Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mercedes Benz Classic Center

Upon arriving to Stuttgart on the day we moved to Germany, we had to wait a while at the airport so we visited the tourist-information center. They gave us about 30 brochures and information packets about what to see both in the city as well as in the surrounding Baden-W├╝rttemberg area. One brochure in particular was about all the car-related places to go, which I've been picking off one by one.

Our first visit was at Meilenwerk and then I went to Gottlieb Daimler Memorial. All together, there are about 15 places listed in the guidebook. I'm not planning on going to everything but I thought that I'd stop by and check out the Mercedes Classic Center, which the book lists as having the "legendary" 300 SL Gullwing, among other classics, on display.

The Classic Center is located a little bit east of the center of the city just past the Gottlieb Daimler Memorial. Interestingly enough, I found out that they have another Classic Center in Irvine, California, right near where I used to live in Oceanside (San Diego). Small world!

What interested me about visiting the Classic Center was that they have a showroom of "classic" Mercedes as well as a service center for the "classics" (or so they say in the brochure). I really wanted to see what the hype was about for the 300 SL Gullwing and I thought that it'd be cool to see them working on some old cars.

But, wait! There's no 300 SL on display! Where did it go? It wasn't there and no one was around to ask. The place was EMPTY of people! Oh well, scratch that item off the to-do list. They do have a bunch of cool old cars on display including this 1957 300 SL Roadster that had originally been sold in Portugal but later moved to Colorado in the United States. The car even still has its registration sticker from Colorado in corner of the windshield:

The other car, besides the 300 SL Gullwing, that I wanted to see was the 1886 Benz Patent Motor Car, which is considered (by Mercedes, at least) as the first motor car in the world. The one on display at the Classic Center is a replica that is actually for sale. They make them right down to every little detail and sell them for about 66,000 euros (~$88,000 U.S.) so if you've got a little cash hanging around waiting to be spent, this might make a nice Christmas gift...

The Patent car was beautiful, especially the single-cylinder motor that's under/behind the seat. I loved the leather belts and large flywheel:

Honestly, it was a bummer not getting to see the Gullwing but all was not lost because, apparently, Mercedes has gotten into manufacturing replicas of other antiques. Hidden among the golf shirts, photo books, and other merch for sale was this gem. Yep, a Star Wars Light Saber, complete with power source, for the low price of 22 euros (~$30 U.S.). Score!

I didn't end up buying one because this was the Rebel color and I wanted an Empire one. I'll probably check amazon to see if they have it. They'll probably be cheaper anyway.

Oh, and guess what! The service center is not viewable by the public! Rip-off! No 300 SL Gullwing and no way to view the repair area...unless you walk around back and look in the bay windows:

Did you notice that old convertible? Way cool!

Score one for Mercedes selling light sabers. Subtract one point for no 300 SL Gullwing on display. Add another point for the Benz Patent Motorcar being on display. And, subtract one last point for not being able to see the repair area. Let me see. Yep, zero points for this museum. At least it was free!

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