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.
After joining the local Nord Stern Region of the Porsche Club of America here in Minneapolis recently I received the most recent regional club newsletter. While flipping through this very high quality publication I came across an article, an ‘in memory of’ article really… about one of the founding members of the Nord Stern Region Porsche Club who passed away recently. Click the screen shot of the video above to see the full 28 minute long film “Road America”.
The article chronicles the amazing and interesting life as it related to sports cars, specifically Porsches, for more than 60 years… the life of a gentleman by the name of Tom Countryman. I have reprinted the article below from the October 2012 Nord Stern Porsche Club newsletter. Visit the Nord Stern Region PCA website by clicking this link.
Tom Countryman, a Greatest Generation
by Roger Johnson and Mark Bouljon.
Few among us live to be 90 while living well, while making new friends and memories all along the way. But Tom Countryman, who was a Nord Stern Region founding member, was just such a man. He was a survivor, designer, photographer, racer, engineer, filmmaker and pheasant hunter – as well as a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. But Tom’s story is also a decades long Porsche story.
Tom was a quintessential member of America’s greatest generation. In WWII he fought his way across Northern Africa and into Italy. He returned home only to be called back into service for the Korean conflict. Fortunately for all of us, the Army recognized his photography skills, and assigned him to Publications, which included Stars & Stripes, and sent him to Europe.
There a curious little car got his attention and he arranged for a tour of the Porsche factory. Baron Huschke von Hanstein was his tour guide and a friendship was formed.
Von Hanstein arranged for Tom to cover the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1952 and a life-long for sports car racing passion was formed.
At the end of his tour in 1952, Tom purchased this 1951 1300 Normal Coupe in Germany and bought it to Minnesota. It is believed that this was the first Porsche registered in the state. He went out and purchased an Army-surplus tank commander’s helmet and entered the St. Paul Winter Carnival ice races on Lake Phelan, the “final, and most exciting event in the week-long celebration.” As a filmmaker, he mounted a camera in his car and made his first racing film, Ice Races, narrated by John Cameron Swayze.
Tom began racing in earnest and the Normal coupe gave way to a Speedster. This car was raced extensively with both regular and 4-cam 356 engines. Later he drove Spyders, Bert Horton’s 904, the Troutman-Barnes 910 and much more. He dabbled a couple times in open-wheel cars but always came back to Porsche.
When a Spyder without an engine presented itself to Tom, he bought the car and put in the 4-cam motor he had been running in the Speedster and had a running Spyder. He often said this was one car he should never have sold. As a filmmaker, he often mixed his passions. At the June Sprints at Road America, he mounted what is now a huge camera to the rollbar of his Speedster and took some very innovative in-car footage. The result was the film Road America.
A fun part of the making of Road America was that Tom only got two laps of practice in before being black-flagged for having this contraption on the back of his car. That footage was enough to make the film. Only Tom knows if it was intentional or not, but he had neglected to tell SCCA what he was up to. After seeing the finished film, SCCA wished they hadn’t stopped him.
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.
It participated in the Inaugural Walleye 1000 Vintage Rally in early June and performed flawlessly, despite the almost 100 degree heat both days! The car ran like a top at sustained speeds of 55 – 70 mph, we traveled in comfort and 70s Mercedes style.
This is an extremely rare opportunity to own a Mercedes Benz spec F1 Safety car. A friend of mine in the Mercedes-Benz club introduced me to a gentleman who told me he had an F1 Safety car, that he had special ordered from Mercedes-Benz in Germany. Frankly, I didn’t believe him… until I saw the car yesterday and drove it myself. He has asked me to find a buyer for it… so, it will be posted here, on Dave Knows Cars first, then on eBay, for the world market.
A little history… the FIA uses a ‘very fast’ street car as their ‘Pace Car’ and ‘Safety Car’ during Formula 1 races around the world. There is normally a professional race driver driving and a doctor in the passenger’s seat, so, in the event of a bad accident, the car can take to the track and keep up with F1 car traffic while arriving quickly at the accident scene with a doctor. A variety of Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been used for this purpose over the years. For the 2004 Formula 1 season the FIA used a factory modified SLK55 AMG roadster as the Safety / Medical car during Formula 1 races. Mercedes built a handful of these cars for FIA use and offered them, on an extremely limited basis in subsequent years, to VIP customers around the world.
Enter my new friend from Wisconsin… back in 2004 and 2005, when he heard of these cars, he went to the three Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the Twin Cities, Sears Imports, Feldmann Imports and Maplewood Imports, asking if he could order an SLK55 AMG F1 Safety car. Apparently, all three dealers said, “Sorry, we can’t get one of those for you, they aren’t for sale for the North American market”. He finally went to a Mercedes-Benz dealer in Wisconsin who said he’d ‘see what he could do’. After some phone calls to MBUSA, and the buyer mentioning ‘I thought you could get anything from Mercedes-Benz, as long as you were willing to pay for it’… after all, if you’re a sultan or sheik, you can get your Mercedes cars gold plated. He was eventually told they could get one for him, but he would have to provide documentation that he had professional race driving credentials. (Did they do this expecting him to fold and go away? Whoops!)
It just so happens that this gentleman holds several North American competition drivers licenses for several different racing organizations. He raced professionally in Formula 2 in Europe for a number of years in the 1970s and competed in the SCCA National Champion Run Offs in a number of open wheeled classes throughout the 1980s and has been vintage racing ever since. These days he races a very rare and very fast 1970 D sports prototype in vintage races around the country.
Long story short, they built a Formula 1 Safety car for him, he was able to choose the colors and some options… The factory modifications of a normal, run of the mill SLK55 AMG include the following, among other items… 19″ 3 piece AMG wheels, HUGE upgraded brakes on all four corners, I forget how big they really are, the ‘Nurburgring’ suspension package, top speed limited to 186 MPH, the car sits on FACTORY lowering springs, it is considerably lower than a normal SLK55 AMG. It also has an aluminum hood among other components which replaced heavier steel in series production cars. Beyond the performance enhancements, it has carbon fiber interior trim, alcantara trimmed seats and steering wheel… spare tire delete and a number of other unique options, but still has comfort options such as heated seats, the AIRSCARF feature and a 6 disc CD changer in the glove box.
The car was brought into the country with a standard U.S. spec SLK5 AMG VIN, if you pull the window sticker through the Mercedes-Benz Netstar system it will show up as a regular, run of the mill 2006 SLK55 AMG. The owner’s supporting correspondence and documentation with Mercedes-Benz tells the real story.
Amazingly, the car only has 1,453 miles on its odometer. The owner bought the car, drove it around a little, but never tracked the car. He originally purchased it for track use but decided it was ‘just too nice to take to the track’ and he has other race cars for that anyway. It has seen occasional dry weather use over the past 6 years.
I witnessed an all new level of true fanaticism when taking photos of this car with its owner. Of course, it sits in a climate controlled garage, heated in the Winter, air conditioned in the Summer. When he washes this car he puts wheel and tire covers from his race cars over the wheels as not to get water on the brake calipers, causing oxidation. He brushes his feet off before getting into the driver’s seat. When we got in to go for a drive he put on driving gloves, not for grip or because he was going to thrash the car, but because he ‘doesn’t like to get oil from his hands on the alcantara trimmed steering wheel’! Way over the top…!
The car is essentially PERFECT in every way. The exterior is absolutely flawless, the silver paint shines like brand new. The interior shows absolutely ZERO wear, look at the close up photos of the driver’s seat, the carpet, the buttons, everything is perfect in every way.
So… what is a car like this worth? Good question… it was in the low $80,000s when new. I found a similar 2006 F1 Safety Car online, in Japan, with the F1 safety car graphics and yellow light bar for over $100,000. This gentleman wanted to talk to me about selling his car because he’d like to buy another racing car, something he will use more often, something he car race competitively, wheel to wheel with other cars.
Given the rarity and condition of the car, we’re thinking a fair price today is something in the neighborhood of $60,000.
Seriously interested? Please give me a call, I’d be happy to discuss the car with you.
This is a 2012 Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTEC diesel, the last 2012 model S class in our inventory here at Sears Imports. We are offering this car at a HUGE savings today… as we need to make room for our 2013 models, this S350 BlueTEC diesel, good for over 30mpg, can be yours today for the low, low price of just $85,000… a $12,000+ discount off of it’s original MSRP of $97,055.
This 2012 S350 BlueTEC is Palladium Silver in color with a black leather interior. It is equipped with the Premium II Package which includes options such as PARKTRONIC with Parking Guidance, Rear View Camera, KEYLESS GO, Active multi contour seats with massage feature as well as comfort type head restraints with adjustable side wings.
As I always say, “The S class is the choice of Captains of Industry and Royalty Worldwide”.. put yourself in one today for just $85,000.
This is a 2004 BMW 33ci with a 6 speed manual transmission that one of my friends who works here at Sears Imports Mercedes-Benz is interested in selling. It is metallic grey exterior with black leather interior, non smoker, car is in very good condition, inside and out with 78,232 original miles.
This car was traded in by one of my customers for a Mercedes-Benz E class Coupe back in March. One of my friends here at work saw it and bought it… after about 5 months he’s realized that the monthly payment is a little more than he is comfortable paying, so he’s looking to sell it to a good home.
My friend here at work is just the second owner of the car, it is a local, two owner vehicle with a clean Carfax vehicle history report. The car comes with two sets of wheels and tires. The Summer tires are and wheels are on the car now, there is a set of other wheels with mounted snow tires that will go with the car so this rear wheel drive BMW will be a good car this Winter.
He’s asking just $13,000… which I would guess is negotiable within reason.
If you’re interested in the car or if you’d like to make an appointment to come in to look at it I will set you up directly with the owner.He is at Sears Imports just about everyday. Call or email me from the “Contact Dave” page of the blog here to set up a showing. More pics below…
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!
UPDATE: The ‘Chasing Classic Cars’ style rescue of this Porsche 911 from a barn in rural Minnesota is complete! If you missed the first posting on Dave Knows Cars about how my brother found this car on Craigslist, from the comfort of his home in Sweden, and how I went to check it out and made a deal to buy it, please visit that blog post on Dave Knows Cars by following this link.
Dave has a couple of tow vehicles, the vehicle we drove out to get the Porsche in was a Chevy Tahoe Quadrasteer (4 wheel steering) with a big car trailer hook up to the back. To make a long story short, Dave backed the trailer right up to the barn entrance, which was a little tricky, as there were fences to dodge as well as an old derelict tractor right by the entrance. Dave masterfully maneuvered the Tahoe and trailer into place while the cars’ owner and I watched… along with some horses and about 20 cats.
Dave had all the necessary straps, hooks and gear to get the job done. We used a ‘come-a-long’ to ratchet the car up onto the trailer, once in place we strapped it down with the two hooks in the front and suspension components in the back. We finished up just as the sun went down and headed back to the storage facility Dave has been gracious enough to give me a little space in to store the car until my brother comes over from Sweden to see the car and arrange shipping.
These sorts of adventures are a lot of fun… I guess they’re a lot of work, but it seems fun if you’re doing it with the right people. Thanks Dave!
If you’ve read very much of DaveKnowsCars you know I’m always combing the classifieds on Craigslist, AutoTrader Classics, Hemmings and all the other spots I might come across an old vintage car with potential. I Tivo every episode of Chasing Classic Cars and would really like to be Wayne Carini when I ‘grow up’.
I was surprised to get an email from my brother last week about this 1976 Porsche 911S model that he found on Craigslist about an hour Southwest of the Twin Cities. Remember now, my brother, Sean, lives in Sweden. He’s planning a trip to come over to Minneapolis with his family to visit, so, like any good car guy, he’s combing the classifieds here to see what he might find that’s worth taking home to Sweden.
Sean emailed me with a link to a Craigslist ad for this 1976 Porsche 911. It was in rural Minnesota, parked in a barn (with a concrete floor) for the past 5 years. According to the Craigslist ad the car “ran when parked, 5 years ago”. Sean talked to the owner, long distance from Sweden and scheduled a time for me to go out and inspect the car for him.
The general thinking was, that if the car is in good cosmetic condition, most importantly, if it’s a dry, rust free, original car, it would be well worth the asking price. Sean has some experience working on 911s of this vintage. He has a 1978 911 SC model and a good friend of his has a 1976 S model, like this one,t hat they are just putting back together after a fairly serious mechanical freshening.
If we could strike a deal with the owner, I could haul it out of his barn and put it in a friends warehouse for a while until Sean comes over to visit with his family. Then we could arrange shipping in an ocean freight container back to Sweden where Sean could work on the car, get it back in running order and have a great looking vintage 911.
So last Wednesday morning I drove out to the owner’s farm near Arlington, MN, not knowing exactly what I’d find. As I pulled into the gravel driveway I saw an early 1970s Mercedes-Benz 450SL sitting outside with grass growing up around it… It was clear, even from a distance, that it was rusted out in all the usual places, not much more than a parts car today.
When I got of my car the owner greeted me, like every Craigslist transaction, you’re never quite sure what to expect. Was I lured to the next Ed Gein compound where I would end up in the freezer only to be found years later once the police caught on? Thankfully, the guy who met me was perfectly normal… as perfectly normal as an old Porsche aficionado could be anyway.
He mentioned that he had just sold his vintage Porsche 912 to his mailman and he recently purchased the BMW Z4 that was sitting next to the house. It was time to clear out some of his old cars. I walked into the concrete floored steel building, the whole rear corner was stacked to the ceiling with bales of hay, for their horses. There, in the middle of the room was the lemon yellow Porsche 911 Targa.
As soon as I saw it I decided it looked better than I expected. It is a completely stock vehicle, except for the period BBS wheels, which I rather like, and the added fiberglass whale tail. The paint is of exceptional quality and looks to be original, all the way around, I opened the doors and hood, engine compartment, I looked everywhere and I couldn’t find any tape marks, over spray or any evident of body or paintwork.
I took out my flashlight, the most important tool you could have for a job like this. It’s important to look in all the hard to reach places to look for rust or evidence of accident damage or poor repairs performed many years ago. The engine compartment was dirty and full of cobwebs, but everything looked to be there. There was some oil under the engine, but that is to be expected, as seals dry up and crack allowing the fluids inside to leak out over time. There were enough very old cobwebs going from the bottom of the car to the floor to convince me that this car probably had been sitting in this same spot for 5 years as the seller claimed.
One of my big concerns was pest damage… it’s not uncommon for a car like this to house multiple generations of mice, especially when stored in a barn like this for so long. While inspecting the interior I noticed some very old evidence of mice… just some droppings and seed shells under the carpet on the passenger’s side. I would have been surprised not to have found something like that, but that seemed to be the extent of the infestation. I looked long and hard in the front trunk compartment and in the vent tubes for mouse nests, but found nothing.
I was very pleased to see completely original, solid floors on both sides of the car when I lifted up the interior carpets… rusty floors on vintage 911s are very typical and would have been a deal breaker. You can fix mechanical things.. engine, transmission, etc. easily, but body work is just so expensive and time consuming, and never as good as the original, you have to just walk away from rusty cars.
After my long inspection I texted my brother and asked him to give me a call… I had seen the car. He called me right back and we chatted… no rust, floors look good, the paint, amazingly, looks original, no serious rodent infestation, largely original, etc. etc.
I handed the phone to the owner so Sean could talk to him and let him know how we’d be putting the deal together. I would leave a deposit on the spot until Sean could send me a wire transfer with the balance of the purchase price, once I had the money I would return in a few days with a trailer and tow vehicle to haul the Porsche away and take it to a storage facility until we can ship the car to Sean in Sweden.
So, that was that… As I was leaving the farm I wondered how many other cars like this are hidden away… it’s not like this is a rare car, it’s not… but how many other interesting cars are sitting in barns and sheds in these rural areas that won’t see the light of day for many years? When there is no lack of space somewhere, when people can just park another car outside next to the barn (like the Mercedes) they often stack up, the sad part is, that unless the cars are inside, like this Porsche was, they will quickly deteriorate to something only fit for the scrap heap.
I imagine this will be a great car for my brother, I hope it is… and I wish I could be there when his daughter, my niece, sees it for the first time. She absolutely loves his red 1978 911… what will she think when a bright yellow one shows up?