Legends of the Autobahn 2012

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Legends of the Autobahn
Increased stature for 2012

What began a few years ago as a low key gathering for Mercedes, Porsche and BMW club members has blossomed into a destination event and a welcome counterpoint to the Monterey week’s unspoken atmosphere of moneyed excess. With the addition of Audi owners for 2012, Legends allows us to wander through decades of Germany’s milestone automobile production with a heavy emphasis on sports and touring cars.

Participation and inclusion were the themes and there weren’t many outside spectators: You drove onto the gorgeous lawns of the Rancho Canada Golf Club in Carmel Valley either as a judged/non-judged concours entry or a member of the corral. Walking the rolling lawns revealed a few acres of cool German automobiles, among which my cool two-tone 1972 250C was one of the most understated. If you took the time to chat with the owners lingering by their cars, you undoubtedly heard their personal car story.

After a more extensive inspection and short discussion, I owned this single family owned 1967 230SL with 67k miles, handbooks, tools and the original sales invoice.


This trio of 107 SLs awaits judging in the concours area. The weather was absolutely glorious from 7:15 am forward, a rarity in beautiful Monterey


A few of Mercedes-Benz’ finest roll onto Rancho Canada’s lawns early Friday, August 17th.

Savoring the cars

I arrived very early to enjoy the early morning crispness and have a good look around. The plan was to enjoy the show until noon then head over the Laureles Grade to Laguna Seca (aka Mazda Raceway) and join my brothers for some vintage racing action.

I saw Bill Brooks with his lovely tobacco brown 280SE low grille cabriolet, Wally and Patty Buch aboard their 300SL roadster, Allen Stephens from the Oregon MBCA Club, youngtimer advocate Andy Chan and met a number of new MB enthusiasts.

The outstanding German restoration and modification firm, Mechatronik, is pushing into the North American market and I enjoyed speaking with their US representative, Steffen Grimm, about their over the top 111 coupe with upgraded AMG V8 drivetrain. Mechatronik’s clever fabrication defies description.


My personal favorite at this year’s Legends? It’s undoubtedly the sublime and massively expensive ($400k+) Mechatronik 280SE coupe AMG 55. The fabrication throughout is just fascinating and the cosmetics dazzling.

Unexpected acquisition

A final walk through the corral cars paid off when I happened upon an attractive 230SL, the last car in the corral and well down the hill. After a cursory inspection, I quipped to the fellow standing near it, “nice car, is it for sale?” Well, as a matter of fact, it was and that fellow was the son of the original owner.

The son was a lovely guy who lived nearby in Carmel Valley. After a more extensive inspection and short discussion, I owned this single family owned 1967 230SL with 67k miles, handbooks, tools and the original sales invoice. With mostly original paint, faultless structure and gorgeous largely original interior, this late 230SL was a brilliant and lucky find.

I can say Legends this year was the most satisfying event of the week. It met my interests on all levels – great cars to view, glorious weather, friends to see, cars to buy and a welcome lack of pretension. I’d encourage any MB enthusiast within reasonable driving distance from the epic Monterey Peninsula to bring your car to the show next year. It will undoubtedly be larger and even more entertaining.


What better way to end my Legends visit than to buy a car! I came across this extraordinary single owner survivor 230SL on my way out of the show. After a quick inspection and a short discussion, the 568 Red Pagoda was mine. It’s a 4 spd car with massive documentation and largely original paint.

roy spencer/editor mercedesheritage

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  • Our cheeky, survivor two-tone 250C was your author's transportation for the Monterey week.
  • A 190SL falls under the critical eye of super judge, Pete Lessler (clipboard in hand), during the judging phase of the show.
  • Under the hood of Mechatronik's fabulous 3.5 coupe: modern AMG 55 drivetrain!
  • Young Classics were fairly well represented this year. Andy Chan massages his spotless low mileage 230 sedan.
  • Patty and Wally Buch ease their 300SL roadster onto the lawn.
  • Bill Brooks' rare 280SE cabriolet radiates elegance in the early morning sun.
  • Legends provides something for every German car enthusiast and next year's event will certainly grow in stature.
  • Finished in Anthracite/Red, Jurgen Klockemann's fully restored 280SL was certainly a highlight of the Mercedes group.

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