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THE POWER OF LOVE

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Apr 14, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

THE POWER OF LOVE Words by Jeff Mathews Pictures by Michel Teixeira To this car enthusiast, the day was off to a good start as I pulled into the parking lot of the Specialty Transport offices in Long Beach. On display was an enticing variety of cars ## most noteworthy being the yellow Ferrari 355, the three Mustang Shelbys, the Suzuki Cappucino (direct from England), the Mercedes Maybach sedan, and the Lexus LS600 hybrid. Teaming up a few other LA Car journalists, we joined these and a host of other cars driven by a variety of automotive journalists in a caravan from Long Beach south down Pacific Coast Highway to Huntington Beach. Did I mention that it was a beautiful sunny day? Perfect for a road trip. Today, a group of fifty plus members of the Motor Press Guild take a road trip down into southern Orange County to view vintage Mercedes-Benz and Daimler vehicles.

THE SCHNEURER COLLECTION Our group arrives first at the private automotive collection of Gerhard and Rosemarie Schneurer. After enjoying some great German pretzels (they went well with the butter and spicy mustard), we tour the collection. The Schneurer's have an impressive array of Benz and Daimler vehicles and motorcycles. Among these are 10 "Militaer-Gespann" with sidecars dating to the 1930s and 1940s. Then there are the vintage vehicles, also about 10 of them, ranging from the late 1800s to today. There is a 2005 silver McLaren SLR. There are sedans ranging from 1920s thru the 1950s. There are military vehicles from WWII - including a "Schwimm-wagon" - all fully restored and fully-functioning. They also own a fully-functioning 1895 Landaulet Coup - built originally for the British Royal family and one of only two existing examples in the world. Mr. Schneurer rolls it outside and actually starts up the engine - loud and rumbling. It makes me wonder what folks in 1895 Britain must have thought upon first hearing this rumbling horseless carriage come meandering down their dusty country roads. Gerard and Rosemarie give several of us tours down the street in this impressive carriage. They also give riding tours in a fully-restored 1918 Opel sedan. All in all, a fun and informative experience for everyone.

MERCEDES-BENZ CLASSIC CENTER After spending an enjoyable couple hours, our group of journalists proceed towards Irvine, where we tour the 28,000-square-foot Mercedes Classic Center. Since the largest number of registrations of classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles is in San Diego and Orange Counties, this location is the ideal place for the Center. In addition to displaying an array of vintage vehicles, the Center also repairs and services any Mercedes model - as long as it is more than 20 years old. The service center features a state-of-the-art paint booth and six service bays within a spotless garage. The Center happens to be the largest single-make classic-car-care facility in the country.

The knowledgeable staff of the Classic Center take us on a guided walking tour of the facility, which keeps several dozen of Mercedes-Benz greatest hits on hand at all times. Some are for sale, while others, such as a replica of Karl Benz's first three-wheeler (the Patentwagen) and an orange prototype C111 mid-engine rotary test vehicle, are for display only. Entering the building through its showroom and into the adjacent hall, we viewed an assortment of pristine vintage vehicles from the last 100 years, including a 1935 touring Maybach SW38, a 1966 300SE complete with tailfins and air suspension, a recent Formula 1 racecar, and even a 1914 model Benz sedan ready for sale at a mere MSRP of $750,000.00 (the next time I'm there, I'll have my checkbook ready). Many of these vehicles will be made available to the press, or for use in historic events, as dealer displays.

By mid-afternoon we began to slowly make our way out, hitting the road after a fun-filled viewing and learning experience. There's nothing quite like a beautiful classic car.

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