Tag Archives: Dave Knows Cars

Ultra Rare Mercedes SLK55 AMG F1 Safety Car Spec – One Owner, Special Order, Just 1,400 Original Miles – FOR SALE!

2006 Mercedes F1 Safety cal

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.
Mercedes SLK55-AMG-F1-Safety-Car

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.

Mercedes SLK55-AMG-F1-Safety-Car
Original, one owner miles.

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!)

Mercedes SLK55-AMG-F1-Safety-Car
Three piece wheels, HUGE drilled, ventilated brake discs.

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.

Mercedes SLK55-AMG-F1-Safety-Car
Flawless interior condition.

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.

Mercedes SLK55-AMG-F1-Safety-Car
Alcantara trimmed seats are perfect.

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…!

Mercedes SLK55-AMG-F1-Safety-Car
Essentially new… no creasing, no wear…

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.

Best New Mercedes S class Deal! 2012 Mercedes S350 BlueTEC Diesel Last 2012 Model S class In Stock… $12,000 OFF MSRP, Your Today for Just $85,000

Mercedes S class discounts 2012 diesel

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.

Mercedes Benz Sales Report August 2012! Record Setting Year-to-Date Total of 168,462 New Vehicles Sold to Customers, up 13.5% over 2011!

Mercedes-August-2012-Sales report
(click sales chart to enlarge)

The Mercedes sales report for August was released earlier this week… it looks like August was a good month, in fact, a record setting month for new Mercedes-Benz sales. The official Press Release from MBUSA is below.

New cars at Sears Imports were strong, as the 2012 model year car supply is dwindling, the 2013 models are arriving. Deals on C, E and GLK class vehicles were especially good in August (and continue to be good in September) as large incentives are available on these cars, especially for current Mercedes-Benz Financial customers… whether you’re in a lease or purchase contract, deals on the last of the 2012s are incredible!

New 2013 GLK and C class models are arriving at dealerships everyday, we just got a shipment of new 2013 cars today, including a facelifted 2013 G550! (see official August Sales Report from Mercedes-Benz USA below).


Total MBUSA Posts Record Month at 23,439 up 13.1%, smart up 85.9%, Sprinter up 15.3% for the Month

MONTVALE, N.J. – Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today reported August sales of 20,557 for its
Mercedes-Benz models, delivering a record year-to-date total of 168,462 new vehicles to
customers, up 13.5%.

Combined sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, smart and Sprinter for the month totaled a record of 23,439, up 13.1% bringing the MBUSA year-to-date total to a record 188,351, up 17.9% .

“With an all-time record setting year so far and now with exciting product in the pipeline, including the all-new GL-Class currently on its way to dealers across the country, we plan to build on this momentum through the end of the year,” stated Steve Cannon, president and CEO,

Mercedes-Benz sales for the month of August were led by the C-, E- and GLK-Class model lines. The sporty C-Class – the gateway to the Mercedes-Benz brand on the car side for younger and first-time Mercedes-Benz buyers – took the lead with sales of 6,519, up 37.9%.  The 9th generation E-Class followed with sales of 4,515 and MBUSA’s restyled compact SUV, the GLK-Class, rounded out the top three with sales of t 2,775, up 43.6%. Additionally, the sporty SLK roadster sold 373 vehicles for the month, up 174.3%.

At the high end, the all-new iconic sixth generation 2013 SL roadster – which debuted in showrooms this past spring – posted sales of 604 yielding an increase of 705.3% and the SLS AMG supercar retailed at 51 for the month, up 59.4% over the same period last year.

On a year-to-date basis, top performers were the C-Class with 49,868, the E-Class with 39,970 and the M-Class with 24,659.

Monthly sales of the high-performance AMG models were 637, up 55.7% versus August 2011 (409) and up 52.1% year to date.

Sales of the company’s BlueTEC diesel models were up 38.9% for the year at 10,717 compared to the 7,717 diesels sold over the same period last year.

The company’s smart brand continued ten consecutive months of sales increases with August sales of 753, an 85.9% jump for the month (compared to the 405 vehicles sold in August 2011) bringing the year-to-date volume to 6,281, up 758.1% when compared to the 732 vehicles
sold by MBUSA last year. When compared to the combined Penske and MBUSA sales year-todate last year (3,288), sales are up 91% .

On the van side, Sprinter sold 2,129 vehicles in August – up 15.3% over last year and up 27.5% on a year-to-date basis.

Separately, through the Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned (MBCPO) program, MBUSA sold 6,921 vehicles in August; an increase of 17.3% when compared to August 2011 (sales of 5,901 vehicles). On a year-to-date basis, MBCPO sold 52,859 vehicles, an increase of 2.3% over the
comparable period (with sales of 51,651 vehicles).

About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14
model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.
MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans and smart in the US. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com

Sears Imports Employee Looking to Sell His Car… 2004 BMW 330ci – 6 Speed Manual – 78k miles, Two Sets Wheels and Tires – Just $13k

BMW 330ci manual transmission

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.
BMW 330ci 6 speed manual
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.
BMW 330ci 6 speed manual

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…
BMW 330ci 6 speed

BMW 330ci 6 speed

Porsche Porsche 911 Barn Find Update! Extraction Completed with the Help of Freedom Boat Service Professional Dave Bortner

Chasing Classic Cars Porsche

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.

Cahsing Classic Cars Porsche 911
Dave Bortner sets up the come-a-long so we can crank the Porsche up onto the trailer.
Best trailer hitch
What can’t you tow when you have a hitch like this?

The other night I went out to actually pick up the Porsche… I could have never pulled it off by myself, seeing how I don’t have a trailer or a tow vehicle. I called up a friend of mine who is probably THE GUY if you have a project like this. Dave Bortner, founder of Freedom Boat Service in Mound, MN is a real car guy, he’s also a real boat guy… his company restores, services and maintains vintage wooden boats. He has extensive towing experience (Perhaps you remember the blog post last year from our epic 20 hour drive, towing a vintage boat, to the Keels and Wheels show at the Seabrook Yacht Club near Houston, TX.).

Porsche Barn Find
Bortner set the trailer up just right, we didn’t even scrape the front spoiler of the 911.

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.

farm cats
Just some of the cats watching over us while we pulled the car out of the barn.
farm cat
I can’t tell if this one approves of what we’re doing or not.
Porsche 911 horse
Straining to get a last look at the yellow Porsche before it’s hauled away.

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.

David Tobin Porsche 911
Bortner did most of the work, I just jumped in for this photo so it LOOKED like I was really doing something.

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!

Dave Bortner Freedom Boat Service
Dave Bortner of Freedom Boat Service, Porsche on the trailer, ready to go!

Dave Goes ‘Chasing Classic Cars’ 1976 Porsche 911 Barn Find! Tobin Brothers Team Up and Drag this Vintage 911 from Long Slumber

vintage Porsche 911 project

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.

1972 Mercedes 450SL Project
The 1972 Mercedes-Benz 450SL, I hoped the 911 was better taken care of, after all, it was stored inside.

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.
1976 Porsche 911S Targa For Sale

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.

1976 Porsche 911S Targa For Sale
Solid and great looking, all the way around. No evidence of paintwork… fun, funky 1970s Porsche color.

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.

1976 Porsche 911S Targa For Sale
Underside of the car shows original paint… NO rust, but lots of cobwebs and dust.
1976 Porsche 911S Barn Find Project
Engine compartment… dirty and dusty, but all the original stickers and equipment is in place.

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.

1976 Porsche 911S Barn Find Project
Great looking original floors underneath the carpets.

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?

2008 Mercedes McLaren SLR Roadster Listed on eBay – Original MSRP $514,690 – Reserve Price on eBay Just $288,777

Mercedes McLaren SLR Roadster for sale

This low mile, one owner 2008 Mercedes McLaren SLR Roadster in Crystal Galaxite Black with Silver Arrow 300SL Red Leather interior with black stitching and trim was just listed on eBay. Click this link to go right to the eBay auction.  My motivation behind listing the car on eBay… as usual, is an attempt to reach the widest audience possible. Over the past year or so I’ve shipped cars to Brazil, Peru, England, Germany, the Czech Republic not to mention countless cities across the United States. I’m secretly hoping this one gets shipped off to Dubai or the UAE where a 17 year old kid might enjoy street racing it against his friends in their Lamborghinis and Bugattis… I guess we’ll see

This example of the rare SLR Roadster has just 943 one owner miles on its odometer, originally from California, Sears Imports acquired this car from an online dealer auction, it had previously been in the car of Symbolic Motor Car Company in La Jolla, CA.

As you can see by this piece of the original window sticker, this is a highly optioned SLR Roadster, the special red leather interior is itself a $9,950 option. This SLR, like the others, has body panels constructed entirely of carbon fiber… it’s almost as much spy plane as it is super car. The 5.5 liter supercharged engine built by AMG pumps out 617 horsepower and more toque than most people will know what to do with… legally anyway.
Used SLR McLaren Roadster
The doors of the McLaren SLR might be the most recognizable feature of the car, while not ‘Gullwing’ doors like the 300SL cars of the 50s or the newer SLS AMG cars, the ‘scissor’ type doors on the SLR attract a lot of attention when you open them up, they aren’t like doors on a Lamborghini, they have a mechanism all their own, only found on the McLaren SLR.
McLaren SLR Roadster

Mercedes Benz Sales Report July 2012! 5.8% Better than July 2011 and Up 18.6% for the Year!

Mercedes Unit Sales Report 2012

Have a look at this chart for July 2012 Mercedes Benz Unit Sales by vehicle class and growth year over year and month over month.

July 2012 was a pretty good month for Mercedes-Benz vehicle sales in the United States. Sales of several Mercedes-Benz vehicle classes were up, most notable the new 2013 SL roadster has been proving a brisk seller, in fact, they last a day or two, if that, in dealer show rooms before they’re sold… most of the first several waves of new SLs were pre ordered and sold before they were ever built.

The C class had a good month as well, the newly redesigned entry level sedans are proving as popular as ever and excellent lease deals during the month of July didn’t hurt. We see the steady decline of the R class coming through, as we sold twice as many G wagens nationally as we did R class vehicles… what does that tell you about the future of the R class?

M class sales numbers were disappointing, but it’s not for a lack of buyers… it’s for a lack of cars. Ask any dealer in the country and they will tell you.. if they could get them from the factory, they would sell them in a heartbeat, they just simply cannot built them fast enough to meet the demand.

Here is the official MBUSA press release that accompanied the sales numbers chart above, August 1, 2012.

MERCEDES-BENZ POSTS JULY SALES OF 19,311 smart up 138.5%, Sprinter up 27.2% for the Month; Total MBUSA at 22,294 up 5.8%

MONTVALE, N.J. – Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today reported July sales of 19,311 for its Mercedes-Benz models, delivering a record year-to-date total of 147,905 new vehicles to customers, up 13.8%.

Combined sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, smart and Sprinter of the month totaled 22,294, up 5.8% bringing an MBUSA year-to-date total of 164,912, up 18.6% Mercedes-Benz sales for the month of July were led by the C-, E- and GL-Class model lines.

The sporty C-Class – the gateway to the Mercedes-Benz brand on the car side for younger and first-time Mercedes-Benz buyers – took the lead with sales of 5,663, up 24.4%. The 9th generation E-Class followed with sales of 5,089 and MBUSA’s largest SUV, the GL-Class, rounded out the top three with sales of 2,494, up 32%.

At the high end, the all-new iconic sixth generation 2013 SL roadster – which debuted in showrooms this past spring – posted sales of 449 yielding an increase of 382.8% and the flagship coupe, the CL, sold 39 vehicles for an increase of 62.5%.The SLS AMG supercar retailed at 59 for the month, up 20.4% over the same period last year.

On a year-to-date basis, top performers were the C-Class with 43,349, the E-Class with 35,455 and the M-Class with 22,416.

Monthly sales of the high-performance AMG models were 457, up 11.7% versus July 2011 (409) and up 54.3% year to date.
Sales of the company’s BlueTEC diesel models were up 45% for the year at 9,957 compared to the 6,866 diesels sold over the same time last year.

The company’s smart brand continued nine consecutive months of sales increases with July sales of 780 , a 138.5% jump for the month (compared to the 327 vehicles sold in July 2011) bringing the year-to-date volume to 5,528 up 1,590.5%

On the van side, sales of Sprinter vans saw another best-ever sales month in July with 2,203 – up 27.2% over last year and up 30% on a year-to-date basis.

Separately, through the Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned (MBCPO) program, MBUSA sold 6,519 vehicles in July; an increase of 10.6% when compared to July 2011 (sales of 5,895 vehicles). On a year-to-date basis, MBCPO sold 45,938 vehicles, an increase of 0.4% over the comparable period (with sales of 45,750 vehicles).

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans and smart in the US. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com


Mercedes Benz Sprinter Pleasure Way Camper Road Trip to the HAWK Vintage Race Weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI

Each year I make the trip from Minneapolis to Elkhart Lake, WI for the big vintage sports car race weekend at Road America. This year I made that trip in high style… read on… lots of race car photos from the event at the bottom of this post.

If you’re not familiar with Road America, it is a 4 mile long sports car racing course, with 14 turns, up hill, down hill… built in the early 1950s. Everyone who is anyone in sports car racing over the past 60 years has raced there from Mario Andretti and Al Unser to Carrol Shelby and Phil Hill. Each July Road America hosts the largest gathering of vintage race cars in the Midwest… think Monterey Historics in the middle of Wisconsin farm country. More than 600 race cars generally participate, racers come from all over the country with their cars… most arriving as very well funded race teams in semi trailers. There is no prize money, nobody does this for a living, this is a leisure sport for gentleman racers and quite a few ex-pro racers. There are cars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, even worth millions of dollars, going wheel to wheel around the track, some cars were clocked this weekend at over 220mph! Imagine doing that in a 30 year old car!

Mercedes Diesel Sprinter Camper
The Mercedes Benz Sprinter based Pleasure Way Ascent I took for the weekend.

As any good Dave Knows Cars Blog reader will remember, I recently re-acquired my old 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia, I was planning on taking that on the 6 1/2 hour road trip to the track… but when the opportunity presented itself to take a lightly used 2010 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Based Pleasure Way Camper with just about 14,000 miles on its odometer, I jumped at the chance.

Mercedes Diesel Sprinter Camper
It drove like a car and got over 20mpg the whole way.

I felt bad, looking at my little Westfalia sitting behind this shiny new Mercedes based rig…  for about two minutes, then figured the Sprinter was a much more comfortable vehicle. It has a powerful Mercedes-Benz diesel engine which allowed me to set the cruise control at about 74mph and get over 20 mpg. I could keep up with traffic and stay cool with the A/C blasting all the way down to Elkhart Lake in 90+ degree temperatures in mid July.

Mercedes Diesel Sprinter Camper
Interior boasts refrigerator, microwave, roof top mounted air conditioner, generator, A/C current via the power inverter, sink, two burner electric stove, toilet, shower and electrically folding queen sized bed… not to mention a flat screen TV and DVD player.

I packed up the Sprinter Friday morning with clothes, a few pairs of shoes, real bed sheets and a pillow… no sleeping bag, as I would simply press a button to electrically fold the ultra soft leather rear sofa down into a queen sized bed once I arrived at the campground at the track. I loaded the fridge up with a 12 pack of Sam Adams bottles, a bottle of orange juice and a few bottles of water and switched it over to propane power, the LP powered refrigerator kept everything cold all weekend.

This particular Sprinter is the short wheel based model, the smallest Sprinter RV you can buy. It has two front seats, a galley kitchen complete with a two burner electric stove top, microwave, sink and enough cabinet space to hold everything you’d need for quite a while. Moving towards the back there is a bathroom with toilet and stand up shower. All the way in the back there is a large sofa that can be used as regular seating while driving that folds down into a  queen sized bed when you’re ready to sleep. There is a flat screen TV in back along with a DVD payer and remotes for both… so you can watch a movie while on the sofa or in bed. I kind of felt like Robin Leach as I pressed the button to fold down the electric sofa bed… ‘Champagne wishes and Caviar Dreams’.
Mercedes Diesel Sprinter Camper

Mercedes Diesel Sprinter Camper
I must have been going up a hill here, the RPMs were at about 2300 at 74mph most of the time.
Mercedes Diesel Sprinter Camper
Friday night, curtains are pulled, the rear sofa has been extended into the bed… sheets and a pillow went on then it was lights out.

The drive down was great. I set the cruise control between 70mph and 74mph depending upon traffic turned on the A/C and just cruised. I don’t drive large vehicles very often and, I must say, I don’t generally care for them… things like Escalades and Suburbans, they just don’t appeal to me, they feel truck like and big, I feel like I can’t see around me. While the Sprinter doesn’t have any rear windows on the driver’s side, the passenger’s side is full of them and you can actually look back there to see if there is anyone on that side of the vehicle when you’re changing lanes. The exterior mirrors were great, plenty big, and they had there were integrated blind spot mirrors on both sides which made for a great field of vision. It was so easy to drive and maneuver, you’d never know that you were in such a big vehicle. I parked in a regular parking space when I stopped at a Culver’s for lunch… right next to all the other regular cars.

Once I arrived at the race track I pulled into the camp ground and pulled up to my SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) worker buddies… they were surprised to see me in this rig, they climbed up and walked through to have a look. It was pretty much decided that we all need one of these things. Once in the camp ground I opened the roof vent and turned on the small roof fan.. with the fold out windows open plenty of air circulates throughout the camper. In fact, when I went to sleep I just left two small, screened windows open and left the fan on. At about 4:00am I woke up and got another blanket because I was actually cold!

Saturday night I drove it into town for the downtown Elkhart Lake street car Concours d’Elegance, as always, it was packed with people, a big street party where the crowd mingles around the cars. I was able to park a couple of blocks away from downtown and I actually parallel parked the Sprinter… I found a big space, so I didn’t have to work very hard, but there it sat, parallel parked on a residential street.

Saturday night was as nice as Friday night sleeping in the camper, again, I just used the roof top vent fan with a few open screened windows, it kept me plenty cool. There is a roof top air conditioner that runs off the Onan generator, but I never even used it.

Mercedes Diesel Sprinter Camper
Parked at the track Saturday morning… two Ferraris in the back ground… a 250GTE (black) and a 250 GT Pininfarina Coupe (fly yellow). Notice the horizontal windows extended out on the camper, these are the only windows I left open in the evenings while sleeping, with the rooftop fan / vent there was plenty of air circulation.

Sunday was a full day of working the false grid with race cars and my SCCA friends, we’re the course workers who arrange and line up all the race cars in their qualifying positions on the starting grid. We make the last safety checks of the drivers, watch for leaking gas, oil and whatever else coming out from under the cars, adjust mirrors, attach window nets, etc. It’s a great, fun way to be as close to the cars as you can imagine, touch every one of them if you want… talk to the drivers, it’s a great part of the track to work.

Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Saturday evening in downtown Elkhart Lake, WI for the HAWK Vintage weekend street car Concours d’Elegance.

By late afternoon on Sunday the weekend I look forward to all year long was drawing to a close. I said my good byes until next year, hopped in the Sprinter and headed back towards Minneapolis. It is about a 6 1/2 hour drive one way… the first two and a half hours are on rural Wisconsin County roads, then it’s three hours up I-94 to Minneapolis. It was a great weekend, with an excellent vehicle that was fun and easy to drive, got a lot of looks from people along the way and acted as very comfortable accommodations… how can I ever go back to my vintage Volkswagen Westfalia after a great weekend with this luxo cruiser? That’s a good question… one I will have to try to figure out how to answer… or I’ll just have to come up with the $80,000 needed to buy this used Sprinter Pleasure Way!

Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Friday night in downtown Elkhart Lake, race car Concours d’Elegance.

Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races

Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Beautiful, rare and very expensive Ferrari 365 GTB 4 (Daytona) competition car.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
The Predator Performance competition paddock; various Lola T70 Can Am cars, late 1960s, early 1070s vintage.
Predator Performance
Production based cars on the false grid Saturday morning.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Lola T70 pulling into the pits.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Ex-Brian Redman, Bobby Rahal Chevron small block Can Am.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
McCann D sports racer lining up for practice.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
A great looking Lola T70.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Shelby Cobra 427.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Vintage monopostos… Lotus, Chevron, Merlyn, etc.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Modern Indy cars tearing through the Carousel.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Saturday night in downtown Elkhart Lake.

Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races

Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Vintage Formula 5000 car sitting on the false grid.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Perhaps my favorite car at the event.. and one that’s there every year… a real Porsche 910, ex Le Mans 24 hour, very rare and expensive these days.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Just because they’re called ‘vintage races’ not all the cars are real old… basically, anything obsolete or that isn’t racing in pro series… this is a Ford GT that was racing in the American Le Mans Series just a few years ago, there were a pair of these, a husband and wife team.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
One of the big block McLaren Can Am cars, early 1970s vintage.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
Minneapolis native Duncan Dayton was in this Lola T70, ready for the start of the Can Am Sunday feature race.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
There are always nice cars just sitting around the paddock at Road America… a Jaguar XKE coupe and a big Rolls Royce coupe.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
This was one of the most significant (and expensive) cars in Elkhart Lake last weekend… there were only 84 of these built between 1956 and 1959.
Elkhart Lake Road America HAWK Vintage Races
The drive home to Minneapolis… into the Western sunset, lots of bugs on the big windshield of the Sprinter… it was a great weekend and a great, perhaps perfect, vehicle for this sort of event.

Featured Video! 2007 Mercedes Benz CLS63 AMG designo Mystic White 30,745 One Owner Miles Just $48,900

CLS63 AMG designo Mystic White

So I’m finally getting into the video thing here on Dave Knows Cars (WAY LATE to this party!)… sure, they’re a little shaky and I’m figuring it all out, but here is a video I shot this morning with my iPhone of this incredible 2007 Mercedes Benz CLS63 AMG. While in the video I call the color, Diamond White Metallic, after reading the original window sticker / option list (pasted below for your reference, I saw that it is actually the extremely rare designo Mystic White color with Java Exclusive Nappa Leather AMG sport seats.

This is a P2 Package car with an Alcantara headliner, PARKTRONIC, Bluetooth, KEYLESS GO, Navigation, Heated and Active Ventilated Front Seats and more. Cost new was just over $107,000. See the original window sticker / option list below.

This is a one owner vehicle that was purchased new here at Sears Imports and owned by a local customer. It was just traded in on a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle. It has been serviced here throughout its life. It’s available today for $48,900, Sears Imports’ stock# 66121A