No time or money to go on high dollar vintage rallies like the Colorado Grand or California Mille? If so, the “Walleye 1000 Vintage Rally” just might be for you! It’s a two day vintage car tour on the back roads of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The 2nd annual Walleye 1000will be upon us before we know it. This year’s route will take us South-East from the Twin Cities along the Mississippi and into Wisconsin for the evening, then back into Minnesota for our return and finisher’s banquet on Sunday evening.
Open to interesting classic, sports and grand touring cars, foreign and domestic, model year 1993 and older.
Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9, 2013
From the patinated to the pristine, from works in progress to completed projects, blue chip collectibles to vintage fright pigs, all are welcome to participate in the old car hijinx and debauchery that will likely unfold during the 2nd Annual “Walleye 1000 Vintage Rally” on the scenic back roads of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Entry fee is $249 per vehicle (2 person team, driver + co-driver). Overnight accommodations, finisher’s dinner, event T-shirts for all participants and a bunch of other event swag is included, this is a laid back car event on a budget!
Contact Event Organizer: Dave Tobin | (651) 216-1265 | dave ( at ) daveknowscars.com
Visit the website for event info, sign up for email updates and download a Participant Application.
The Collector Car Auctions in Scottsdale this past week were great… and the 70 degree weather was nice too. I must admit, as I got off the plane to ONE degree in Minneapolis I pondered a permanent change in geography and lifestyle.
There were lots of great cars, some huge sale numbers… and some not so huge sale numbers. There was virtually every kind of car imaginable, lots of Mercedes-Benz cars representing over 120 years… from an 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen to a Mercedes McLaren that’s just a few years old. SLs were the star cars… 300SLs appeared at each of the sales I attended, more than one at several of them. Pagoda SLs were very well represented, as they continue their steady price rise. There were a couple of 190SLs and more R107 and R129 ‘just used cars’ than I could count. Classic Mercedes Coupes from the 50s and 60s were present as well and one very imposing 1935 500K Cabriolet A.
I am working on a number of stories related to the auctions… about specific auctions, about specific cars at specific auctions and why things happened as they did.
Each sale really has its own personality. Different crowds are drawn to each auction for different reasons. You have the elephant in the room… Barrett-Jackson, which is what most people think of when they think of the Scottsdale in January, many people don’t even realize there are other auctions going on. The best description of Barrett-Jackson that I can come up with is that it’s basically like the Minnesota State Fair except inside the buildings, there aren’t animals, there are cars. Russo and Steele seems a bit like a WWF Pro Wrestling event, but instead of two big sweaty guys going at it in the ring, there are collector cars of (widely) varying quality rolling through looking for new owners. Gooding and Company and RM Auctions clearly cater to the highest end Robin Leech champagne and caviar set. The quality of cars at these events are as good as any sale in the world. Gooding creates a lively, rather laid back atmosphere, considering the millions of dollars being spent on individual cars in a series of very comfortable tents. RM gets my vote for best venue, the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Arizona Biltmore Hotel and Spa Complex. Their cars are nicely displayed outside among the palm tree lined drives and inside in a ballroom where you would expect a wedding reception instead of a car auction, but this is no normal car auction. In the auction room things are fairly quiet and very orderly.
I attended the Consignment Tour at RM Auctions put on by Sports Car Market Magazine which was interesting. The availability and openness of the RM Auction analysts and Carl Bomstead and Keith Martin from SCM was great. While higher profile in the car hobby than a guy like me, they’re still just car guys… their insights are interesting and you can tell they’re having a lot of fun walking among these wonderful discussing the pros and cons of each or speculating as to why the market is moving this way or that.
Cruising from preview to preview and sale to sale was a blast… I ran into a number of old friends, made some new ones and got to know some friends I already had just that much better. I hope to recount the highlights on the DaveKnowsCars blog over the next few weeks as well as in a number of articles on the SLMarket website. If you’re not familiar with the SL Market Website or the printed SL Market Letter, I encourage you to click the link to that website in the upper right of any page on on the DKC blog. In the meantime… here is a taste of some of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles that caught my eye… there are many more, this is just a sampling!
I’m headed to the airport in a few minutes… bound for Phoenix, AZ and what has become the center of the collector car world each January.
I will be attending 5 auctions… I’m on assignment for the SL Market Letter, so watch for a forthcoming article in that publication regarding the Mercedes-Benz scene in Arizona this January. I hope to pay particularly close attention to a handful of early 70s Mercedes 280SE 3.5 cabriolets that will be crossing the various blocks… in addition to the 300SLs and pagoda SLs.
I’m signed up for the Sports Car Market Insider Auction Tour at RM tomorrow, watch for a full report on that event as well.
My ride is outside honking… must run… I have a feeling there will be a lot of that over the next few days!
12/31/2012 – Breaking News – It’s come to my attention that there is an issue with the new iPhone 5 when trying to pair to Mercedes-Benz Blue tooth equipped vehicles (which means any new Mercedes Benz).
Quite simply, if you perform the automatic ‘upgrade’ from IOS 6.0.1 to the newer IOS 6.0.2, the iPhone 5 that you had previously paired for use in your Mercedes-Benz vehicle will no longer be paired… and worse, CANNOT be paired to your Mercedes-Benz vehicle for easy Bluetooth hands free usage. Bluetooth phone capabilities, GONE, Bluetooth streaming music capabilities… SORRY, that won’t work either.
Once the IOS 6.0.2 upgrade is made to your iPhone 5, the phone cannot be paired to your Mercedes Benz vehicle.
I’ve got to believe that a fix will be made for the situation… whether it will come from Mercedes-Benz or from Apple, I don’t know. I would guess it will be an Apple upgrade or ‘fix’, as the way I understand it the same problem is cropping up in other vehicles from other manufacturers.
So, if you have an iPhone 5 and you want to talk hands free or stream music in your Mercedes-Benz, at least for now… you’ll have to hold off on the 6.0.2 upgrade or downgrade back to IOS 6.0.1 if you’ve already made the change. There is a third option… make the upgrade an go back to holding your phone up to your ear.
I’m sorry for the bad news… You’ve gotta love the accelerated speed of technology and how one compatible device jumps ahead of another.
I will try to provide an update to the situation once I learn more from either Mercedes-Benz or from Apple.
It was a good day for these guys on Thursday! This is a local father and son that I met very early this year on the show room floor here at Sears Imports Mercedes-Benz. Alan (the father) purchased this Palladium Silver E350 while his son, Austin, went with this black C300 4matic Sport (Mercedes-Benz demographic engineers are right again… dad gets an E, son gets a C!).
Austin had been looking at brand new cars recently to replace the car that got him through college… and he almost pulled the trigger on a new Volkswagen Passat with front wheel drive when he figured he could get an almost new, Certified Pre Owned C300 4matic all wheel drive car for about the same money.
He wanted a 2012, he wanted a lot of options… the stars aligned and this black car happened to come in to Sears Imports as a one owner lease return. It’s a P1 Package car with Keyless Go and the Multi media package. Austin is one guy who will actually use all the features and options in that Multi Media Package. Congratulations Austin, you weighed your options and made an informed decision. I would imagine this young man has a very bright future indeed!
Alan, Austin’s father, had been watching lightly pre owned E350 4matic inventories for months. A car came in a few months ago that checked every box on his wish list… but he couldn’t live with the interior color. Another potential contender showed up not too much later, but he was set on a silver car (Iridium, Palladium, maybe Steel Grey) so the search continued. He was looking for a highly optioned Certified Pre Owned E class with low miles with a clean history, plenty of warranty left at a fair price. What just about everybody wants, right? If I could have called the ‘Used Car Factory” I would have.
In the end Alan had the patience and diligence to find the right car. He knew it was what he wanted, and he was able to take advantage of aggressive 1.99% APR interest rates for up to 66 months on the purchase. His car is equipped with the P2 Package (Premium 2 Package), the wheel Package which give him those great looking AMG wheels, PARKTRONIC, and a Panorama sunroof among other options.
Alan’s wife Sherri and daughter Ariel (Austin’s mother and sister of course) came down with them to pick up the cars, it was a real family adventure, just in time for the holidays. Thank you gentlemen, it’s been great getting to know you, I hope the whole family enjoys the cars… and I hope we can do it again some time.
Despite cold temperatures and heavy fog and cloud cover a couple of hundred German cars showed up for the Oktoberfest German Car Show at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen. Porsche and Mercedes-Benz were the marques with the most cars on display. Many members of the Mercedes Benz Club of America Twin Cities Section were in attendance. There were a couple of nice BMWs, including two 1980s vintage 6 series cars. Volkswagen fans turned out with a handful of beetles an early ’70s Westfalia camper and a handful of other models including a couple of square backs, I even saw a late 70s / early 80s Scirocco! Many Porsche 911s from all years were in attendance, along with a 944, 928 and 914 sprinkled around. Mercedes-Benz cars were very well represented. Click this LINK for 100 photos of the Oktoberfest show on my Dave Knows Cars Flickr page.
Quite a few members of “The Pagoda Pack” were in attendance with the W113 ‘Pagoda’ SLs, including “Pagoda Pack’ ring leader Ken Garelick. Club members were in attendance with a 190SL, a W111 chassis 280SE sedan, several R107 SLs a an R129 SL, a couple of R230s, David Steingas was there with his always pretty 1951 220S Cabriolet. Two of the rarest Mercedes in attendance were the 600 Limousine and the 1955 300SL Gullwing. It was a real treat to see both of those cars as they don’t make appearances very often. Sears Imports Mercedes-Benz was one of the event sponsors and sponsored the 35 piece German Band, ‘The Bavarian Muzikmeisters’ to give the event just the right true German flavor. The Chanhassen American Legion made brats and kraut available along with some real German beer.
The Mercedes-Benz Club board is talking about bringing back their annual show, held in June for the past 17 years in a row, except this year… hopefully the club can pull together a German Car Fest during the warmer Summer months as in years past to get German car fans out in greater numbers.
A big thanks needs to go to Bruno Silikowski at the Auto Motor Plex in Chanhassen for hosting the event, to Sears Imports Mercedes-Benz and BMW of Minnetonka for sponsoring the event and all the volunteers from the different German car clubs that helped out with the organization and parking cars.
Currently, Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with iPod Integration Kits (option code 057) and the media interface in newer Mercedes-BEnz vehicles (option code 518) use the iPod / iPhone 30-Pin connector that Apple has been using for years now.
With the release of the new iPhone 5 it’s clear that a new charger / adapter plug will have to be installed in existing Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The Press Release below from Mercedes-Benz spells out the current plans for a solution to Apple’s change in plug size from the 30 pin connector to the new 8 pin ‘Lighting’ connector.
It seems like folks with newer cars, 2010 and newer for most models, with the media interface cables that plug in inside the glove box will have the easiest solution. Once Mercedes-Benz releases the new cables, they will be able to buy these new cables, unplug the old ones and plug in new 8 pin Lighting connectors.
Those customers who have the older, 2008 and 2009 models in most cases, or older cars that were retrofitted with iPod Kits that are hard wired right into what had been the standard auxiliary jack may have a bigger challenge. I would guess there are already small adapters on the market to take a 30 pin connector to the new 8 pin… but I have yet to see one myself.
See the full memo from Mercedes-Benz below, including their timeline for release of the new 8 Pin Apple charger / connector cable for Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
FROM MERCEDES BENZ: With the recent launch of the iPhone5®, Apple made some significant changes to the connector. Whereas the previous generations of iPhone® and iPod® models were equipped with a 30-PIN connector, the all new iPhone® and iPod® variants require an 8-PIN “Lightning” connector.
These changes will have a significant impact for customers with the Apple products, as all vehicles equipped with Media Interface (option code 518), iPod Integration Kits (option code 057), and vehicles with Nav + 4 / UMI (option code 001 or 079) only have the standard 30-PIN connector.
As soon as the 8-PIN “Lightning” connector is released by Apple, a careful investigation will commence. All features of Media Interface, iPod Integration Kits, and Nav + 4 / UMI will be tested in accordance with stringent Mercedes-Benz standards to provide our customers a detailed answer as to whether the adapter can be used and what features are compatible. Once testing has been concluded MBUSA will issue an official statement at the end of October / early November.
In the meantime we are working on developing new 8-PIN “Lightning” Media Interface cables, which will replace the existing 30-PIN connectors if the customer has ownership of the new Apple product. These cables are expected to be introduced in the first quarter of 2013 as a customer-pay option.
The 2008 McLaren SLR that’s been sitting on our show room floor for most of the year was picked up by its new owner this morning, a gentleman who lives near St. Louis, MO. He had initially seen the car when I advertised is on eBay, after the eBay auction ended without meeting the $288,000 reserve price, he gave me a call and we were able to put a deal together on the phone.
We discussed the car, its condition, ownership and service history and a wire transfer for the purchase price arrived the next day. We both figured we’d set up an enclosed transport to ship the car to his home, but after a day or so trying to find a transporter, the buyer just gave me a call and said that he will fly in, pick up the car and drive it back home… about 600 miles.
The buyer was a very nice guy and a real car guy. He raced with the SCCA some years ago in a number of national level classes, GT2 in a Nissan Z and later, in the big GT1 class in a Corvette. I’m so glad to see this car go to a good home, to a real ‘car guy’. Thanks again Steve, it was great to meet you, I hope you enjoy the McLaren SLR!
On Wednesday of this week I drove 3 1/2 hours from Minneapolis to The Dells, WI… about the halfway point between Minneapolis and Chicago, to meet the new owner of this lightly used (just over 5,000 miles) 2012 model Mercedes Benz SL550. It’s the longest single stint I’ve put in behind the wheel of an R230 series Mercedes-Benz SL (2003 – 2012). The 2012 model is the last of that series, the most highly evolved of that series, and an absolute joy to drive. Click the YouTube screenshot above or think link to watch the Road Trip Video! (commentary begins at about second 20).
Despite what some people say, what might be printed in the marketing material, these aren’t really ‘sports’ cars in the true sense of the word, not like a Porsche 911 is a sports car or a Ferrari 360 Modena is a ‘sports’ car… sports cars are brutal, uncomfortable things, impractical for every day use, but absolute perfection on a race track. The Mercedes-Benz SL is a grand touring car… it handles beautifully and has plenty of power, but it’s a much more civilized machine. You can get in this car and tool around town at 25 – 35 mph comfortably or you can get on the highway and cruise at 75 mph all day in complete comfort.
You can adjust the Active Body Control suspension to be extremely tight and responsive if you want to really take to the twisties, you can use the steering wheel mounted shifter paddles if you want to decide when to shift gears (even though you’ll never be as quick or smooth as the computer controlled automatic transmission in Sport mode). This is a car to throw an overnight bag in the back of and cruise to a vineyard, the lake house or wherever else you might want to go.. the further away, the better.
The 3 1/2 hours I had behind the wheel of this car were comfortable and fun. I tried to find excuses to get off the highway, just to have another chance to apply the gas, liberally, as I cruised up the on ramp to re-join traffic. I kept the cruise control set at 74mph the whole time, a brisk pace, but I certainly wasn’t the driving faster than everyone on the highway. As I would cruise up on someone going slower, in the fast lane, they would see this low slung, black car with huge the huge three pointed star in the grille, bi-xenon headlamps on and immediately get over in the right lane… even though I was only going a couple of miles per hour faster, I think the car is perceived by other drivers to be going a lot faster than it really is. It is certainly capable of a lot faster… it just looks fast when you see it, but it’s the smoothness of the car that’s so amazing. Heavy and steady as you cruise down the highway.
Starting with the 2009 model year, SL class cars got all the latest electronics from Mercedes-Benz along with a cosmetic refresh. Sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2009 and newer you can’t help but notice the bulges in the aluminum hood, they do add a mystique to the view out the front windshield, and, I suppose, do something for the airflow over the hood, as Mercedes-Benz engineers never do anything without a real functional purpose behind it.
Interior enhancements for 2009 and newer cars include the hard drive based system that runs the navigation, music register, iPod connector, voice control… all the latest stuff, so, I hooked up my iPod, put on some Bob Marley, activated the Harmon/Kardon Logic7 Surround Sound system and daydreamed about green little Caribbean islands, I just watched a great documentary on PBS about the history of Reggae in Jamaica, so I have been on a bit of a Marley kick the past few weeks.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this SL road trip was that I was easily achieving just shy of 25mpg with the cruise control set at 74mph. The 382HP engine was much more fuel efficient than I expected in real life. The EPA window sticker says you’ll get considerably less than 25mpg on the highway in this car. While going through a couple of construction zones I reset the cruise control to 60mph… average fuel economy went to 26.2 mpg at that point… so decent gas mileage is certainly possible.
So, I met my customer from Highland Park, IL at a McDonald’s restaurant in The Dells, WI where he bought me a cup of coffee and I laid out the paperwork for the transaction. He signed everything, gave me his check and the keys to the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL450 he was trading in… this was my ride back home to Minneapolis. The GL450 is certainly a comfortable ride, safe, great visibility… but it’s quite a change from teh fighter plane like handling and low seating position of the SL…. it took some getting used to on the return trip.
We have already seen the first of the R230 cars fall below the $30,000 mark on the used car market. Since the 2013 models have already been release, the new body style, we will soon see the R230s drop in price even further from where they are today. They are very modern cars, light years ahead of the R107 models and much more advanced than even the R129 series SLs from the 1990s and early 2000s. As my customer and new found friend from Highland Park left the McDonald’s parking lot with a wave and a smile I thought… everyone ought to own a Mercedes-Benz SL at some point in their lives… and if you’re going to get one… the R230 series are some of the best.
Last weekend, I went car shopping with my sister. Last year, she earned her driver’s license. Now, she’s finally ready to graduate from borrowing mom and dad’s car to owning her own, and she wants to buy a Jeep like I had. Since we both had the day off, we decided to go out to lunch and then check out a Jeep dealer in St. Charles.
As soon as we pulled in, I felt the memories rushing back. The first vehicle I owned was a Jeep Wrangler with a convertible top. It was the car I had wanted from the time I was a small child, and driving it off the lot was more exciting than all the other “firsts” I experienced during my teenage years. The Wrangler was a perfect first vehicle, and I remember it being a part of so many good times with my family and friends.
The first summer I owned it, I took a road trip to the beach with three friends. We blared our music and sang into the open air all the way to the shore, and when we got there, we cruised the main road full of stores and restaurants as if we were the coolest people to ever walk the earth. I brought my Jeep to concerts and baseball games, and when I went away to college, I packed it full of my things and it took me there, too.
Walking through the lot and looking at modern Wranglers and other Jeeps, I really enjoyed reminiscing with my sister about all the fun I had in my own first car. She was just a little kid herself back then, but even she has memories that involve riding around in the Jeep. In fact, she was my very first passenger, and I took her out for ice cream as soon as I got home from the dealer.
After she finished picking out all the colors and options for her new Jeep, I couldn’t help but ask her when she was going to take me out for a treat. It may seem like a small thing, but after watching her grow up all these years, I’m very excited to be a passenger in her new ride!