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.Gary Shapiro at the side of his 280SL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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