Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It is that time of year again! For MBCA To Announce Its Largest National Event, StarFest®

It is that time of year again!  For MBCA to announce its Largest National Event, StarFest®

The Mercedes-Benz Club or America holds the largest gathering of Mercedes-Benz Enthusiasts on the even years, so for 2012, StarFest® will be...….

Drum Roll Please……..

For 2012 StarFest® will be held at the “Jewel of the Desert” The Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix Arizona September 28 to October 3!

The Biltmore with its 39 acres of lush gardens will be the host for all StarFest® activities including the StarFest® 2012 Mercedes-Benz Concours which will be held on the hotel's Squaw Peak Lawn and the Cottage Court. This is sure to make for one of the most striking and beautiful Concours venues in the history of MBCA.

This world-class venue will be an exciting place for members and their families. On the Biltmore’s grounds are seven tennis courts, gardens and eight swimming pools and a full-service resort spa, salon and fitness center, adjacent are two 18 hole PGA golf courses. The Arizona Biltmore is not only a great place to stay; it is a destination all its own! Bring the kids, grandkids, bring the entire family, and with the Biltmore’s discounted StarFest® hotel rates, you have no reason not to enjoy this kind of resort!

StarFest® 2012 will feature an expanded two-day Mercedes-Benz Concours d’Elegance. Saturday will feature the judging and then Sunday, the vehicles will be on display for the public to view, along with celebrity guests and media interviews. The StarFest® weekend will also feature a series of seminars and exhibits on automotive restoration, presentation, and preservation.

Firebird International Raceway will be the site for the StarFest® Track events. Accelerations runs will be run on the same 1/4 mile drag-strip used for NHRA events complete with Christmas Tree Starter Lights and Electronic Timing Scoreboard. Just like the NHRA rails and funny cars! Time Trials will be on Firebird's 1.6 mile main track. So lots of fun for both drivers and spectators!

Mark your calendars NOW for September 28 to October 3 2012, and start planning to attend StarFest® 2012!  Keep an eye on www.starfest.com for updates and more information.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It All Starts With Membership.

Joining an organization is something you do if you; One, believe in the group’s mission, or Two, share in the group's passion. Joining an auto enthusiast club like the Mercedes-Benz Club of America (MBCA) is done because of the passion members share because of their automobiles, or in many cases with events that the club holds which members enjoy participating in.
A new member joins the club, right then and there!

Once joined, the key is to keep members engaged so they stay as club members.  MBCA members join for a number of reasons, one is the award winning STAR Magazine, published bi-monthly, and the other are the events the club holds, be they  local Section, Regional or National events.  Retention of members is an important part of growing MBCA.  Like any business you want to keep your customers. It is easier to retain a member, than to go out and find a new member.

The MBCA National Business Office has put together an incentive program to get the section leadership to encourage members of that section to renew.  The “Hang on to Homer!” Contest was announced last week and will run from August 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012.  This is a unique opportunity for Section Officers; Presidents, V-P’s, Secretaries, Treasurers and Membership Chairs to be active in retaining members and grow the section.

SL's on the Field at the Amelia Concours d'Elegance in 2011.
In February 2011 the NBO will award the five sections with the highest percentage of membership renewal, the grand prize of a trip for two to Pebble Beach California, August 16-20, 2012.  Just in time for the world famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance  http://www.pebblebeachconcours.net/ on Sunday August 19.  This is an all expense paid trip with an approximate value of $3500, including round trip airfare for two, four nights lodging, car rental, and VIP tickets with parking at the Concours. Ten sections will win a Hilton Hotel & Resort gift card worth $150, and 25 sections will win an MBCA Directors Chair.

A friendly smile is a welcome remembered!
What does your Section have to do to win?  Contact your section members who are due for renewal from August first of this year until January 31st 2012 and encourage them to renew their MBCA membership.  A friendly phone call, a note, or just talk with them at an event!  Something that will let them know that you are thinking of them, and hope they renew their MBCA membership so they can continue to benefit from all that MBCA membership has to offer.

What can I do to get members to renew?  Be creative and reach out to all your section members who have a renewal date coming up, make a list of those members, send them a post card with a special note, also call them and encourage them to renew.  You may want to include a note on their copy of the section newsletter, thanking them and reminding them to renew!  You will be surprised what a simple “Just wanted to let you know we are thinking of you” will do!

Happy members renew their membership in MBCA!
So if my section wins, who gets the prize?  The winning sections will choose from the Section Officer, Membership Chair, who did the most to encourage the members to renew, and they will award the prize.  So share with your fellow officers all that you have are doing to encourge your section members to renew their MBCA membership. 

And once you found out how easy it is to encourage members to renew, your section will be doing this all throughout the year with all of its members.Members enjoy the attention.So make some calls today!
By your showing that you want them to renew their membership, this will encourage them to do just that! You welcomed them into the club, now encourage them to stay and enjoy all the benefits of MBCA membership for years to come.

For more information on membership in the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, see www.mbca.org  To join the club, http://www.mbca.org/join-today

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Electric Car; Not So New An Idea, It Is The New Technology That Is Amazing!

2011 Chevrolet Volt
“Why am I looking at a CHEVY?” a comment with a lot of attitude, if not disgust, was what I heard from an attendee of a recent Cars and Coffee when I brought the 2011 Chevrolet VOLT out to the Great Falls Virginia gathering. He was shocked to find a mere mortal Chevrolet in this prestigious gathering of rare and expensive automobiles. When I shared with him that it was an Electric Car, he looked at me quizzically as if I had two heads, and just walked off in the direction of a collection of Aston Martins and Porsche 356’s.

At this Saturday morning public car show a number of people came up and shared with me their opinions on the Electric Vehicle Technology. Being an early adopter of the Segway® Human Transporter technology, a battery powered electrically propelled platform that transports a single human being, with a range of 20 miles at up to 12.5 mph. I knew that there are plenty of haters of electric transportation technology out there. Though I still found it interesting that the haters seem to feel compelled to share with you, in no uncertain terms, their feelings on why these vehicles should not exist!

A fine display of automobiles at
Great Falls VA Cars and Coffee.
From a couple of very proper Brits who expressed with a British accent, that “This vehicle will not be around in forty years” then turned and gushed over a 1950’s MG, saying, “Now there is an automobile.” To the six foot eight, two ninety, plus pound salesman of the electric smart Four Two who deplored the lack of space in the VOLT, saying that the back seat was just not big enough for him. My only thoughts were, one hundred years ago cars were commonly powered by electricity and buddy, can you even fit in a smart?

But the haters are far outweighed by the lovers of EV technology. People, young and old found the VOLT to be quite impressive, asking about the technology, sharing their knowledge of it, often somewhat misguided, but still very much appreciating the way this “New GM Vehicle” was built. Commenting on the high quality of the fit and finish, and that the VOLT felt like a $40K plus sports sedan, not an American ecnonobox, as they expected from an old line American auto manufacturer.

Studebaker Electric from the early 1900's.
Driving an Electric Vehicle is not something new; plenty of early automobiles were all electric. Back in the days when cars shared the road with horses, the noisy and smelly gasoline engine cars were far out numbered by electric vehicles, which were thought to be superior, especially for urban settings. So much so that in the beginning of the 20th century Studebaker fought to keep its vehicles with an electric power train, but in the end had to go with gasoline engines as the competition was not producing electric vehicles, thus the market was developing for fossil fuel powered vehicles.

Chevrolet Volt engine compartment.
Looking at and driving the VOLT, one would not realize this is an electric car. Though in the past driving an all electric vehicle means you always had to watch your remaining battery charge, to make sure you will end up at your destination! One with a place to plug in and recharge the batteries so you could return home. That is not the case with the VOLT. Plug it in, drive it until you run out of battery charge; it seamlessly changes over to producing its own electricity, until you have the chance to plug it in to recharge the Volt’s batteries, so that you can run with out the generator.

Cutaway of the Voltec powertrain.
First and foremost the VOLT is powered by electricity, with the Voltech® power train, a marriage of an electric motor, a transmission, batteries to power them, and a computer to control them. The big difference between a VOLT and the familiar hybrid vehicle is that this is an all-electric vehicle that travels with its own recharging unit built in, an onboard 1.4 liter four cylinder gasoline engine with a gas tank, refillable at any normal gas station. The gasoline fueled engine powers a generator that then makes electricity. The electricity is either sent to the drive motor, or to charge the batteries. The engine does not drive the vehicle’s power train, which is how the current hybrid models are configured.

A Chevrolet Equinox running a
GM Fuel Cell powertrain.
Driving the VOLT was much like driving any European sports sedan, the handling, the steering the seat feel gave the driver an excellent feel of the road, just as you would have with any European sports sedan. Road manners of the VOLT are top notch. Acceleration and lane changing on the highway was flawless as was the around town stop and go driving ability. Responsiveness was quick and smooth, though more muted than I had felt driving a Tesla Roadster or GM’s Hydrogen Powered Chevrolet Equinox.

Aerodynamic comparison of the
 2011 Chevrolet Volt with a
 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16
The major downfall that this car has, are the sight lines and numerous blind spots, which could all be eliminated with the use of back up camera’s, and front and side detection technology. The cause is the Volt’s aerodynamic design; long “A” pillars that hide a lot of what is ahead and to the right and left sides of the vehicle. The “C” pillar and rear doors require you to turn your head, which is something you should do anyway, so that you do not pull into someone else’s lane. The high rear end and the rounded front corners do not offer a sight line so that you know where the corners of the VOLT really are.

The Volt's passenger compartment
provides plenty of space and comfort

Driving this car brings home that the old way of driving, of knowing the dimensions of your vehicle, setting your side mirrors to a more outboard setting, and just being aware of your surroundings does help, but the addition of the modern technology would make it a better and safer vehicle.

Rear bucket seats astride the center
"hump"where the battery is stored

Air compressor and charger storage
under trunk area.
Interior Comfort is excellent, the VOLT I drove was equipped with heated leather seats, though not electrically adjustable, they were comfortable for both short and long term drives. Due to the “T” shaped battery pack that runs through the center of the car, the rear has bucket seats, which fold down making the hatch area roomy enough to hold plenty of cargo. Even with the rear seats in the upright position there is plenty of space for luggage and packages. Under the rear is a small storage area that keeps the 110v plug in power cord, a heavy gauge yellow wire and EV power adapter, as well as the now common, electric powered air compressor/tire pump, that you find as a standard on most new cars as a weight saving replacement for the spare tire.

Speaking of weight saving, you also find that this car has no optional sunroof, which would also take away on the interior space. The interior is roomy enough for most people, with interior roof height and passenger width spacious enough for the modern American body type.

Volt's center console touch screen
and  touch pads.
Interior technology takes a bit getting use to! Instead of gauges, switches, buttons and dials, pretty much everything is a touch screen or a touch panel. Basic vehicle controls are where you would expect them, stalks for lights, turn signals and wipers, steering wheel controls for cruise control, using a Bluetooth® equipped phone, as well as mute and radio controls. The center console houses numerous touch controls for everything, which big hands can inadvertently cause another switch to be activated. You will find finger activated mechanical pull and push switches to turn the vehicle on and for power levels for the drive train, as well as the electrically powered emergency brake, and in a location that a passenger familiar to classic European cars might mistake it for a power window switch.

For driving you have a normal drive mode, a sport mode, which gives the VOLT a little more umph, and a mountain mode, which when activated, you feel the gasoline powered generator go into heavy duty electricity production to charge the battery so that you have extra power for driving up steep mountain grades.

The center mounted gear shift, feels very clunky, not smooth like the rest of the car, with Park, Reverse, Neutral and two Drive modes, D and L. Very familiar to anyone driving an automatic transmission car. The only difference is that the L position is like Drive, but gives the car more sensitivity to regenerative battery charging activities when you take your foot of the accelerator pedal.
Power usage and production can be
viewed on the touch screen.

Overall styling; this is not the space craft design of the 1990’s GM’s EV1 that was offered by the Saturn division, nor is it the bullet shape of the early Honda hybrids either. In all fairness, it looks like every other car on the road today with a classic Chevrolet grill displaying the familiar bow tie logo (the grill is not open to the engine compartment, like in a regular car, as there is no need for a large airflow to cool the engine.) The swooping sides, roofline and upright rear could be mistaken for a current model Acura. Door clunk on closure gives the car a feel of solidity, something that American cars have lacked. Tires are standard issue low rolling resistance Goodyear radials, just like the tires on any new car today, not run flats.

Volt comes with a 110v plug in charger.
 My overall impression of this vehicle was very good. I would buy this vehicle! Especially if I had less than a 40 mile one way commute and an EV charging station at my destination. With more manufactures’ producing these vehicles, EV charging stations are now becoming more and more common as more communities are supporting the infrastructure for EV technology.

You will still be able to stop at your local gas station
when driving a Chevrolet Volt. The gas fuels the
onboard electric generator.
The value is there for this vehicle, and with the current high resale values of Hybrids, the VOLT will no doubt retain its value when it comes into the resale market in the coming years. Purchasing it entitles you to a $7500 tax credit making EV ownership more attractive, though you have to have at least $7500 in federal taxes to be able to deduct this credit in the year you purchase the vehicle. In the current cost cutting political climate it is doubtful that we will see that tax credit turn into a tax rebate upon purchase.

EV technology will only continue to improve in the future, GM has done an excellent job in producing the VOLT, and I look forward to seeing what GM has next in the EV Technology pipeline. So for the haters out there: Get used to it; you are going to see this technology developing a whole new automotive enthusiast community!
GM Futureliner from the 1940's Autorama traveling technology shows put on by GM.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Concours d’Elegance of America at St. Johns, Plymouth Michigan on Sunday July 31 2011

Mercedes-Benz SLR on display at Amelia Island Concours
I am pleased to report that The Mercedes-Benz Club of America (MBCA) will be a major player in this nationally recognized Concours d'Elegance this year with the participation of the MBCA | International Stars Section in the Concours d'Elegance of America at St. Johns. Formally known as the Meadowbrook Concours d’Elegance, this world-class competition will be a display of significant and rare cars of the highest quality of design craftsmanship and style, not just Mercedes-Benz vehicles, but all kinds of interesting ones.

MBCA, in celebration of Mercedes-Benz's 125 anniversary of the automobile, will be holding events in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS), major sponsors of Concours of America, on Friday and Saturday leading up to the Sunday display, with social events as well as a Defensive Driving School for registered attendees. The National Board of Directors of The Mercedes-Benz Club of America has voted for this to be a special MBCA National Event for 2011, and will be on hand to support the International Stars Section throughout this event.

Mercedes-Benz R320 at an MBCA Defensive Driving School
Saturday July 30th the International Stars Section will be hosting a Defensive Driving and Autocross at the Compuware Sports Arena parking lot in Plymouth, MI, just down the road from the Inn at St. John, where the Concours will be held on Sunday. For those who are interested in taking the school, the cost is $30 if purchased by July 22, or $40 day of the event (cash only.) Admission includes lunch; the school begins at 8 am sharp. Depending on attendance, two full courses may be run, loaner helmets will be available.

Sunday July 31st For those who are interested in participating in a special Mercedes-Benz Concours on Sunday,, Mercedes-Benz’s will be selected from the advanced entries and will be placed in a special (MBFS) branded viewing area. This display will be in addition to those vehicles on display at the Concours of America.

Classic Mercedes-Benz's on display at June Jamboree

For those not showing a car, Mercedes-Benz vehicles will be able to park on the St. John’s Inn golf course in a special (MBFS) employee parking area adjacent to the Concours d’Elegance show field. You need to sign up in advance to get a pass to be allowed to park in the (MBFS) general parking area. Damaged M-B vehicles and non M-B vehicles will be directed to park in the general admission parking lots.

MBCA will have a tent on the Concours of America show field across from the Concours d’Elegance grouping of 125 years of Mercedes-Benz. As ambassadors for MBCA (this means we need your help to join us in the tent to promote the club) we will be using the tent as our base of operation and hospitality area.

For More Information on the MBCA Activities


MBCA Defensive Driving and Concours Registration Form


Concours of America Information:


General Admission - $25 - Ticket includes free off-site parking and shuttle, admission to Concours, and 2011 Souvenir Program Book. Children 12 and under are free.

VIP Ticket - $125 - Ticket includes premium onsite parking, admission to Concours, 2011 Poster, 2011 Souvenir Program Book, VIP Viewing Tent, and VIP lunch.

MBCA Hotel Information

Towne Place Suites by Marriott, Detroit – Livonia
17450 Fox Drive • Livonia, Michigan 48152 USA
734.542.7400 (direct to the hotel) or 800-257-3000 (Marriott Reservations) identify yourself with the code: MBC - Mercedes Benz Club

We have the direct registration information from the Marriott Towne Place Hotel for you.


Studio $69 / night

Two bedroom suite $119

Each room has a kitchenette. Continental Breakfast is served daily. There is an outdoor pool. (The rates do not include applicable taxes.)

Reservations for the rooms above must be made no later than Friday, July 15, 2011 to receive the group rate. Reservations after this date are subject to availability. Confirmed reservations cancellation is by 6PM of the day of arrival to avoid one night's room and tax fee. A major credit card is required at check in.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Black-on-Black 2011 Mercedes-Benz C 300 Sport

C300 at Barber Motorsports Park.  Photo by Kathie Steele
Recently I had the opportunity to attend MBCA | Alabama Section’s Heimatfest 2011, held at Barber Motorsport Park outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Because this was an MBCA event where the cars were as much a part of the event as were the members, I picked up a new 2011 C Class sedan from my local Mercedes-Benz dealer’s Enterprise rental fleet to drive to the event.

This was your basic, no-frills service loaner, and it provided me with a chance to experience the W204 RWD first hand. The size of the vehicle is excellent for everyday driving, with an excellent turning radius and very good handling, especially in sport mode, where the transmission tends to be a little more spirited, as opposed to the fuel saving economy mode.
C300 Engine compartment.  Photo by William Hopper
However, my first impression was that for a base model, the 3 liter engine and seven speed automatic transmission is very powerful for daily driving as well as highway situations. After taking it on a parade lap at the Barber Motorsports Park Track, it made me yearn to try out the 350 or AMG 63 version, as this one was a bit out of breath when I stomped on the accelerator. Because I was on a budget, the fuel sipping virtues of the 300’s engine were perfect with MPG’s in mid-to upper-20’s in town and low 30’s on the highway, cruising at posted highway speeds, using $4 a gallon premium gasoline.
The black-on-black in the sport trim gave the vehicle a classic, though athletic look. The durable M-B Tex was impressive. The dash and door panels had faux wood trim, making it feel a bit more upscale than a previous C300 I had driven with brushed aluminum trim. Although not equipped with navigation, satellite radio or MBrace®, the standard audio system had weather band, a classic Mercedes-Benz touch, very helpful when traveling to follow weather conditions along the way. The unit was Bluetooth® equipped and easily connected to my mobile phone, making it safe to talk hands free.

The W204 C Class interior is roomy for driver and passenger, but leg room for rear passengers can get tight if either are on the tall side or like the seat back. This model had basic power seat functions, and the console/armrest had plenty of storage inside. The two level glove box was roomy with plenty of storage space, and featured an air vent to keep it cool. The dual front to back cup holders also worked well to hold more than just a water bottle, like an iPod or other electronics. The W204’s trunk is quite roomy and there was no stuffing in suitcases or the other various items I was carrying for my 10-day trip. I was also impressed with the use of space within the engine compartment, and could see that this model was designed to accommodate more than just the base engine.

C300 at GWS Autocross.  Photo by Harry Newman
To test its handling and sportiness, I attended our section’s autocross. The electronics caused the car to correct itself during maneuvers around pylons, cutting power, keeping the operator out of trouble, just as it should if it were in a real-world situation. Once the program was defeated through the steering wheel controls, the car maneuvered excellently with only a hint of the advanced electronics. On the road, I took it on the legendary Tail of the Dragon in the Smokey Mountains. An eleven-mile road with three hundred and eighteen curves from Tennessee into North Carolina. This twisty road traverses up and down hills deep in a heavily wooded National Forest. A road that you do not want to speed along, but quite that fun to drive in the right car. The C300 was sprightly and handled well on the tight hairpin turns, the right car for this kind of drive!

Leaving the mountain roads and heading back to the Interstate, while driving through a small town, the local constable saw me and quickly turned around and tailed me until I reached the town limits. A black-on-black Mercedes-Benz, even one that is a stripped down rental car, turns heads!  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Four Young Guys Spend The Summer Playing With Cars In The State Of North Carolina

Sounds like something you would have done in your 20’s?  Then check out Final Gear NC (FinalGearNC) on YouTube this summer for some amazing videos of this quartet of young guns having fun with their cars in and around the State of North Carolina.   Videographer Rex Yau is documenting the automotive antics of his three friends as they play with cars this summer.

Using iconic vehicles from the 1980’s, a Mercedes-Benz SEC, a Ford Mustang and a Toyota MR2 , the three drivers, each with distinctive personalities, driving and competing in various events and venues in and around the state of North Carolina.  A state with quite an automotive racing heritage, though as you will find, not all things on four wheels in NC are NASCAR!

Modeled after BBC’s top rated show Top Gear, this has a definite American flavor, and a style that is all its own!  I think you will enjoy it!  

Follow their videos on YouTube:   http://www.youtube.com/user/FinalGearNC

Follow them on facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Final-Gear/114497495295828?sk=wall&filter=2

Follow them on Twitter:   @FinalGearNC

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Heimatfest 2011

There was so much about MBCA \ Alabama Section's Heimatfest to share, not quite sure where to start.

First of all the Barber Motorsports Park and Museum is a magnificent place, be sure to make a note to visit it if you are anywhere near Birmingham Alabama.  The facility is pristine and maintained to top standards that even a non automotive or motorcycle enthusiast would appreciate.  The park with its 2.38 mile long road track is a delight to drive, and the Barber Museum is a wonderful facility packed to the brim with artifacts of the motorsports world.

Friday was the first day and it was a great opportunity to spend time in the paddock and visit with the Legends of Motorsports race teams.  The group got an opportunity to have a one-on-one tour and visit a number of the different crews working on the cars as they were in under the tents for mechanical adjustments between practice races.  For those of us who do not have the background knowledge of vintage racing this was a great primer on these historic vehicles.  They are not just race cars, but handmade works of art that are passed from one to another to preserve them for the future.

Having the chance to tour the mechanical shop areas and watch the practice laps got everyone interested in going out for the first of three parade laps that were held throughout the event.  Attendees lined up and drove about ten times around the track getting the chance to see the racers line and understand where the apexes were.   The lead follow was a great exercises, though for some of us who had driven tracks before it got a bit frustrating as the driver in front was not as experienced on the line as others were.  Here is a YouTube video of the first day's parade lap following Matt Johnson in his S2000  http://youtu.be/CMPCT3gEh6I

Later on that evening what has become a ritual for this event was the road rally to Mountain Brook Village.  Three groups of vehicles went out with full Police escort to drive to this quaint upscale village. YouTube video of the drive, complete with Police motorcyles and roads blocked off.  http://youtu.be/zCcYW58L_BY

For members of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America we had reservations for dinner on the balcony over looking the town green at Avo.  This provided members a tree top view of the cars on display and the perfect place to watch the arrival and departure of the caravans of show and race cars.  The towns was decked out and prepared to celebrate the event in style, closing down the town green for this special event.  Kids joined seniors in discussion of the different cars.  One of the MBCA members was kind enough to allow several young guys an opportunity to sit in his SL550 AMG.  Saying that he remembered being a car crazed kid at their age, and how getting to feel and touch the cars of his dreams led him to be the car enthusiast he is today.

Saturday was an opportunity to meet and greet with other club members, as well as members of other clubs.  Because this was a vintage race, many people brought out their classic and historic cars, like Porsche 914's, which take me back to my teenage years, as well as some pretty impressive high performance Ferrari's and other exotics.  Of course a Lotus or two was always around, as they were well represented in the weekend's races and their club is very active in the Birmingham area.

Another evening, meant another great dinner outing for MBCA members, this time at the Village Tavern at the Summit.  Where MBCA members had reserved parking to display their Mercedes-Benz vehicles together as a group.  So a great line of M-B's made for quite an impressive sight.  This was a great opportunity for the more than 40 diners to visit and share stories from their home sections and find connections with other members on topics from pets, to careers to models of M-B owned.  Special thanks go out to the valet staff at the Tavern for their help in placing the cars.

Sunday dawned, and MBCA members arrived early to prepare their cars for the Concours, a popular vote with four categories with three winners in each category.  The C300 that I had rented from Enterprise Rental at EuroMotorcars Bethesda came in third in the modern sedan category.  Quite an impressive array of Mercedes-Benz's were on display from a classic Adenauer to a CDI ML, from a speedy SLK55 owned by a young Alabama car crazed member to the E and S Class sedans.

Part of the VIP experience was the chance to get to meet Bobby Rahal the founder of Legends of Motorsports and a racing legend himself in person.  Mr. Rahal took the time to stop by the car corral during the afternoon and visit with our members. He talked of his racing career, what membership in the car clubs meant to him, and shared some personal one-on-one time with those in the car corral.  A raffle was held during the event to raise funds for local tornado victims two of the raffle items were, a ride around the track with Mr. Rahal, and a Bobby Rahal signed helmet, that was won by one of our Central Georgia Members.

The reason that this MBCA event is called Heimatfest, is because that translates from German into "Home Festival" since Alabama is the home to the American made Mercedes-Benz, the ML all activity vehicle, the GL sport utility vehicle, the G Class an all around people mover and wagon and soon the new C Class will be made there in the Vance Alabama plant as well starting in the 2014 model year.

And no trip to the MBCA | Alabama Section would be complete without a visit to the plant.  So on Monday morning, the hearty arrived early for a 9am tour of plant one, to see the GL being produced.  Plant two was closed to the public as they are currently building the yet-to-be-released new W166 ML, due out later on this summer.  Along with this visit was also a chance to tour the small Mercedes-Benz museum that is located at the Plant's visitor's and training center.  This was a chance to see some of the history of the marque, not only here in America but throughout the world.

In all Heimatfest 2011 held during the Legends of Motorsports at Barber Motorsports Park was an overwhelming success, members, friends and potential members alike got to join together and share their passion for the Mercedes-Benz brand.

May 2011 MBCA | Alabama Section Board Meeting

I had the pleasure of attending the MBCA | Alabama Board meeting held on Tuesday May 17 at Dale's Southern Grill in Hoover Alabama.

This was a great chance to meet many of the members of the section, and introduce myself to them.

The big topic of discussion was the upcoming Heimatfest event to be held at Barber Motorsports Park the following weekend in conjunction with Bobby Rahal's Legands of Motorsports.   The details of the dinner events, Concours and special tour of the MBUSI plant in Vance Alabama were all discussed.  A presentation from Rena Shanaman President of Legands of Motorsports was made to prepare the members for the event and provide them with last minute details that they would need to have for the event.

It was a great opportunity to socialize and take care of MBCA business.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Alabama Section Hosts HeimatFest May 20 - 23 2011

Join MBCA members in a weekend of Automotive fun topped off with a visit to the MBUSI plant where they make the GL, ML and R Class for a tour of the plant. 

Friday and Saturday will include trips and events at the Barber Motorsports Park as well as group drives, shopping trips and more.  Sunday will feature a multi-marque car show at Barber, and Monday will culminate in a tour of the MBUSI Plant where the new 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML is now being produced.

For more information contact Jim Roberts at jertoothsaver (at) bellsouth (dot) net