It rained. Despite the main discussion point being the weather, everyone at our Concours d’Élégance and at the Shannon’s German Auto Display Day still enjoyed themselves. Fortunately, the prediction of heavy rain by the Bureau of Meteorology was not entirely accurate. We had the first drops at about 10 am and then constant rain, but generally fairly light, from then on. One club member mused that the last rainy Concours, when it rained all day, was in 1988 – 28 years ago – so we have done really well over all those years with fine conditions.
We did not have the record attendance we had last year, but nevertheless an impressive 51 Mercedes-Benz cars were at the Concours. The vast majority were in the Display Division and it was both an eclectic and striking collection of the marque. We had cars ranging from models manufactured in the 1930s right through to two brand new cars brought in by Mercedes-Benz Canberra – a C-Class coupé and an E-Class sedan, both very new to the market.
Cars came from as far away as Queensland, Victoria and distant parts of NSW, as well as of course, from our own part of Australia. We would have liked to have had more cars in the competitive divisions of the Concours – Club and Road – and this is something we will work on for next year’s event.
We had the pleasure of the company of the new German Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Dr Anna Prinz. The Ambassador was collected from her residence by Ken Edwards, our very own honorary Cultural Attaché, with his beautiful 1964 W111 220SE cabriolet – with the roof up because of the rain. She arrived just in time for the award ceremony and presented the trophies to the winners.
The winners were:
Club Division Class A cabriolet gold award: Simon Strauss with his 1962 W121 190SL Class A saloon gold award: Sonia Goodwin with her 1965 W111 230S Class A saloon silver award: Richard Jackson with his 1965 W111 220S Class B: Terry Ward with his 1991 W124 300CE-24 Class C: Terry Ward with his 1998 W202 C43 AMG Class E: Tony von Brandenstein with his 2012 C207 E250 coupé
Road Division Roadster: Jacqui Thorpe with her 1978 R107 450SL Coupé: Wolfang Minge with his 1976 R107 280SLC
The overall Concours winner was Terry Ward with his sublime 1998 W202 C43 AMG.
The President’s trophy was awarded to Mark Nuessler with his 1988 560SEL 6.9
The winner of the Life Member’s Encouragement Award was Danny Martin with his 1972 W108 280SE 3.5.
Both of these cars had been entered into the noncompetitive Display Division.
Congratulations to all winners who dedicated many unsociable hours with polishing rags and other paraphernalia in getting their cars to a winning standard.
We were able to have the judging finalised much earlier than in the past due to a revision in the judging sheets that made them much easier to use. The judges were for the most part new and were often professionals in their own fields, eg paint, interiors.
Our Chief Judge, Alexander von Brandenstein, was able to determine the winner in each category before midday. This made it possible for the award ceremony to be concluded before lunch – a world record for our club. With this, we surprised the other car clubs at the German Auto Display Day, as not only were we ahead of their game, but they were accustomed in previous years to the Mercedes-Benz club being the last cab off the rank with award ceremonies. As well as his Mercedes-Benz club Chief Judge responsibilities, Alexander was busy winning the VW club’s Best Air-cooled Volkswagen 2016 award with his 1971 VW Type 3 fastback.
After the awards were presented, we invited Ambassador Prinz, Jutta Held of the German Embassy, two representatives from each of the German car clubs and a number of our club members to a delicious lunch in a gazebo generously loaned by our club member Larry Foley.
A special guest of honour was the well-known racing car driver and team owner, Jim Richards, with whom we all enjoyed chatting. Jim had brought his semi-trailer (which he drives himself) with two racing cars, one a BMW and the other a Porsche. BMW was the featured marque at this year’s German Auto Display Day, commemorating the centenary of BMW and the 50th anniversary of the first of the 2002 series.
I would especially like to thank everyone who helped in a volunteer capacity with the Concours, those who assisted before and during the event and also the judges. Without your help we would not have been able to hold the Concours in the successful and amicable way it occurred.
Tony von Brandenstein
Concours Director and Vice-President