The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California (USA). The first and only manufacturer-backed classic center of its kind, offers a full compliment of services including retail sales, restoration, and genuine spare parts sales for Mercedes-Benz models aged twenty years and older. This marks another chapter in the pioneering history of Mercedes-Benz which includes the invention of the world’s first automobile 124 years ago.
“Imagine the chance to step back in time and purchase the Mercedes-Benz of your dreams right off the showroom floor, and that is the magic of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center,” said Mike Kunz, manager, Classic Center. “For those who longed for these cars when they were younger, or for customers who are new to the brand and value the nostalgia and timeless style that comes with a vintage Mercedes, the Classic Center at Irvine provides a unique opportunity unmatched by any other marque in the world to relive automotive history.”
Vehicles are offered at a wide range of prices beginning at approximately $25,000 and reaching upwards into the millions.
The Classic Center operates a full service department. Any technician employed at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center is qualified to work on all Mercedes-Benz vehicles classified by the company as “classic” – currently up to and including the 126 series (300-560 models) sold from 1981-1991.
Ownership of a classic Mercedes-Benz is by no means required to enjoy a visit to the Classic Center. The Center offers something for all enthusiasts from those who enjoy admiring expertly restored classic Mercedes-Benz cars to those shopping in the boutique for a full line of automotive and lifestyle accessories.
Unique Factory Support
Through its close partnership with the original Classic Center in Fellbach, Germany, the Classic Center in Irvine maintains a direct link to the factory and unequalled access to the parts, tools, service manuals and production records needed to work on these great automobiles, especially in the case of vehicles long out of production such as the spectacular 540K of the 1930s.
Owners who enjoy maintaining and repairing their classic Mercedes-Benz cars can find a wide selection of parts available through the Classic Center. What is not in stock can be ordered. The Classic Center has access to 42,000 different parts for every regular production Mercedes-Benz from 1945 through the 126 series models.
“Nobody understands how to care for these cars better than the company that made them and has the vast resources and expertise to do so,” notes Kunz.
“Should an original part not be available, the Classic Center can turn to the Mercedes-Benz Prototype Department and the Research and Development Department for assistance in remanufacturing parts. As one example, the Prototype Department was called upon to reproduce the hood for the 1956-1963 190 SL, because it required a specific technique that is no longer in place.”
Irvine in southern California is the ideal location for the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center as it is the heart of car culture in America and has always been one of the most popular and best markets for Mercedes-Benz worldwide.
The region is home to a sizeable population of classic Mercedes-Benz lines, including the iconic 300 SL “Gullwing” coupe and 300 SL roadster models built 1954-1963; the 190 SL roadster built 1955-1963; the “113” series SL roadsters (230/250/280 SL) built 1963-1971; the 220/250/280 series sedans, coupes and convertibles built 1959-1971, and such rare models as the legendary 300 SEL 6.3 and 600 of the 1960s and the 6.9 of the late-1970s.
The 1959-1971 111-series coupes and cabriolets, in particular, have been among the fastest appreciating classic Mercedes from that time. With their elegance, grace and timeless style, these Mercedes-Benz models perfectly fit the California lifestyle. A restored 1970-1971 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet, for example, can today exceed the $150,000 mark. Five years ago, this model was selling for roughly half that amount. The coupe versions, both six-cylinder and V8-powered, are more numerous and also highly desirable.
SoCal’s Favorite Cars: The Classic SLs
In 1963, Mercedes-Benz introduced the six-cylinder 113-series SL roadsters to replace both the limited-production 300 SL roadster and the four-cylinder 190 SL roadster. Starting with the 230 SL of 1963 and culminating with the 280 SL offered through 1971, these were known as the “pagoda” SLs because of the slightly concave shape of their detachable hardtops. Nearly 49,000 were built, and many are still driven with great pride and enjoyment in southern California.
One of southern California’s most popular high-end cars from the 1970s and 1980s remains a common site in the region: the V8-powered 107 series SL, starting with the 350/450 SL in 1972 and culminating with the 560 SL in 1989. More than 237,000 cars were built, with more than two thirds coming to the U.S. – and a large number of those selling in California.
Source: Daimler AG