Dedicated to classic and ‘young classic’ Mercedes-Benz cars. Mid 1990s all the way back to the 1950s and 60s. Those cars you buy to have fun with on nice days and on the weekends… more affordable these days than you might think.
If you’re interested in joining the fun on the 3rd Annual Walleye 1000 Vintage Rally please send in your entry NOW!
This year’s event will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 7 -8!
Reservations need to be made, T shirts ordered, you get the idea. EIGHT entries for the 2014 Walleye 1000 have already been received, 3 of them are pictured below – Entries are limited to 20 total, there are 14 spots left!
This year’s event is open to classic, sports and grand touring cars 20+ years old, cars from model year 1994 and older!
Our route will incorporate some of the best twisty and challenging roads you can possibly traverse in the upper mid-west! We will make our way South along the Mississippi River going back and forth between Minnesota and Wisconsin making a handful of entertaining stops for food and fun along the way.DEPART: 9:00am Saturday – “Caribou Coffee” – 1100 County Road 42E, Burnsville, MN
OVERNIGHT: La Crosse, WI
FINISH: +/- 5:00 Sunday evening – “The Tavern on Grand” – 656 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN for the finishers dinner where awards of unspeakable value (and questionable taste) will be distributed.
Total event mileage will be between 400 and 500 miles. Once again we will have a safety sweep team in a Yukon with an open car trailer to lend a hand in case any of these old cars ‘fail to proceed’ along the way.
As you probably already know, the Walleye 1000 is more of a fun driving tour rather than a true rally… there is nothing to keep track of, no timing, no scoring, just a fun drive over great roads with cool cars and even cooler people.
As always, the MG Midget with rusty floors and a fender in primer is as welcome as the recently restored Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato!
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!
While cruising Craigslist here in the Twin Cities last night I came across this cute 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280 sedan in my favorite 1970s Mercedes color, Caledonia Green. The matching hub caps are typical of these cars, but this green color is just so period correct, it’s all I can do not to drive right up to Anoka and buy the thing. Because it’s a 1973 model it still has the small, chrome bumpers, much more attractive and cleaner looking that the battering ram bumpers that were federally mandated by the U.S. Government for cars built in 1974 and later. If you’re going to get one of these, you have to get a ’73 or older.
I believe I saw this same car on Craigslist about a year and a half ago, there can’t be that many in the Twin Cities this color. This has the same dual overhead cam inline 6 cylinder engine that I have in my 1973 280 Coupe, these engines are reliable and run like tops… mine just finished 500+ uneventful miles during the 90+ degree humid heat wave we have last weekend while participating int he Inaugural Walleye 1000 Vintage Rally. It wouldn’t bother me to have a sedan like this for such events, if it has A/C, it’s a huge plus.
As usual, details in the Craigslist ad are few and far between. It’s simply described as “Not perfect, but VERY good condition for a 40 yr old car.” So you’ll have to get underneath and see if it has any rust, from the photos, it looks pretty decent. It has the very light colored interior used at the time formally known as “Parchment” which is a nice contrast to the Caledonia Green exterior. If it checks out and isn’t rusty, $2,200 seems like a fair price. See the actual Craigstlist Ad here.
280 sedans never bring the money that coupes do, they trade in a think market, but if you’re looking for a unique car that’s generally very reliable, this is a lot of car for not very much money. Don’t expect to get rich when you sell, but if well maintained moving forward, you’ll probably come out okay.
By all accounts the Inaugural Walleye 1000 Vintage Rally over the back roads of rural Minnesota and Wisconsin was resounding success! At about 9:00am Saturday morning, June 9th 15 cars, all built prior to 1991, lined up at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Shakopee, MN with drivers and co-drivers ready for a cruise. Some event photos below… a link to the entire Flickr feed photo album is at the bottom of this post, over 130 event photos.
After receiving their rally packs full of maps, route guides, event T shirts, rally decals and other assorted swag teams departed for the +/-250 mile trek East into Wisconsin, along the St. Criox and Missippi Rivers, North through some of the small towns in Wisconsin, lunch in Somerset and then back into Minnesota, around Lake Mille Lacs to a great group photo op and refreshment stop in front of the huge, fiberglass Walleye in Garrison, MN on the shores of Lake Mille Lacs. After this brief stop it was on to the Brainerd lakes area for the night.
The finisher’s dinner was held at the “Tavern on Grand” in St. Paul… a restaurant famous for, of course, Walleye! There was a brief awards ceremony after dinner. John Elliott and Beth Kraus received the ‘Journey is the Reward’ commemorative plate for their wonderful attitude and easy going manner… They were driving their 1968 Fiat 124SS with their big German Shepard, Bandi, sitting in the back.
There was a gift certificate to an online auto parts store that was going to be reserved for the participating car that left its team stranded by the side of the road… amazingly, there was not a single mechanical failure by any car on the rally. In the end, the gift certificate was awarded to the team driving the 1961 Jaguar MKII 3.8 , Terry and Bill Jacobs… Terry keeps his Jags in tip top condition, but I figure he’ll need the parts eventually, so he got the gift certificate! Dave Bortner and Michelle DeMist were recognized for selflessly following the group (in modern air conditioned comfort) in the Chevrolet Suburban “Safety Vehicle” towing a (fortunately) empty car trailer, just in case one of the rally participants needed a tow.
The “Spirit of the Walleye Award” was given to the charming team of Ron Engle and Ulrich Graefe driving a 1960 Borgward Isabella Coupe. Ulrich came all the way from Germany to run the rally with his brother in law, Ron. These guys brought one of the oldest cars on the rally, could be seen taking pictures at just about every scenic overlook point, they had a honk a wave and a smile every time you drove by them along the way… they really embodied the spirit of the event… fun, casual and laid back, ‘The Spirit of the Walleye’.
I started thinking about planning a rally like this almost two years ago, August of 2010. I see what vintage car enthusiasts do in other parts of the country, in California, rallies like this are all over the place, there are a couple here in the Midwest, when I couldn’t really find a two day, overnight event, something more than a drive to lunch then back home, the idea for the Walleye 1000 was hatched.
I’d like to thank the people who really helped make it happen… David Steingas (the driver of the beautiful dark blue 1951 Mercedes-Benz 220S cabriolet) was a huge help when it came to making the route and figuring out the stops along the way. We spent about 14 hours in the car on a single Saturday back in late March planning both day’s routes! He also suggested the dinner venue, Bar Harbor Supper Club in Niswa, MN. This is a restaurant not to be missed if you’re in the Brainerd Lakes area.
Dave Bortner went above and beyond to secure a car trailer and tow it behind his Suburban all weekend.. there in case we needed it, thankfully, it remained empty the whole time.
Experienced rally participant and planner, John Elliott, in his red Fiat, had lots of good tips and information for me during the months leading up to the rally regarding routes and attractions that might be of interest to the group.
Also, a big thanks to John Drewitz, who ran the rally with his son Ryan in their 1989 BMW 325i Convertible who had a lot of great information during the planning phases due to his experience running similar rallies in Northern California with his other son Anthony. John helped with all sorts of logistical and operation questions I had while planning the event.
Lastly, a big thank you to my wife Michele… without Michele I couldn’t have pulled any of this off, and without her I probably would have suffered a heat stroke, passed out in the car on Saturday somewhere in Wisconsin when it was 90+ degrees, driven off a cliff and died (yeah, no A/C in our 1973 Mercedes 280C). Thanks for your help, patience and support along the way… and for keeping me company on the road (the rally road and the road of life).
I got a call from my buddy Bruce Kelly over at Lake Country Classics a couple of weeks ago about an advertising agency here in Minneapolis that needed a vintage Mercedes-Benz roadster for a TV commercial. Bruce just seems to be the guy that people call for this sort of thing no matter what kind of car is needed, people just know to call him. He called me to see if I could get a hold of a friend we have in common, and fellow Twin Cities Mercedes Benz Club member, Mark Flaten. The ad agency was looking for a vintage Mercedes roadster, and ideally, one in a light color, to use in a Brooks Brothers TV spot. Bruce and I both thought of Mark’s car… an absolutely pristine 1971 280SL roadster in the classic Mercedes color combination of silver over red leather.
Bruce’s shop, Lake Country Classics, finished a complete restoration of Mark’s car last year. It is one of the most pristine and correct cars of this type and vintage I’ve ever seen. I got Mark on the phone, told him that this ad agency was doing a Brooks Brothers ad and they were looking for a car like his the next day… and that if he was interested he should give Bruce a call ASAP. He did, and…
About a week later, Mark forwarded me this link to the finished ad on YouTube. They did indeed use his car for several hours the day after we spoke on the phone. He was well paid for the three hours the agency used his car, he was on set the entire time with the car. In the end it’s a couple of seconds on film, but it’s a fun story and will certainly ad to the interesting history of the car. Click this link to view the video on YouTube.
Members of the Twin Cities Section of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America gathered early Saturday morning, May 12, 2012 at the new Mercedes-Benz dealership in Minnetonka, Sears Imports, to form up and drive North to Osseo, MN for one of the upper Midwest’s largest vintage, foreign car shows… the InterMarque Spring Kick Off Car Show. About 12 cars showed up at Sears Imports to make the 25 minute drive North to Osseo, another 3 or 4 member cars met the group at the show. The mix, and quality of the cars in attendance was spectacular. From the oldest car in attendance, new (only because his membership expired some time ago!) club member David Steingas’ 1951 220s to one of the newest, Matt Jurcich’s super clean 1999 ‘large and in charge’ S500 Grand Edition, the cars looked great and everyone was eager to check out the Intermarque’s new car show venue. For some time the Intermarque Spring Kick off Car Show was held at St. Paul’s Como Park, this was the first year for the show in Osseo.
Mercedes-Benz Club members, and their cars, that showed up at Sears Imports for the convoy North were:
Mark Flaten – 1971 280SL
Dave Bortner – 1969 300SEL 6.3
Dave Tobin – 1973 280C
David Steingas – 1951 220S Cabriolet
John Olson – 1959 300SL Roadster
Jack Church – 1985 500SL (euro)
Dean Nolde – 1999 SLK230
Daniel Miller – 1970 280SL
Jim Klecker – 1968 280SL
Matt Jurcich – 1999 S500 Grand Edition
Ron Burg – 1971 280SL
A couple of other members met the group in Osseo including:
Ron Scott – 1980 450SLC
Don Stephenson – 1971 280SL
(I think most of the years of the cars mentioned above are correct, a couple could be a few years off).
Any new venue creates challenges to organizers of a car show of the size and scope of the InterMarque’s Spring Kick Off. Our Mercedes-Benz Club was one of the ‘club sponsors’ of the event. We were told we could pick just 7 cars (all had to have been built prior to 1991) to show on the main street of the show. The rest of our club member cars would be pointed to peripheral parking areas, but still be allowed to park together if we arrived together. Well, once we got there, we ended up with about 9 of our cars on the main drag and and a handful of other down the street and around the corner, others, those build after 1991 were parked in an entirely different area, so we were a bit spread out. In the end, there was plenty of room on the main street, so we really all could have parked together… there was more than enough space, but organizers just weren’t sure how it was going to shake out, so they did their best, which was quite good, this first time around. I spoke with them during the show and it sounds like they’ll apply the lessons learned this year to next year’s show. I would guess we’ll all be able to park in the same area next time.
We pitched our E-Z Up tent to provide us with some shade, set up a table with club membership materials and some back issues of the Northern Star for passers by to pick up and take with them. It was a great day with a wide variety of cars in attendance.
There were more British cars than anything, as usual, at this show… from MGs and Triumphs to Jaguars, Rolls Royces and Bentleys. There were a good number of Italian cars including a pair of Maserati Ghiblis and handful of Alfa Romeos, I could only find one Ferrari and it happens to belong to a gentleman I know fairly well, he also has two Mercedes-Benz vehicles as daily drivers… he was even wearing his Mercedes-Benz hat all day while standing next to his Ferrari, I guess he has decent taste. There were plenty of German cars as well… more Mercedes than Porsches or BMWs… thanks to our good club turn out. I haven’t seen so many Citroens in one place since the last time I was in Paris… there seems to be a pretty active Citroen Club here in the Twin Cities.
The InterMarque group is a sort of consortium of car clubs… it is a single organization that sort of compiles information about all the different foreign car clubs in the upper Midwest, their events, website information, etc. and publishes a monthly online newsletter with car show and event information as well as articles and reports that are of interest to all sorts of car enthusiasts. They also hold regular events throughout the Spring and Summer, the group meets every Saturday morning at the Square Peg Diner in Minneapolis every Saturday morning. If you’re into old cars and want to keep up with what is happening in the Twin Cities old car scene you need to sign up to receive email updates from the InterMarque. Visit their website by clicking this link and sign up to receive InterMarque Updates, it’s FREE!
One of the most fun parts of the day for me was driving back home… following John Olson all the way down Plymouth Rd / Xenium Lane / Zachary Lane for about 15 miles. People might not know what he’s driving, but all eyes, through every intersection, were on that 300SL, there is just something about that car, that shape… it absolutely must be one of the all time great designs. They look good in photos, on paper, but nothing prepares you for how they look gliding over the road at speed. A special day indeed.
This 1981 Mercedes 300TD wagon rolled into Sears Imports this morning, the gentleman who drove up in it is interested in selling it… he just advertised it in this month’s Hemming’s Motor News. He bought it out of New York a little more than a year ago for his wife, but they have a number of other vehicles and she just doesn’t choose to drive this vintage Mercedes wagon enough to justify keeping it.
It has just over 180,000 original miles on the odometer, it is a very rare 4 speed manual transmission car with the 5 cylinder diesel engine that is known to run for literally, millions of miles. It was a European car originally, it has the two tone cloth / MB tex interior. I would say the car is in good, driver quality condition. It was mostly rust free, with several small bubbles beginning to show around the rear fender arches. The interior was in decent shape, the driver’s seat could use a recovering at this point, but it’s a complete car in a really good looking color combo… red with tan interior.
The owner is asking $8,500 for this very rare manual transmission diesel wagon, the owner says he gets a little over 30mpg. If you’re interested in the car please contact me and I can put you in touch with the owner. More Photos below:
UPDATE! Sold at $670,000! It’s auction time in Arizona… this 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster will be auctioned this afternoon at RM Auctions Arizona sale being held at the Arizona Biltmore. What’s special about this particular car? A couple of things, one… it’s selling for no reserve, it’s a desirable 300SL roadster with Rudge knock off wheels that’s been recently exercised in the Copperstate 1000 Rally… but most interesting, to me anyway… is that this car underwent a complete, nut and bolt restoration several years ago by my good buddy, and partner in car crime, Bruce Kelly at his Lake Country Classics shop here in Minneapolis. Visit the RM Auction description here.
This is a superb example of an iconic 300SL Roadster, a model that has seen a serious upward value trend over the past several years. These are sought after by collectors today for several reasons. One basic reason is that they’re reliable, comfortable cars to drive, they start when you want them to start, they don’t over heat, they’re generally very reliable cars that you can feel comfortable taking on a long classic car rally without too much anxiety or worrying if it’s going to start in the morning and make it through the day.
This is lot number 331, it will be going over the auction block in a few minutes… you can visit RM Auctions website to see a live broadcast of the auctions as they happen. Just follow this link.
The collector car market these days is red hot… at the top anyway. Blue Chip collectibles, cars like Ferrari 250GTs of just about any type are pulling big money, the best, well documented, no stories Shelby Cobras are on fire, Aston Martin DBs of any number are going through the roof and Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwings and roadsters have seen price increases over the last few years that would make any Wall Street investor wish all their investments paid such returns. The ’55 300SL alloy bodied car that’s pictured here is being offered at Gooding and Company’s Scottsdale, AZ auction in January of 2012… it is, arguably, one of the most sought after 300SLs and it’s poised to pull big dollars at the sale.
Mercedes-Benz made just 29 alloy bodied 300SLs (alloy bodied refers to the aluminum coachwork as opposed to steel) for special clients who, theoretically, planned to race their cars. Not only were the bodies lighter, but they were equipped with tuned suspension and a more highly tuned engine making them perfectly suited to the gentleman racer back in the days when you could drive such a car to a race track, use some masking tape to cover the headlamps and put numbers on the side of the car, race the car and then drive it home afterwards.
The 29 alloy bodied Gullwings are well documented, they have been tracked for years, be serial number, by die hard enthusiasts and marque specialists around the world. A complete list of these cars and where they reside (and with whom) is printed in SL specialist and publisher of ‘The SL Market Letter” John Olson’s book “The SL Experience” available on his SL Marter website or at Amazon.com. This book is the definitive guide to Mercedes-Benz SLs by year starting with the 300SLs from the 1950s all the way into the early 2000s with the last of the R129 chassis cars.
This 1955 300SL alloy bodied car that will be auctioned at the Gooding and Co. auction in January is certainly one of the rarest of the breed. The auction estimate for this car is $2.5 to $3.5 million. Seeing how one of these hasn’t come up for auction in the past five years, and who knows when the next one will become available, it wouldn’t surprise me if this car sells handily in that range next month in Arizona. I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me if it went beyond that estimate, but it would certainly be all the money, as this estimate is easily twice the price of a perfect 300SL to this point… but hey, Where are you going to find another? If the right two bidders want this car bad enough, who knows how far up the price will go?