Harald von Langsdorff
For 2016, we are offering a new and completely different experience for our annual Year End Party – we will be attending the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District.
Christmas Markets are a very German tradition. More than fitting for us in the Mercedes-Benz club.
Instead of our typical formal sit down dinner, we also decide to make this a free event for our members. There is no formal cost or fee to attend this event. We will present very member who registers a $50.00 food voucher to be used at the Christmas Market. With these, we want to give members the opportunity to sample a variety of seasonal foods and beverages. The vouchers can be used at many different vendors on site in increments. Here some of them:
-Das Kartoffelhaus (Those Potatoes On A Stick)
-Woodcutters (Sausage, Hotdog, Steak Sandwiches)
-Oktoberfest Sausage (Hot Dogs On Egg Bun)
-Kaese Sandwich (Grilled Cheese Sandwiches)
The evening will start with reception at Mercedes-Benz Downtown Toronto 761 Dundas St. East • Toronto, ON M5A 4N5. Mercedes Downtown has offered us free parking and a brief tour of their facility. They also graciously offered us a free shuttle ride to the nearby Distillery district and the Toronto Christmas Market. Here, we will stroll in small groups and take in the views, sounds and smells of the Holiday Season. Shuttles are scheduled to take us back to the parked cars. Feel free to stay a bit longer, in which case just hail one of the waiting taxis.
- Meet at your Mercedes-Benz Downtown dealership (4-5PM)
- Park our member cars
- Reception in M-B Downtown showroom (5-6PM)
- Organized shuttle rides to the Toronto Christmas Market (6PM)
- Stay at the Christmas Market (6-8PM)
- Return via shuttles to the parked cars (8PM)
We have reserved 25 vouchers (feeds 2-3) and will be offered on a first come first serve basis (one per family).
We hope to see as many of you as possible to finish our club season in style.
Your MBCA Toronto Section Team.
If you encounter any problem, please contact Harald (905) 838 1980
A few weekends ago Toronto Section President Harald von Langsdorff and Minuteman Section member Steve McKelvie participated in the Pumpkin Run Rally.
What follows is the report from his Co-Driver and Navigator Steve McKelvie.
Last weekend Harald and I took part in the 2016 Pumpkin Run rally hosted by the Northeast Rally Club in Millsboro, Delaware. We were fortunate that the rains had stopped a few days before, as flooded roads due to excessive rainfall have been problematic in this area of Delaware. Still the rallymaster had to issue an emergency speed in one area to account for one road we crossed that had a completely flooded section.
As I noted in an earlier post, we had planned on using Harald’s recently acquired 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC, but some engine issues prevented us from using that car. As a result, we used Harald’s 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG. This is a very good performing car when it comes to starting and stopping with its 2.0 litre 375 horsepower engine and big disc brakes.
We enjoyed catching up with some friends who we have met at previous rallies. It was particularly good to see Brian Blood/Steve Keller who campaign a 1969 Saab 96. This Saab was originally rallied by the Pacific Northwest USA rally legend, Satch Carlson. Brian and Steve are a very competent rally crew, which they demonstrated last year by winning this rally outright. Brian and Steve have been very helpful to Harald and I.
Harald and I finished 5th Overall in the 36 cars that started the rally.rall in the 36 cars that started the rally. We were satisfied with this result as it shows that we can be competitive, but we know that we have to shave away a few more seconds. There were 14 scored legs and our total error was 49 seconds or about 3.5 seconds per leg.
2016 Pumpkin Run Rally Results
Harald and I did manage to zero one leg, so we were awarded an Ace. This Ace sticker is shown below.
Harald and I enjoyed this rally and meeting the other rally competitors, organizers, and the rallymaster. We look forward to competing in another Northeast Rally Club rally next spring.
The full report of this rally can be found here.
Steve is a member of the MBCA Minuteman Section and runs an very interesting motorsport blog. Get yourself a cup of coffee and some time and start reading here.
Last weekend, Section President Harald von Langsdorff participated in the inaugural Brack Classic Hill Climb close to Owen Sound. Here is his report.
A brief video incl one of my hot runs can be found here.
To my knowledge there has not been a hill climb in Ontario for at least 50 years.
One of the main reasons for the organizer Bob DeShane was to rejuvenate the idea of a hill climbs in Ontario. For whatever political, socio-economic or ecological reasons, this racing activity has been absent on the motor sport calendar for too long.
The new event coincides well with the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance, held close by on the shores of Georgian Bay which is now in its fourth year. In fact, the Cobble Beach organizers offered preferred entrance and exhibit space for all hill climb cars. The Cobble Beach event promotes itself off the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance saying that it has “larger stones”.
Bob is to be applauded to be able to unite local municipalities, sponsors, media and the neighboring public to support this project. The least of his worries were the competitors, who were eager to attend this reinvented motorsports event.
A hill climb is basically as race up a hill, against the clock, one car at the time.
There was a wide variety of cars and motorcycles that entered this hill climb event in six categories.
- Vintage Cars (Pre 1963) V
- Historic Cars (1963 – 1972) H
- Historic Motorcycles (1963 – 1972) HM
- Classic Cars (1973 – 1989) C
- Modern Cars (Post 1989) M
- Modern Motorcycles (Post 1972)
Modern Class was a late addition and allowed me to participate in my GLA45.
With just 1.15km the hill climb was not too long. The course had a mild climb, some over the crest and off camber corners and a chicane of hay bales. We had each one practice and 4 timed runs. These times were accumulated to determine the class and over-all winner.
As you see, there were some very powerful cars in the lineup. However, powerful alone does not win a hill climb. It needs a good combination of acceleration, braking, handling, consistency and a wee bit of driving skills.
In my case, the combination seems to have been just right on this day. Having a modern all-wheel drive car certainly helped on this rainy day.
During the course of the day, the organizers, participants, elected officials and locals were all, thrilled, educated, amazed, breathless and highly entertained and left hopeful that this new event will thrive in the future and that the weather will be a little better next time.
More information including pictures, videos and a very complimenting mentioning of your truly find here.
Members of the Toronto Section took advantage of bright sunshine to participate in our first event at the Copper Kettle Classic on August 27 2016. John Geist with his son Andrew in his 1965 230 SL arranged to meet with Doug Dees in his 1969 280SE coupe early on Saturday morning in order to secure our reserved parking area in down town Creemore which is just 1 ½ hours north of Toronto ,home of the famous Creemore Brewery.
Marcus van Bers in his white 280SL Pagoda soon joined us on the main street along with Peter Spitzer in his SL Silver Arrow.
Although most of the antique cars attending were American along with a few British vehicles, Toronto Section cars were popular with visitors. Main Street was blocked off and car clubs had to reserve in advance to receive the coveted midtown spots. An unknown Pagoda was spotted not part of the club yet. The owner appreciated the tips and advice about restoring and maintaining her new acquisition
The Creemore Brewery offered many small samples of various German beers using the original ingredients from Germany and the hot day required a few samples to remain cool. Food was plentiful from outdoor vendors or in the nice restaurants in the downtown area. Some of us enjoy a nice lunch at a French bistro. Visitors included those from Norway and other European countries who appreciated seeing so many automobiles and motorcycles. Owners who did not make reservations had to park on the outskirts of town to alleviate congestion.
After the Copper Kettle show a group of Section members took the scenic rout over the mountains with beautiful views of Georgian bay in the distance. Special Thanks to Gerry Gallant with his 427 Cobra for the guided tour .
More information can be found here:
We are looking forward to the 2017 event.
We had our first successful TechSession lite.
With about 20 member is attendance we can officially call this test event a full success.
Even the occasional rain could not stop some members to bring out their convertibles.
Sheik, our MBCA member and owner of A2Z a Automobiles in Oshawa, graciously hosted us on his BBQ and provided the drinks.
Everybody had a chance to see the work that was performed at Harald’s 6.3. He can’t wait to take her to his next event or Classic Car Rally.
We could also see first hand the complete work shops as well as other cars A2Z was currently restoring.
Stay tuned for a TechSession Lite later in the Fall.
Beautiful and rarely seen automobiles will herald in a new tradition of distinction and elegance on the shores of Georgian Bay.
On September 17 & 18, 2016, Cobble Beach Golf Resort Community presents the 4th annual Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. On Saturday September 17, 2016 the Participant tour will take place in Grey County. Sunday, September 18, 2016 the Concours will be held on the 18th fairway of Cobble Beach, this extraordinary bayside course will play host to a rich assortment of international automobiles and distinguished guests.
The Toronto Section has been invited to bring 10-15 cars to the Sunday 18th, event.
Here is the invitation I received recently from Adam Lytwyniuk, Registrar at Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance:
We are planning on adding a select few car clubs to our car club area. The placement will be either on the driving range (where the 190SLs were a couple of years ago, or near the food vendors). We think that the MB club would be a good fit if you are interested. We are looking for a minimum of 10 cars. The arrangements would be the same as we did for the 190SLs but generally this is what we are thinking:
- Invite a select few high end clubs (like MB, Aston Martin, Porsche, Jaguar for example)
- Allow all years of vehicles. We would still like quality vehicles, but a mix reflecting your roster or how you would like to be perceived.
- The cost would be a $40 per vehicle donation plus a general admission ticket per person ($30+HST)– a tax receipt is issued directly from Sunnybrook with respect to donations. Some clubs have their members donate to the club and claim the tax receipt for the club, while others have members donate directly. There is a donation button on our website that directs you to the appropriate Sunnybrook page.
- We likely will allow the club to have one banner with their name.
The date of the show is September 18th this year.
We will do this on a by first come – first serve basis.
Looking forward seeing you there.
We are invited to the MBCC Annual Car Show & Picnic.
Sunday, July 3rd 2016
Gates open at 11:00am
At the KW Optimist Club
2001 Kressler Rd, Waterloo, ON N2J 3Z4
Tel: (519) 885-1119
Admission is a recommended donation of $5 per person or $10 per car to the KW Optimist Club.
Food is available for purchase from the KW Optimist club.
Or bring your own lunch
Prizes, Car Judging
Enjoy a great afternoon with some great vehicles!
Rain or Shine, Indoor Facilities
Bring Lawn Chairs to Relax
For more information contact Yves Gosselin9103@hotmail.com
TORONTO TECH SESSION 2016
The Toronto Section held its 5th annual Tech Session put on by Mercedes-Benz Canada on April 23rd at their Toronto training facility near Pearson airport. 47 participants attended this event hosted by Arden Nerling, Events Manager of Mercedes-Benz Canada. The presentation of the new technology in the new 2017 C 300 4 Matic coupe and GLE was done by Derrick Tan, Sales Trainer at the Training Academy with the assistance of Rob Takacs, Corporate Sponsorship’s & Event Marketing Project Leader of Mercedes-Benz Canada. These new cars have more computing power than the space shuttle. Distronic Plus with steering assist was demonstrated, clearly demonstrating the added value of the new technology including the Baumester sound systems,360 degree cameras and radar that looks out to 500 meters to identify risks to the driver as well as Pre-Safe brakes with pedestrian recognition. The Independent Driving Program ADP is already in use in these new cars. We even learned why sub woofers are now in the firewall and not in the doors to provide extra airspace to make them more effective.
The apple and blue berry strudel as well as the pretzels were delivered and the writer admits to eating six of them, plus taking two of them home
Some new members were present as well as many familiar faces that have enjoyed the previous events, including members from the Mercedes-Benz Club of Canada. Harald von Langsdorff, presented the next upcoming year event which is a BBQ at AZIZ body shop in Oshawa when Harald picks up his new refurbished 6.3 sedan. This meeting provided the new members not only to ask questions about the new technology but also to ask existing members about their recent classic car purchases and share information.
Doug Dees reminded everyone about the MBCA draw for a Mercedes-Benz Airstream motor home and $20,000 US cash as the Grand prize. Information is available on the mbca.org website. An update on the history of the ownership of Justin Trudeau’s 300SL roadster was also presented.
George Morita one of the founding members of the Toronto Section 26 years ago was presented with a British Automobile Club grill badge from the 1940’s for his 1949 Bentley sedan .
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 a Mercedes-Benz back pack, golf umbrella between presentations resulted in smiling faces and those that didn’t win a grand prize of a back pack received a complimentary Mercedes-Benz key chain that also can hold quarters or can be used as a golf ball marker.
Many thanks to Arden and Mercedes-Benz Canada for their hospitality in hosting this event.
We are invited by MBCC to their Spring Wine Tour. We would like to join as a group and enjoy the region for a tour on Saturday June 4th for a visit to Mercedes Benz Dealer in St Catherines followed by a visit to Chateau des Charmes Winery.
Following the MBCC invitation:
We look forward to a strong turnout for what has become the ever popular annual Niagara Wine tour. As noted above we will be visiting Chateau des Charmes Winery.
Our day will begin with a tour of the Mercedes Benz St-Catherines dealership who has opened their doors to our group. They are located at 371 Ontario Street, St-Catherines. From the QEW take the Ontario St. exit and turn right and follow to dealership which will be located on your right.
We are to meet there at 11 AM, get reacquainted and tour their facility while enjoying a coffee or tea. We will leave MB St-Catherines shortly after noon and make our way to the Jordan House Tavern, located nearby at 3845 Main St. in Jordan Station for some lunch or an early afternoon snack.
Following lunch you are free to explore the immediate surroundings but remember our tour at Chateau des Charmes starts at 4 PM sharp! The tour will be guided by winery personnel and features an educational tasting of 4 VQA wines including their renowned Icewine. Cost for the tour is $12 per person payable to the club. Exact change will be appreciated.
This is an RSVP event, your response is required by Monday May 30th latest to reserve your spot. Please reply to Yves Gosselin at 519-938-9103 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
After a beautiful scenic country drive to Creemore, we arrived early but not early enough for Parking in key locations on main st. The day was very hot and sunny, there were many activities for families from Horse wagon rides, Creemore Springs Brewery , visiting the old Heritage home and small Jail , all free incl. Beer Samplers of course must be of age. Roads in and around Creemore are closed to traffic so you can take a leisurely walk without any worries from vehicle traffic. There are also many locations to eat or seek shelter from the heat, hope the weather will be the same this year. Judging categories, Best Family Car , Best 3 Wheels or less, Organizers Choice, Brewmaster’s Choice, Peoples Choice & Best of the Best, trophies are all custom hand crafted.
The best were the beautiful cars located in scenic historic settings of Creemore.
Just another note that Creemore Springs Brewery uses German Hops from Bamberg and Yeast using the European Brewing Tradition .
What a beautiful drive.
The event organizers told us if 5 or more cars from a club register we get parking adjacent to each other.
We are planning a somewhat different event.
Recently, our Section President Harald von Langsdorff had his favorite drive, a 1968 300 SEL 6.3 repainted. You may recall the write-ups in our STARlite newsletter. After months of anticipation, the car is now ready for pick-up at the shop of Section Member Sheik’s A2Z Automotive shop in Oshawa.
We thought this would be a great opportunity for a get together.
With Sheik’s help, we plan a TechSessionLite at the premise of A2Z to see firsthand the shop’s features and activities. They not only restore classic but are a full service shop.
Sheik has also organized some informal BBQ and refreshments for us.
We’d also like to invite our fellow MB enthusiast from the MBCC.
Date: May 16, 2016
Time: 5:00 – 7:30 PM
Part 2 – Getting Started
It’s been just around three months now that I dropped of my 300SEL 6.3 for repainting. Since then, I visited Sheik at A2Z a couple of times to check on the progress.
Each time, I was accompanied by one or more of my fellow MBCA members Doug, John and Marcus.
When you start a project like this, you have to ask yourself some important questions upfront:
How thorough do you want the paint job to be? What about the engine compartment? Did you want to go into the extend to remove it for a full engine bay repaint? Same with the trunk. Does it need repainting? What if you detect further problems on the car? Can things get damaged while being removed/handled?
For example, if the front &rear winds come out (they should in a proper paint job), anticipate that they may not come out easily. The glass, together with the rubber seals easily gets damaged even when extremely careful. Obviously, now would be the time to replace any other damaged items. So find out if replacement parts are readily available. How much would they cost in case needed?
Rubber doors seals. Should you replace them? Are they available? Were these costs taken into consideration? Did you provide the paint shop with instructions and/or replacement parts?
Do you want a Euro version or a US version? Meaning, do you want to have the side markers, signal lights, headlights etc. modified? In the 60s, Mercedes-Benz cars were often delivered in Germany to US customers but in a Euro version, driven overseas for some time, exported to the US and only then modified to US specs. What version do you want the car to represent? Do your homework and have all parts available to finish one or the other version. How much are you prepared to have your budget increase by some late change of heart?
Keep these all in your mind when you boldly go ahead.
Taking the car apart
It is mandatory you and the paint shop discuss the extent the car is supposed to be dismantled to get painted. Ideal – from the painter’s point of view- is to have the whole car in pieces. This way, painting will be fast and thorough. BUT unless you have a car worth a 6-digit number, this may be cost prohibitive.
In my case, we decided to take the hood, trunk lid front fenders off. All of these parts, the rear fenders, doors and roof were then sanded and primed. With the car apart, now is the best time to address any visual and looming mechanical deficiencies.
Note: One option to proceed is to dismantle the car yourself. The reasons are a) to save money, b) avoid damage by an inexperienced paint shop. In my case a) was debatable, as transporting a dismantled car would have its own cost and challenges and b) was not of concern – see Part 1.
After the dismantling, some small rust dots were discovered on the rear wheel arches and repaired. Contrary to an earlier plan, the 4 doors were not removed for painting. This was an executive decision by Sheik as he felt there is not much to gain painting wise, as the arches and the pillars could be accessed easily with the doors left in place. On the other side, removing and resetting door poses a certain alignment risk.
As mentioned earlier, even before starting a paint job you should give some thought and discuss of all things that potentially need to be addressed/fixed. Including anticipated problems along the way such as sourcing rare parts. For years, I had collected a by now fairly large stack of spare parts for my 6.3 and set aside to be replaced/installed during just this occasion. I had brought them along in some large boxes when we stated. For example, I had what I thought a full set of rubber door seals. Unfortunately, one rubber door seal was missing. I forgot, that I had never acquired one. The large windshield rubber that I had saved turned out to be for the rear window not the front as I had thought.
My research discovered that the car spent the first year in Euro trim before being converted to US spec. That conversion was done fairly crudely by cutting openings into the side of the fenders to install the side markers. I now switched the car from US specs back to Euro Specs and the side markers were shaved. I also deleted the bullet style front signal lights. All indicating is now from within the front light housing.
BTW, Even the Euro model of the 300SEL 6.3 always had the double headlight, not the single light design of the basic W108 model.
Here some more pictures from the two visits.
What Library, you may ask? Yes, we have one. At least now that George Morita’s has been kind enough to donate his entire collection of 30 years of THE STAR magazine. That’s about 120 magazines in three boxes.
Here is George on the very left at one of our Tours.
George is a founding member of the Toronto Section and he and his lovely wife Marilyn are still actively participants at our events. Thank-you George.
BTW, any other old (or new) books & magazines are welcome. I will gladly add them to The Library.
I am also interested in archiving and documenting my inventory of Mercedes-Benz and automotive related books. If anybody is interested, I could use some help.
You won’t need a library card to visit, brows or borrow any magazines or book. Just contact Harald – the librarian.
Has elegance left modern car design? Are there no longer any cars being made which exude grace and class? Some may point to the raucous Jaguar F-Type or a svelte Aston Martin, but those designs are far too littered with scoops, “flame surfacing” and spoilers to be considered the essence of elegance.
Take for example John Geist’s pristine 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL. You won’t find blacked out trim or imitation brake cooling ducts anywhere on its stately sheet metal. It’s a purposeful, yet beautiful, design that looks formal and expensive without looking frumpy or overly ostentatious. Compared to American offerings of 1966 on which chrome was apparently slathered on with a trowel, the SL uses delicate ribbons of chrome to highlight the edges of its shape in the same way that a diamond necklace complements a dress.
The 230SL was designed as a bridge between the racy but extravagantly expensive 300SL “gullwing,” and the pretty but under-powered 190SL. Compared to the racer-for-the-street that the 300SL was, the 230SL was a more genteel car. It had all the sports car ingredients including a multi-point fuel-injected straight-six engine, two seats, four-wheel independent suspension and a removable top. But these components were wrapped in what remains one of the most graceful bodies to date. Like scotch in a fine tumbler, it just looks right.
Like many, Geist was initially attracted to the 230SL for its graceful shape, but he likes to enjoy it for more than just wall art. An active member of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, Toronto Section, he loves driving his SL to shows and club events.
But the SL’s signature design touch is its “pagoda” roof. Mercedes engineers designed the removable hardtop (which is surprisingly heavy) with a unique concave curve in it; most roofs are convex when viewed from the front or rear. One of the reasons they did this was to add rigidity to the structure so that it could protect the occupants during a rollover crash; the other reason was that the upturned roof edges allowed for taller windows and better visibility, giving the car a very light and almost delicate appearance.
The 230SL’s design was well ahead of its time and the driving experience is shockingly modern. Multi-point fuel injection means that it starts and idles just like a new car – none of the usual carbureted recalcitrance when starting one of these. It rides smoother than the 1965 Sunbeam Tiger we recently featured and it’s only slightly less quiet at highway speeds than the superb Citroen SM.
But all that calm is shattered when Geist prompts the four-speed automatic to dip into low gear and accelerate hard. The sound doesn’t seem to come from one point; it surrounds you. You hear the whine of the double-row cam chain, the rush of air being swallowed through the intake runners and the surprisingly racy rasp of the exhaust. It’s a cornucopia of pleasant sounds.
Those looking to buy one of these graceful convertibles would do well to buy a sorted one. Unlike most cars that have bolted on fenders and body panels, the SL is comprised entirely of spot welded panels to increase rigidity and reduce rattles. Unfortunately, this means that rust and dent repair can be very costly and labour-intensive ordeals. The first step to repairing the front fenders on an SL is to cry in the fetal position. It won’t be cheap.
The SL was not an inexpensive car when it was new. Its $7,000 price tag was on par with Porsches and Maseratis of the period. Today, values remain high and a perfectly restored car can fetch easily $100,000+.
For those wanting the graceful looks of an early SL for a slice of the money, an option exists in the form of the “R107” generation SL. Made from 1971 to 1989, the third-generation SL is an affordable way to enter classic Mercedes ownership. These were made with I6 or V8 engines and their long production run means they’re fairly easy to find for sale.
One ride in Geist’s 230SL explains exactly why these cars are so valuable. It’s a classic that actually feels modern. It’s one of the few cars from the 1960s that can be driven like a new car. Understandably, Geist plans to drive it as often as he can, for as long as he can.
M-B Canada will update us in detail about the latest developments in Mercedes-Benz Technology and Safety.
Date: April 23, 2016
Time: 9:00 – 12:00
Location: Mercedes-Benz Logistic Centre and Training Academy 7380 Bren Road, Unit 2 Mississauga, Ontario L4T 1H4
- Welcome and Introductions
- Technical Presentations
- Break with Complimentary Coffee, Pretzels & Strudel
- Video Presentations
OK, so I decide to give my Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 a new coat of paint.
I had acquired this car almost 10 years ago – from all the available sources – on Ebay. Read more about the 300SEL 6.3 here
After extensive communication with the owner, I won the car for a reasonable price. Unseen and untested. However, the communications with the previous owner indicated that he had already invested a large sum in a very comprehensive mechanical restoration by a reputable brand specialist and had all the receipts. It even included refurbishing of the complete interior with new and correct leather upholstery and wood. I later learned that other bidders were confused with some mismatched interior details and wrote the car off as an unidentified object.
Next, I had the car shipped to Starmotors in Endicott, NY, a shop specializing in Mercedes models powered by the famed M100 engine. Until this point, my intend was to turn it into a tribute car of the Rote Sau (red pig) and use it extensively in Classic Car Rallies. Read more about the Red Pig here
After the car arrived at Starmotors, Neil the owner, called me. He hinted to not convert it after all. Mainly because it was just in too nice of a condition. He also confirmed this car to be #0038 and one of, if not the, first such model in the US. Which makes it quite valuable. The only weak spot was the fading paint but that could be addressed at some point in the future. We concurred te leave the car as is and after a brief tune-up and some minor maintenance of the air suspension it would make a very good driver with almost show quality interior and mechanics.
So this what I did for the past years. Drive it and appreciate the power and comfort that only the 6.3 can provide. For a second opinion, just hop over to Jay Leno’s video report on his 6.3. I also participated in some Classic Car Rallies and enjoyed embarrassing some motorists at stoplights and the 407, who thought that this is just another lazy, old Benz Diesel.
“New paint at some point in the future…”. Well the future is now and here is where this story actually begins. (BTW, this will be a multi part story over the course of this year. Hopefully with a very happy ending).
Part 1 – Finding a right Paint Shop
Finding a good paint shop is like finding a needle in the haystack. Actually, more like finding a golden needle between many needles. Obviously, the key is to find a good balance between cost and quality. However, quality is hard to judge before the paint has dried. Therefore, a lot of trust is involved.
I think I did my due diligence. I visited a number of paint shops, compared their work ethics and prices, spoke to friends who had similar work done in the past and traveled the internet.
My final candidates where the before mentioned M100 specialist Starmotors and our own Section member A2Z Automobiles in Whitby. The recent drop of our $CDN compared to the $US combined with the travel distance (I wanted to see the progress regularly) eventually favored the second. In addition, numerous conversations with Sheik, the owner of A2Z, made me feel at ease. My decision was also assisted by the fact that he was just in the midst of repainting a 220S Fintail, so I saw firsthand the attention to detail that he and his crew put into their work.
I dropped the car off just before Christmas.
One of Sheik’s jobs will be to document the work as it progresses so I can have pictures for my write-up.
Here are the first pictures.
On November 21st the Toronto Section held its annual Year End Dinner Party at the Royal Ambassador Banquet Halls in Caledon.
33 members including a special visit from the MBCA North East Regional Director Ernie Fancy and his wife Bonnie attended the event. Ernie’s visit was not only to update the membership on the National events such as StarFest 2016 which is being held in Uncasville Connecticut, August 3-6th 2016, but also to award Section President Harald von Langsdorff the MBCA Officer of the Year award.
This award is only given to one officer in a Region who in the opinion of the directors of the section and the Regional Director has displayed exemplary leadership during 2015. Gillian von Langsdorff was also honored with a bouquet of red roses for her contributions over the years as a gift donor of fine jewelry, sponsor, her role as a hostess for the events held at the von Langsdorff home and for just being the “Great wife” beside Harald. Harald was also given some original Mercedes-Benz marked 18 carat gold trimmed soup bowls and coffee accessories from the former executive dining room at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart for his leadership role in the Toronto Section.
Before the dinner started, a silent auction was held for the gifts donated by Mercedes-Benz Canada, their dealers and other sponsors and suppliers. We like to thank The AutoVault, Chudleigh’s, Euromotion Garage, Castaño-Kunst Dolls, JRPerformance, Exclusive Jewelry, M-B Dundas, Mississauga, Queensway and Brampton for their support not only for this evening but through the year. A draw was also held for the door prizes and all members were able to choose an item of their choice. Doug Dees asked the members to support the sponsors who have been supporting the club.
During the preceding AGM, participating members had discussed the 2015 and 2016 activities and Harald now informed all attendees of the Dinner Party of the planned events. A slide show entertained with various photos and videos of the 2015 events such TechSession, Stars of the Autobahn at Chudleigh’s and the Caledon Fall Tour & BBQ as well as a video of John Geist’s 230SL, professional shot by the National Post’s website.
It was a great evening to cap a full year of activity for our membership.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
For decades I have taught and been taught that on a race track you do your braking in a straight line and get it finished before you deal with the corner.
Not so, says Danny Kok, chief instructor at the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy in Canada.
Kok and the Mercedes program teach the delicate art of transitioning from the brake to the throttle pedals while cornering.
Braking in a straight line may be best for beginners and others with less experience on a track, but ultimately the faster method is to use that transition time to re-distribute the weight among the four contact patches as smoothly as possible.
Recently, Section President Harald von Langsdorff visited the new Mercedes Benz dealership in Brampton, ON.
During his first visit he met with Ian Cass, a young, dynamic sales consultant. Harald introduction our MBCA Toronto Section and both quickly determined that the opening of this new dealership would be great opportunity to offer our members an exclusive in-house TechSession. Quickly on-board was M-B Brampton President and Dealer Principal Jonathan Eltes and who gave the event an enthusiastic go-ahead.
We also invite all Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts in the area to come and join us and encourage them to take advantage of our 6 month trial membership offering.
On October 10th (or rain date below), MBCA members are invited co come out and get a behind-the-scene look of this brand new facility. Jonathan Eltes and Ian Cass of M-B Brampton promise to present us some interesting Mercedes-Benz News and Know-How in the showroom as well as in the service bays.
In addition, we determined this would be a great starting point for a little Caledon Hills Tour after the TechSession. Harald has offered to lead the group. To finish up and being so close to his home, he and his wife Gill are also inviting us to a little BBQ at their backyard after the tour.
- Saturday, October 10
- 09:45 – 10:00 Registration
- 10:00 – 12:00 TechSession
- 12:00 – 13:00 Lunch Break
- 13:00 – 15:00 Caledon Tour
- 15:30 – sunset BBQ
Mercedes-Benz Brampton is located on the corner of Highway 410 & Mayfield Road, Brampton Ontario minutes north of the 407 ETR
M-B Brampton YouTube video here
Clayton Seams, a self-proclaimed lifelong car enthusiast with a passion for old cars is telling automotive stories in new ways.
Clayton recently attended our Stars of the Autobahn Show & Family Outing at Chudleigh’s.
He was very impressed with our new event and has published an online article on the National Post www.driving.ca website.
It was therefore decided that it would be best to postpone the course.
European Delivery for North American customers is only available at the M-B Customer Centre in Stuttgart. The reason is that it involves export documentation from the custom authorities in Stuttgart. Hence us going to Stuttgart to get my GLA. However, early in the process I had contacted the Customer Centre in Rastatt where Gerhard Lorenz, GM was very accommodating and basically said: why don’t you drop by after your Stuttgart delivery and we will give you and your group an individual factory tour so you see where your GLA was actually borne.
In the meantime, beside my wife Gill and son Sebastian, Doug Dees, John Geist, Peter Spitzer and Steve McKelvie all friends and MBCA members were present looking forward to the visit.
A few days later we drove our two white Mercedes (my old 220S Cabrio and the new GLA 45 AMG) to Rastatt located just a few minutes form our castle hotel.
In Rastatt, besides the GLA, A and B-Class are build. This includes complete assembly of the steel chassis, paint booth, suspension, electrical components, engine, final inspection and delivery. Very interesting was to witness how few people are actually involved in the physical assembly of these car. Most steps are done by automats and robots. The factory was virtually deserted and the whole process was extremely quiet, clean and fast – almost eerie. In many aspects it looked like the set of a SiFi movie.
The guided tour was about two hours long, with every second filled with highly interesting facts and views – even my sometimes “car fatigued” wife was mesmerized.
After the tour we were invited to a fine lunch in Bertha’s Restaurant, part of the Visitor Centre. Then we enjoyed some multimedia exhibits, bought some small souvenirs and played on the driving simulators. As a good–by gift we each received a Mercedes-Benz hat, posters and thumb drives with additional information.
Our little MBCA delegation must have left a good impression as our visit was covered prominently on the M-B Visitors Center Facebook page.
I can only recommend the European Delivery to anyone buying a new Mercedes and interested to visit Germany/Europe. It is a wonderful combination and will leave a lasting impression.
Currently, M-B has 3 delivery centers in Germany with Rastatt being a newer one. These days, 20%(!) of all new German Mercedes are picked up by customers in these centers. Germans enjoy visiting those modern and family oriented facilities, tour the factories, buy a souvenir and drive their new cars home.
I had scheduled delivery for Thursday April 2, the day before Good Friday. In Germany and many other European countries this day is called Green Thursday. It is also the day my other family as well as John Geist, a friend and fellow Section member, were to arrive in Frankfurt.
The plan was for John to rent a car at airport and take everyone to Stuttgart meeting me along the way. Unfortunately, on this day – after many on-time arrivals – the plane from TO was almost 2 hours late. Typically not a big deal but this being the last day before Easter vacation the roads were unusually busy. Combined with heavy rain and wind and despite John’s gallant ride, we arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Delivery Centre a few minutes after the pick-up window closes at 2PM. Fortunately and in anticipation of Germany punctuality, I called ahead and announced our pending delay. Thanks to my German language skills and our really good story, the lady on the other end was very accommodating and promised that she will make sure I still receive my car.
When we arrived just after 2PM the M-B Delivery Center was still buzzing with smiling new Benz owners. After some paperwork, a few signatures and a great lunch plus good German coffee and cake we were called up. The delivery agent, fluent in English, showed us around the car and handed me the keys. With a full tank of gas, courtesy of M-B, off we went to our final destination of the day, Baden-Baden.
We did skip the normally earmarked guided Stuttgart factory tour but only because we were invited to tour the Mercedes-Benz factory in Rastatt for the following week. Not only A- and B-Class cars, also the GLA 45 AMG (my model) is actually build in Rastatt. Also, this quaint 40.000 people town at the foot of the Black Forest happened to be my home town until I moved to Canada 20 years ago.
We took the scenic route through the Black Forest to Baden-Baden. Besides, driving my brand new GLA 45 AMG on the Autobahn under strict break-in restraints could have been too challenging for me.
Finally, the stars are aligning.
I am able to check off another item of my (still very long) bucket list – European Delivery.
April 2nd, I will pick up my new GLA 45AMG in Sindelfingen close to Stuttgart, Germany
For a few years, I have been yearning to do this. But either the model I wanted was not available for European delivery or the timing was just not right. You see, to be eligible for European Delivery the model has to be actually built in Germany. So for example ML Class cars do not qualify. Which makes sense as they would need to ship the car from their US factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Germany just so you ship it back after the trip. Also, AMG models are typically not available either.
However, the new GLA 45 AMG is built in Rastatt, Germany and is included in the program. So with this information in my hand off I went to my Mercedes dealer. I choose M-B Durham in Whitby as I met one of their sales people Rick Hallam at their AMG driving school at Mosport last year. Also, Bentley Hammer, the President of this privately owned dealership is a very strong supporter of our MBCA Toronto Section. After some phone calls back and forth with Cory Williams @M-B Durham, M-B Canada and M-B Germany my order was placed.
So what exactly is European Delivery? Simply spoken it means that you buy your new Mercedes here in Canada but pick it up at the factory in Germany, drive it around Europe (up to a year for export law reasons) at the end of your trip drop it off at a designated location in Europe (there are a dozen or so in almost every European country) and about 6 weeks later take possession again at your local Canadian dealership.
Some Pro/Cons to consider:
Car is a few % cheaper this way, one can save more money by not needing a rental car, Germany and Europe are great vacation destinations, first class Mercedes-Benz delivery service and facilities. The Autobahn!
Limited model selection available, car needs to be paid up front – no financing or leasing possible (at least not in the Canadian program), you won’t have the car for some weeks while in transit.
Details are available here: Canadian European Delivery
Further information can be found by a simple web search. The M-B USA and many of their individual dealers have great info. Some of the best I found was at: http://www.mbeuropeandelivery.com/index.php. However, one has to keep in mind that the Canadian program varies in many aspects from the US counterpart. Again I am not sure why. So do your homework before you commit.
As I stated above, it was on my wish list and worked very well for me as I planned my European delivery around our annual Family Easter trip to Germany.
In addition, this year Doug Dees, Peter Spitzer, John Geist and Steve McKelvie, all MBCA members, will also travel to Germany for various reasons and we all will gang up over there for some classic car days, cultural & culinary education and family activities.
We will keep you posted about our adventures and experiences in the upcoming STARlite.
Lubrication can be a daunting subject for someone unfamiliar with its basic concepts. Even someone with experience in the field can be confused by the multitude of lubricants available on the market today. Reviewing a few basic lubrication principles can make it easier to understand why proper lubrication is necessary in every application.
Quite a few members use AMSOIL products with success.
Jay asked, you answered, so he restored this Benzo to its original state per your request. Take a trip under the hood!
CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK, ON – Whether you’re strumming a guitar or tinkling the ivories, perhaps whipping up an exotic dish or just hitting a sweet drive down the middle of the fairway, there’s nothing more humbling than to witness a real pro accomplishing the same task – and doing it so much better.
I recently spent a day under the tutelage of Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy chief instructor Danny Kook and his talented colleagues, who coached and encouraged me and 11 others in a Mastering Performance course. The venue was Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, that world-class Canadian road-racing circuit better known to most folks as Mosport.
Click to read the full story. Driving pros deliver an unexpected reality check to overinflated egos.