to touch and feel an Tech-Prepared new generation S-class stuffed with the newest technologies in every conceivable spot in the car.  How could you imagine controllers and CPUs from nose to trunk to provide all the advanced safety and convenience features. 

While organizing such an event is certainly enjoyable, the greatest delight is to witness the large turnout and a great feedback from you the participants. Our team of the MBCA Toronto Section is very happy and wants to thank you for being part of the event and of course thanks go to Mercedes-Benz Canada for hosting and educating us.


Niagara Fall Wine Tour
The MBCA group

We just returned from our 3. Annual Fall Tour. As this newsletter is going to “press” we are still collecting pictures and stories
Please come back to read more.

Advanced Driver Training
October 5-6 we held our first joint Advanced Driver Training in cooperation with the BMW Club of Canada Trillium Chapter.  The event was held at the Canadian Tire Mosport track and is a choice location for a performance oriented driving experience.  BMW Trillium has been holding driving schools for several years and provided us with a well-organized and structured event; in fact it is well recognized and was sold out by early September.On Saturday morning after registration the safety briefing starts at

8:00 sharp.  Everybody’s safety and enjoyment depends on a thorough understanding of the rules, respective flag signaling and behavior on the track.  The briefing ends with a tradition “promising our cars that we will bring the home in the same shape in which they arrived” …okay with exception of tire and brake wear 🙂



The attendance are grouped by experience into 4 categories namely novice (C), intermediate (B), advanced (A) and individual (I).  All students with exception of the “I” group gets a driving teacher assigned that will team up for the whole weekend and will be in the passenger seat during all “on track” activities.  This allows for a one-to-one training program and for continuous improvement with every practice run.   The schedule provided everybody with a start of in-class lessons including rules, driving strategies, track specifics and the practical application of car dynamics.  These would be followed by track sessions and exercises.




Harald and Joyce started in the C group but quickly Harald with all his experience was moved to the B group joining Gerald and Peter.  With 3 Benzes and 1 Audi we joined a diverse group of cars from Toyotas and Subarus through a wide range of BMWs and Porsches up to including a set of Vipers and Ferraris.

Saturday was a nice October day mild enough to not fret the upcoming season and perfect performance driving.  With every session control, confidence and feel for the car improve and respective performance increases.


Mosport is a challenging and fast track; challenging enough that finesse and experience can far outperform raw power. It is considered a 10 corner track with a couple of longer straights allowing for some power plays.  Gaining sensation to the various aspects such as the proper line and using brakes and power to balance the car is the key asset when going through corners while the long straight up the hill was exhilarating to allow the engine to pump out all it can. Not to worry though, the teacher is there not just to guide but also pull you back in case the adrenaline got the better of you.



On Saturday at the end of the day there was a track walk to understand some of the more intricacies of the asphalts we were driving often with some anecdotes of the past.  We paid respects in the ash spreading ceremony for very active motor sport member Frank Gray as these were his wishes.  All followed by a pleasant dinner served at the new Mosport Event centre.




Sunday the weather turned to rain and fog which slowed the driving and added some new skills.  On the wet track we not only had less traction but much less consistency.  A new line and exploring the difference sto new lines became part of the learning.  Feeling and looking for consistent track patterns was as important as sensing the overall mechanical traction.


When the fog settled for a while delays in the schedule were inevitable. While some packed and went home it all cleared in the mid afternoon and allowed us to finish the day with enough track time to complete a fulfilling experience.  We all drove home tired but with big smiles on our faces.



The motto often repeated reflects that the best performance investment is not ECU tune, better flowing exhaust or even a whole car upgrade but in your own skills.

We hope to see more of you coming out in our next event in the spring next year.  There are 4 co-op Advanced Driving Schools planned for next year in addition to our Safe Driving event that is already pinned down for May 2014.
Anybody interested in performance and driving events please feel free to contact me with comments and options for discussions.
Your Sports Director, Peter Spitzer

Legends of the Autobahn – Canada, Concours and Driving Event

Check for our 100+ picture gallery and additional event information

When the gates opened on Saturday, June 15th 2013 at 8:00 AM, for the first Legends of the Autobahn – Canada, Concours and Driving Event, only those with first-hand experience in organising car shows knew just how much preparation went into the launch of this event.

In fact, planning of this joint event between the MBCA – Toronto Section, BMW Club of Canada, Trillium Chapter and the Porsche Club Upper Canada Region began months earlier. As this was the first combined event ever for our three clubs, preparations were quite different compared to a single club affair.  However, regular planning meetings of the representatives from each club had paved the way for an outstanding weekend.

Just to make sure things would go as planned, some members of the organizing team arrived at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park the day before the event, on Friday, to scout out the fields and allocate space for the three clubs as well as the sponsors.

MBCA Toronto Section Gold sponsors included Mercedes-Benz Durham, SONAX, A2Z Automobiles,

The sun was shining brightly on Saturday morning at the newly renovated and paved Canadian Tire Mosport track, to welcome MBCA members from as far away as Montreal, Brockville and Barrie, Ontario.

The Legends of the Autobahn – Canada was held during the Canadian Historic Grand Prix that takes place over the course of Father’s Day weekend. The Concours or Corral of Legends of the Autobahn was only one of many activities taking place. Spectators could watch, smell and hear authentic vintage racing action where drivers were battling it out just like in the heydays of Mosport of yore.  A stroll through the paddock allowed close encounters with men and their lovingly maintained racing machines from the 50s, 60s and 70s, which were just a step away.

On the Concours turf it was delightful to have a large number of 190 and 230, and 280 SLs in attendance from as far away as Montreal. Glen Moon and Roland Wilhelm’s 190 SL were outstanding examples of the brand, especially since both had driven a considerable distance to the Concours. Roland had an extensive collection of period accessories for his 190 SL some of which we had not seen before.

Rolf Dieter’s blue 280 SL took top prize in the Pagoda category, Marcus van Bers 230 SL in second place followed by John Geist’s 230 SL.

In the Contemporary Cabriolet & Roadster category, Harm Rosenboom took first place with Richard Kunst and Paul Kneale in second and third place, respectively. In the Classic Coupe & Sedan class, Doug Dees took first prize with his 280SE coupe followed by Harald von Langsdorff with his 300SEL 6.3 and Norbert Egli’s 250 Coupe.

Roger Ferguson and his 450 SL took first place in Modern Cabriolets & Roadsters followed by Glen Knox and Christopher Loates.

Jim Kenzie, noted automotive journalist, accomplished racer and a classic car collector himself was the Master of Ceremonies and professionally entertained the crowd during the awards ceremony. Together with Doug Dees, the Chief Judge for MBCA, Jim handed out the trophies. Afterwards, in the Concours field, he was interviewing Toronto Section members about their impressions of the day.

The Legends of the Autobahn Concours and Corral ran all Saturday under the wonderful blue Canadian sky. Every club donated not only their expertise in event organization but also trophies, equipment and prizes. Nevertheless things were not without minor challenges and we did learn a bit more about running an event of this scope. We learned that attendants at the entrance gates need to know what the exact admission fee for show participants is. That sometimes when you expect five helpers, three show up – or nine! Also, one of our sponsors learned that a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van does not exactly fit through the Legends of the Autobahn inflatable arch!

When the Concours and Corral activities were slowing down in the evening, registered guests for the Banquet gathered and joined racers, organisers and special guests in the huge Canadian Historic Grand Prix hospitality tent for a filling buffet with chicken, BBQ ribs and dessert. After dinner, while most people had a relatively short trip home, some stayed in nearby hotels to rest for the Sunday driving activities such as the Parade and “Hot” Touring laps. Meanwhile, Harald von Langsdorff, Section President, his family as well as MBCA member John Geist and his family choose to camp overnight in their RV and had a watchful eye over the remaining cars.

However, having been so co-operative the day before, the weather had changed dramatically overnight and put a damper on the attendance for Sunday.

Around 9:00 AM, the official start of the Corral Parking, the rain and fog had gotten so bad, that the historic races had to be stopped as the marshals could not see one another on the track. We expected the day to be a total washout.

Surprisingly, as the morning rain continued, a dozen Mercedes show up. Just before the start of the Parade Lap a handful of BMWs and Porsches also dropped in to inquire about the procedure for the “Hot” Touring Laps.

By noon the rain diminished somewhat and off we went to the track entrance. None of the passengers in our car or the occupants of the other parade cars have ever been on a real race track. The excitement was tangible, the adrenalin was rushing.  Our pace car lead us around the Mosport Grand Prix track in a moderately fast pace and motivated Gill, my wife to frequently ask me to “slow down“ while my 10 year old son encouraged me to “go faster”!

Being on a race track, especially one with this much history is truly exciting. Despite the bad weather many spectators were waiting for the races to continue and gave us their thumbs-up when we passed by. In the end the parade managed to attract a total of 50 cars with a dozen or so fromLegends of the Autobahn. But like everything fun, it was over much too quickly.

After leaving the track and gathering back at the corral parking area it was time to start packing up. With the help of the remaining participants we gathered the club paraphernalia into our trailer. Filled with of a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction we all agreed: we’ll be back!

Thanks again to the dedicated core planning group of Harald von Langsdorff – MBCA, Kye Wankum – UCR, Randy Sparre – Trillium. When the event sponsor Derek Johnston, SONAX joined, the preparation took another leap forward in experience. Together with the onsite helpers on Saturday and Sunday their combined labour and diligence led to a very successful launch of the Legends of the Autobahn – Canada, Concours and Driving Event at the Canadian Tire Mosport Park.

Lots of more pictures and information here:

Concours and Driving Event

 LOTA- Canada 2013  at a Glance:

  • Over 100 cars from the 3 marques attended the Concours and Corral Saturday
  • 3 participants showed up for the Rally Tour, Saturday morning
  • 3 Porsches did “Hot” laps Saturday noon
  • 18 guests attended the Gala Banquet Saturday evening
  • 3 Mercedes did the “Hot” laps Sunday morning
  • 10 cars were in the Grand Prix Track Parade Sunday noon
  • Saturday weather was great, Sunday was not so great

MAY 5th 2013

A perfect sunny day in the suburbs to test the skills of young as well as more experienced drivers was the right backdrop for the first 2013 driving event of the Toronto Section.


Well known instructors Frank and Mary Alice Cozza, Paul Bailey and Terry Kiwala traveled from the United States to Toronto, Canada to sample some Canadian hospitality, food and to share their Defensive Driving skills with our group. Roy Kuck in his 1994 300E cabriolet and his grandson Zack Davis also joined us from New York State.

The weekend started on Saturday night with a magnificent buffet at the WokofFame restaurant. Early Sunday morning, the set up and cone arrangement got the event started off on time.

The Safe Drivers – Safe Families event was coached by Doug Dees, Norbert Egli, Lauren Howe and Harald von Langsdorff.


Both groups went through the classroom demonstration on proper seating, technical inspection of their cars including – the often neglected – tire check, followed by the driving clinic.

Collision avoidance and the slalom maneuvers completed the activities before lunch followed by figure eights and the grand finale of the mini autocross which was the highlight for all participants.

The Safe Drivers group met again in the afternoon to discuss situational awareness and were debriefed by Lauren Howe on what they’d learned


during the day. Students also had a chance to give their feedback – to further develop the course.

Timing for the autocross resulted in the following winners.

Best Overall

  1. Michael Hoegl (DD course)
  2. Tristan La (SD-SF course)
  3. Marcus van Bers (DD course)


  1. Joyce Hughes (DD course)

Young Drivers

  1. Tristan La
  2. Yida (Derek) Lin
  3. Kieran Fitzner


The afternoon ended with gifts of appreciation for our American friends who travelled to Toronto as well as prizes for the winners of the autocross.
The group retired to the residence of Toronto Section President Harald von Langsdorff to celebrate the successful event
with some fine wine & cheese thanks to Harald’s wife Gill and beer & pizza on the patio overlooking the nice country side and pond. Here the US visitors also got a good night sleep for their return the next morning.

Requests for a repeat of this event are already pouring in.

Thanks again to all the volunteers who made this possible. Including the Trillium BMW Club who generously offered us to use some of their pylons.

See the pictures hereicon-pic-dde.png

See the videos here :  icon-youtube-dde.png



2013 Canadian International Autoshow February 19th
The Toronto Section met on February 19th for a private viewing of the new models arriving for 2013 and 2014. Arden Nerling of Mercedes-Benz Canada was our host for the evening and shared with the 15 members in attendance the organization and layout of this year’s MB booth. On display was a white 2014 E Class AMG 4Motion that was especially flown in from Germany along with a working prototype of a new Hybrid Smart car that is being tested for customer reaction to its “Avant-Garde” design. The new B Class was on display and I had the opportunity of telling members of the driving experience of this car as my wife’s 2010 B Class was written off in an accident just before Christmas. One member may buy one based on my driving experience during the last snow storm.

To read more …. click here

Christmas Dinner and Annual General Meeting, December 1, 2012

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This year we tried something new and we all feel it worked very well. We changed the venue to the Royal Ambassador in Caledon. An upscale, yet surprisingly affordable event venue.

The evening started with the Annual General Meeting where we discussed the past year and outlined the course for the next year. Congratulation to the Board members who were all re-elected.

Next was Cocktail Hour. Here we could enjoy a large screen presentation with pictures and videos from the past year including STARFEST in Phoenix and mingle with old and new friends. We had a wonderful 5 Course Dinner with an abundance of choices and all of the highest quality.

To read more … click here…

Saturday, October 13, 2012.

The tour commenced with 15 members meeting for a delicious lunch at the Peninsula Ridge Winery in Beamsville at noon, followed by an informal tasting of their fine selection of wines.  Peninsula Ridge is situated on the Niagara escarpment with beautiful views over Lake Ontario.

wine tour 2012


Sunday, October 14, 2012.

Sunday’s fall tour started with breakfast at the White Oaks. We welcome some new members for the Sunday leg before commencing the morning drive along the Welland Canal toward Lake Ontario and working to our first stop for the day at the Colaneri Estate Winery.

To read more … click here…