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
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.
After 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.
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 the 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.
In 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!
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 email@example.com
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.
Blue skies, warm weather and full fall colors greeted the over 50 section members and prospects for the first Fall TechSession, Tour & Country BBQ.
The event started at the new Silver Star in Brampton, just outside of Toronto. This dealership, part of the Eltes Group is the newest and one of the largest in the Toronto area to service the growing population in the northwestern part of the GTA.
Through the co-operation and enthusiasm of Ian Cass and Stephen Wilke, Sales Consultants, the dealership held a technical briefing that provided a behind the scenes look of this new location that handles anything from tiny Smart cars to large Sprinter vans. Of special interest was the presentation by Patrick Fletch, Service Director on the work involved to get a used Mercedes-Benz Star Certified as well as the steps necessary in prepping a new car before delivery to the customer. He also had some noteworthy servicing tips to keep your used car in top condition. Of particular relevance to some members was the ability of the technicians to service some of the older classics. As non-members were able to attend the event it gave seasoned Section members the opportunity to outline the benefits of joining the MBCA through the MEL program that encourages new membership through a 6 month sponsored trial offer.
When the TechSession finished, M-B Brampton provided a wonderful catered lunch of gourmet sandwiches before the participants commenced the Fall Tour. First intended as a group outing, due to the large number of cars, the organizers converted to a self-guided tour. Following the detailed route description provided, 30 cars zig-zagged their way through the scenic Caledon Hills to enjoy the fall colors and foliage. It was a perfect day for a leisurely drive along country roads flanked by red and golden maple trees or just sitting by the clear waters of the Credit River in the warm sun. Some members with local knowledge also found time to revisit their favorite spots for many photo opportunities.
After about two hours the tour ended and at 3 o’clock it was the time to gather at the rural home of Gillian & Harald von Langsdorff, Toronto Section President. Here, the BBQ crew was already busy preparing the steak, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and great salads; something for everyone.
People were able to mingle and to view & discuss the cars that attended ranging from a new AMG sedans, coupes and convertible including a SLS Gullwing to a variety of various coupes, sedans and Pagodas of the 1960’s.
Afterwards, we had deserts and coffee. There were enough packaged so all participant were able to take home some sweet treats for the coming Thanksgiving weekend.
The event finished with a prize draw just when the sun was ready to set. Doug Rowan, the recent grand prize winner of the last MBCA Spring raffle struck gold again by winning the Mercedes-Benz jacket followed by Amanda Geist and Richard Calingasan for a Mercedes-Benz sweater. The prizes were donated by M-B Brampton.
Many thanks for the generosity of Silver Star M-B Brampton and its staff, all the help from Doug, Peter, John, Paul and the von Langsdorff’s Harald, Gill & Tanisha for their hard work in making this a very special launch event into the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.
[ Remember to click on the image for enlarged view and slideshow features! ]
2015 Spring Rafe
How often do you get the chance to award such a fabulous prize like a 2016 Mercedes AMG GT S?
The Toronto Section had the great privilege to announce the 2015 Grand Prize Raffle winner, our own section member Doug Rowan.
One can only imagine what it would feel like to receive a call like this, unless of course you’re Doug.
Doug is a long time section member and enjoys driving his daily Diesel. We just recently met to discuss his plans to purchase a new E-250 BlueTEC.
We look forward seeing him at one of our upcoming events.
- 4:00 PM – AGM (free for members) review of 2015, plans for 2016, election of Officers
- 5:30 PM – Reception
- 6:30 PM – Dinner
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.
Our European delivery did not come to a conclusion with the pickup of our car in Germany. In fact, you could argue that it was just the beginning. While most deliveries would be a onetime trip including a 2-3 week tour around Europe, we however knew we would return to Germany just a few months later for a business trip. So, after an initial 1000km break-in period and quick love affair, we left the car in storage with a friend in Germany (BTW, European residents are not legally allowed to drive the car for instance and tax reasons) and eagerly anticipated our return in August.
When we returned, the car I was ready to tango. With the official break in period behind us I could finally stretch the GLA’s legs on tour to Dresden for my Conference.
An Autobahn network to and from the former East Germany was virtually nonexistent until the reunification. However, a huge building program was initiated in the 90s to remedy this and today the best built Autobahns in Germany are pointing East/West. Combined with relative sparse traffic allows high speed runs of many km at the rev limiter or in my case the Mercedes-Benz imposed 250km/h. You see, German manufacturers adhere to the unofficial gentlemen’s agreement to limit their cars to 250km/h but this limit can be increased or even completely eliminated by a dealer installed software upgrade. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to schedule such upgrade (yet).
So I did the 400km to Dresden in a leisurely 2¾h including a stop for gas.
While Dresden is an extremely interesting town in and of itself, you can read about its rich history, architectural and cultural highlights elsewhere and I will limit my description to the driving aspects of our trip. So after a week of conferencing, we briefly returned to the Black Forest only to continue on through Switzerland, Italy and France to finally drop off the car for shipment out of Nice on the French Riviera. I had chosen the tour based on two sometimes hard to combine propositions: keeping my wife happy and comfortable and finding the curviest and most challenging roads to cross the Alps.
Here is what I came up with:
- Drive from Rastatt to Zurich in about 3 ½ hours with the promise of a great dinner at Lake Zurich.
- Spend the next day sightseeing.
- Then continue south and cover 6 major Alpine passes in 10 hours.
- Gotthard Pass
- Susten Pass
- Grimsel Pass
- Furka Pass
- Tremola Pass
- Nufenen Pass
- Driven in the right order these form an almost perfect figure 8, right in the heart of Switzerland. All of the passes are closed during fall – spring. We barely got past the snow line. Traffic was rather spares as is was off season and no police was present. Driving was relaxed and fluent. Around every corner you could see and feel the majesty but also solitude of this mountain region. It must have been not easy to live here over the past centuries. Not everything was Heidi folklore.
- Continue through and past Chamonix we stopped along the route at nightfall for a quaint little hotel in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains in the French Alps. Being so high in the mountains and passing numerous milk farms along the way, we were ready for a cheese fondue which we were guaranteed would be much better than the lesser Swizz version. Well, we leave the final verdict open but the dinner certainly was memorable.
The next day, we had a rather early start and entered the fairly unknown (I hope it will stay this way) Route des Grandes Alpes. This is not one single road but a string interconnected, often very narrow Alpine paths starting at Lake Geneva and ending at Nice in the French Riviera. If you ever want to test your car, your driving skills, your forearms and the patience of your co-driver this is the route to take. Needless to say the visuals were spectacular.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to drive the Route des Grandes Alpes all the way to Nice and finished with a quick shortcut through Italy. At 6PM sharp we arrived at our meeting point, Monaco. Here, we united up with my cousin Daniel who is a Neurosurgeon at a local hospital.
Nice is only 15 min away, so he and his kids came by train. Public transport is the preferred choice for locals which we soon learned.
What can I say about Monaco? Well, it is 3.3 km wide and 1 km deep. That is less than the distance from Ontario Place to Young St. and King St. to Lakeshore. Now double the number of high-rises and cars and shrink all roads to half the size with the same amount of people and vehicles. So now we’ve been there, done that and had a great glass of Champagne at the Café Americaine in the Hotel De Paris next to the beautiful Casino.
The next few days we spent in Nice and the gorgeous French Riviera aka Cote d’Azur. We had a memorable drive all the way to St. Tropez, passing Cap Ferrat, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cannes and Antibes. Again, historic and cultural highlights are well described elsewhere (Rick Steves’ travel shows come to mind). Driving wise, however let me tell you, in the tiny streets and alleys, Mercedes’ smallest SUV often still felt like a monster truck. Except it did not get any respect from the suicidal scooter, Vespa, Renault and Fiat drivers. Luckily, at stop signs and winding sections of the Route Grand Corniche I could stretch the AMG’s legs and loose those pesky critters – at least until the next stoplight.
Eventually, our European tour came to an end with the drop-off at the shipping company. To the entertainment of my wife, I gave our GLA 45 AMG a final hot pressure wash to jettison the exoskeleton remains that had collected on the front fascia during our 3000km trip. Then we drove to the drop-off station close to the airport.
Well, what Mercedes gained in esteem during the initial pick-up in Stuttgart and Rastatt they almost lost during the drop-off. The location was a tiny, container office next to the airport, with some unmotivated, untrained, uncaring employees. The whole ordeal took us over 1 ½ hours and cost an unexpected $1000 administration fee. Interestingly, a BMW driver also dropped off his vehicle and was in and out in 10 min., free of charge (apparently the place handles all European exports for German manufacturers). The only comment I received was ‘Mercedes is different and always takes longer’. Mercedes-Benz Germany may want to look into streamlining the drop-off a bit, at least at their Nice location.
Nevertheless, those last 90min really are not that important and I consider the whole European Delivery Program a wonderful experience. So good in fact that we already consider our next purchase to be again picked up in Stuttgart.
In the final Part 5 of this series, I will report on the delivery experience of my GLA45 AMG once it reaches Canada.There are no photos with those IDs or post 2886 does not have any attached images!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Saturday May 24 is our 3rd annual SAFE DRIVER – SAFE FAMILY driver training. A full day to learn safe driving techniques and evasive maneuvers for young and old alike including a fun autocross. All in a safe and controlled environment.
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 www.autovaultcanada.com 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.
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.
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.
Over the course of 2014 Peter Spitzer was (and is) tirelessly active in promoting the Toronto Section. He not only initiated but also participated in various driving activities. From our Safe Drivers – Safe Families educational event, our Spring drive to Perry Sound to the Advanced Driving School in conjunction with BMW Trillium Chapter. He maintains a lively contact with other MB fan groups in the GTA as well as various German brand clubs.
He also took it on himself to spearhead the membership drive at the national level as the MEL – Membership Expansion Leader. This pushes our Toronto Section into the spotlight for 2015 as the chosen section to initiate this new nationwide MBCA membership drive.
Besides all these activities, Peter still made time to thoroughly update our website and foster our social media presence on Facebook. Together with President Harald von Langsdorff he re-launched our recently awarded e-newsletter STARlite.
Congratulations Peter. We are happy to have you as a member and on our Board of Directors.
Over 50 participants enjoyed the great food, great pictures and video of the past year activities and most of all each other’s company.
Starting the event was the Annual General Meeting in the afternoon. President Harald von Langsdorff reviewed the past years activities and laid out the club’s road map for 2015.
Treasurer Doug Dees gave his finical report that indicated that the club has returned to a health balanced books.
It was also determined that beginning 2015 the election of the Board Members will be switched to a online voting system to give all Section members an easy means to participate.
After the club business matters were settled we turned our attention to the social part of the evening starting with reception. New for this year was a Silent Auction. This was generously stacked by beautiful items from Exclusive Jewelry Sales, Oakridge. A2Z automobiles, MB-Durham and MB Downtown. German Motors Imports and proved to be a huge success.
During dinner our guests saw a picture and video review presented by President Harald von Langsdorff that reminded us of the numerous fun, educating and entertaining moments the members had over the course of the year. He also presented a graphic outline of the upcoming club events.
Ernie Fancy, MBCA Regional Director traveled in from New York to present us with Member of the Year and Best E-Newsletter Awards. He also promoted the next STARTECH in Cincinnati, June 12-14
We want to thank all participants, guest, helpers and sponsors for making our 2014 Year End Dinner and Party a wonderful rich event.
This is a nationwide competition amongst all MBCA Sections. We thank the National Board of Director for the recognition.
Here an overview of our efforts and reasoning.
- Over the past couple years we have invested to develop and adopt a communication platform with a uniform look and feel across the media to improve brand recognition, simplify the ability to replicate messages and to make it user friendly.
- Our STARlite newsletter is composed as a structured email using ConstantContact and is sent to a set of actively maintained member lists including that comprises not only our Section members but also sponsors MB-Canada staff MBCA national Business office and various subgroups and neighboring Sections
- The layout has been recently updated to reflect the current trend in email communication to be more graphic driven. The audience sees a quick graphic representation of our past and upcoming events. This enticed them to click a picture to read the full article rather than have to read the email newsletter in its entirety.
- All full articles are at the same time hosted on our website in the News section. This also saves the editor to have to recreate content for the numerous different medias a Section typically utilizes (website, newsletter, Facebook, national website).
- Sending the user to the website to allow for a more rich and multimedia experience i.e. the newsletter can contain video.
- We can measure on the ConstantContact site on the read rate and the click through rate on articles to gain some insight on interests.
We thank Webmaster Peter Spitzer and Section President Harald von Langsdorff and for the design, implementation and editing of our STARlite e-newsletter.
- 4:00 PM – Annual General Meeting (free for members) Review of 2014, plans for 2015 including election of Officers
- 5:30 PM – Reception
- 6:30 PM – Dinner
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.
Toronto 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.
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.
The Organizers are making final preparations for the second annual Concours d’Elegance at Cobble Beach on Sept. 14.
Owned by Peter Boyle of Oil City, Penn., the ultra-rare 1928 Isotta Frashini was named Best in Show at inaugural concours at Cobble Beach. Boyle wanted to return, McLeese said, and will also be bringing a Rolls Royce this year. This year’s show will have 21 categories. One notable class is for micro cars up to 1973. Among the cars in the class are a 1957 Messerschmitt KR 201, a 1959 Vespa 400 and a 1959 FMR Tg500. “There is kind of a strange following to those cars because they are just a very rare vehicle,” said McLeese. “These are quarky kinds of cars that are rare and are interesting to find.”
McLeese said he is also excited about the museum class for this year’s event.These cars are coming from places like the Detroit Historical Society, the Canadian Automotive Museum and the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum,” said McLeese. Among the cars expected this year are a 1930 Cord L29, an 1867 Henry Seth Taylor steam buggy, a 1909 Oldsmobile Model X3 Touring, a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy dual cowl Phaeton. “Effectively it is those vehicles you wouldn’t ever really see,” said McLeese. “There are going to be some pretty spectacular vehicles.” This year’s concours will begin with a drive on Sept. 13. Many will drive through Owen Sound and into Harrison Park. The route is also expected to take the cars to Hepworth, Wiarton, Big Bay and back to Cobble Beach. Last year 70 cars took part in the drive. This year’s event includes a Porsche display and test drives.
“There is quite a buzz actually in the concours circuit in the States” about it, he said. “Hopefully it is going to be a big success again this year and its going to double in size and continue to grow.”
Discounted Concours admission ($30/per) ends September 2. Please consider making your reservations today.
For those driving up with us on Saturday morning remember meeting is at 10:00 AM sharp in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Brampton, 10 Nevets Rd, Brampton, ON L6T 5T2 – just off Airport Road and Queen Street E. (Hwy 107)
Discounted rooms at the Blue Mountain Resort can be booked at: https://lodging.bluemountain.ca/booking/#availability – use promo code: GRP111128
Dinner is scheduled at 7PM at the Copper Blues Bar & Grill in the center of Blue Mountain Village.
We will also have a group breakfast Sunday morning and then take the short drive to the Cobble Beach grounds. We should be arriving there by 11:00 and will be happy to meet up with members who decided to make this a one day tour.
More detail of our trip are here: http://www.mbca-toronto.org/2014/08/11/fall-tour-to-cobble-beach-concours-delegance/
If you have questions please call Harald’s cell: 416 838 6857
Fall Tour to Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Sept 13-14, 2014
The itinerary is as follows.
- Saturday, September 13, meeting of the car convoy in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Brampton, 10 Nevets Rd, Brampton, ON L6T 5T2 – just off Airport Road and Queen Street E. (Hwy 107)
- Start 10:00 sharp
- Commencing north on Airport Road
- Short stop at Camp Borden
- Lunch in Wasaga Beach
- Continue to Blue Mountains Resort, Collingwood for overnight.
- Please make your own reservations here: https://lodging.bluemountain.ca/booking/#availability or call 877-445-0231, press for lodging reservations and provide your group code GRP111128 and group name Mercedes Benz Club of Toronto
- Dinner in the Village http://www.bluemountain.ca/nightlife.htm
- Sunday morning breakfast at the Village
- Scenic drive to Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance
(admission tickets here: https://events.cuetoems.com/cobble_2014/OnlineTicketSales.aspx )
- While we will be attending the Concourse as spectators, members are still welcome to enter the Concours individually. Please check our Spring STARLite newsletter for details or visit www.cobblebeachconcours.com.
- The trip is planned as a two day outing. However, member who do not want to stay overnight can drive up individually Sunday morning (2.5h) and meet us at the Cobble Beach Concours.
- Later in the afternoon we gather and start our return down the scenic Escarpment roads.
- You can expect to be back in the GTA in time for Dinner
Please note that we won’t have a formal registration. Instead we will start the tour 10:00 sharp with the cars in attendance – so be there on time. Please contact Harald von Langsdorff 905-838-1980 if you have any questions. Hope to see you there.
Set against the romance of lush fairways and windswept costal views, international tastemakers and distinguished guests will have the rare opportunity to view an elite collection of classic automobiles.
The inaugural 2013 event hosted over 4,000 attendees, 100 vehicles in competition, and an international field of accomplished judges, Last year’s event was a wonderful debut, with two Mercedes in the show including a 1959 Mercedes 190SL, and a 2005 Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren. The inaugural Concours raised over $50,000 for the Sunnybrook Foundation helipad project.
The Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance is currently sourcing vehicles for the 2014 Concours and is looking for a couple of exceptional Mercedes for inclusion. There is no cost to register.
Our call for entries includes the following classes:
1. European Classics, which include all Mercedes between 1925 and 1948
2. European Sports Cars (to 1973)
Please visit www.cobblebeachconcours.com for additional details or to register your vehicle, or call Kathryn Smith 416-366-4820 ext. 228.
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.
- 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.
MBCA TORONTO SECTION MAY 31 2014
SAFE DRIVERS-SAFE FAMILIES and DEFENSIVE DRIVING EVENT
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:
- Kelsey Baird
- Taylor Baird
- Alexander Alexopoulos
TIming for the Hoegl Parking Challenge Youth
- Kelsey Baird
- Carter Rock
- Shannon Hughes
Timing for the auto slalom resulted in the following adult winners.
- Michael Hoegl
- Peter Spitzer
- Richard Kunst
Timing for the Hoegl Parking Challenge Adults
- Jim Brindle
- Annette Hoegl
- 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.
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 www.jointhepact.com 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.
On February 18th, Mercedes-Benz Canada hosted a private tour for Toronto Section MBCA members of their pavilion at the Toronto International Autoshow. Arden Nerling of Mercedes-Benz Canada walked the members through the new models including the new GLA, S-Class, C-Class and designer Smart Car displays. The new GLA SUV while related to the B-Class platform is really a distinct vehicle and will be available for sale in the fall, while the new S-Class and C-Class models are available now.
We also received insights into the new Mercedes-Benz branding design language including colour arrangement for the models on display and the positioning of the logo and name. It is obvious that a lot of planning and thought went into the Mercedes-Benz Pavilion located in the North Building for 2014.
After we visited the M-B exhibit members made their way to the South Building. Here the S-Class drive simulator was waiting for us. This high-tech unit consist of a real new S-Class car with seating for 5 and allows a 180 degree view on six screens in front of the car and 11 simulation channels including motion simulation. The system needs a network of 12 powerful computers to run.
“You can experience all the safety functions in a safe simulator experience and get first-hand experience,” Andreas Gottschol, an engineer with Mercedes-Benz in its Active Safety department explained as he described the driving simulator. “It shows off all the safety functions in the S-class (as well as the E- and C-class) vehicles.”
Members had the opportunity for a hand-on confront of some of the revolutionary safety features available. Various scenarios were presented to the driver including night time, high speed German autobahn and city driving. All pose numerous driving challenges and demonstrated the innovative solutions offered by Mercedes-Benz. The simulation was so real that during an impending collision even the seat belt pre-tensioners actually tightened up –for the rear passengers.
Although some of the features are not (yet) available in North America due to legal issues, it marks a substantial move forward to assist drivers to be safe in our increasing crowded highways and cities while offering a relaxed and comfortable driving experience.
The evening ended with coffee and cake at the Mercedes-Benz V.I.P. only lounge overlooking the Autoshow.
We’d like to thank Arden Nerling and Mercedes-Benz Canada again for hosting this informative and entertaining evening.
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