San Francisco Bay Area Section

Legends of the Autobahn 2017

Legends of the Autobahn 2017

AMG takes center stage at 2017 Legends of the Autobahn

By Allen Stephens

A huge field of German automobiles, perfect weather, and enthusiastic crowds greeted participants at the 8th annual Legends of the Autobahn® event on August 18th.  With 2017 being the 50th anniversary of the founding of AMG, Mercedes-Benz Club of America members responded by bringing over 110 cars including 40 AMGs to the Nicklaus Club in Monterey.  Many San Francisco Bay Area section members participated in Legends as entrants, judges and volunteers.

The AMG pre-merger and post-merger class brought out rare Mercedes-Benz automobiles from the 1980s and 1990s.  Jano Lukac displayed his 1987 AMG Hammer sedan, next to a Hammer coupe owned by Jonathan Hodgeman.  Mario Puente entered his 1988 560SEC Widebody, and also invited the cars builder, Eddy Lai, co-founder of AMG Canada.  It was a wonderful Monterey Car Week moment to see the builder of this rare AMG reunited with the car he created 30 years ago.

The Modern AMG and Modified class attracted a lot of attention, with over 25 examples lined up on the berm along the fairway.  Standouts included the brutish 2017 G550 Brabus, the 2008 CLK 63 AMG Black Series, and a trio of AMG GT-S coupes.  As the majority of the cars in this class were too new to be judged, special awards were handed out.  The Modern AMG trophy went to John Friesen of the San Francisco Bay Area Section for his 2014 SLS Black Series in an electric orange color.  Best Modified was awarded to Albert Shakhnazaryan for his 1993 500E.  The Spirit of AMG trophy went to Jeff Wong for his 1986 190E 2.3 16 with tasteful AMG touches.

The vintage cabriolet, coupe and roadster class was reserved for cars built through 1962.  A stunning green 1957 300SLS Tribute and a racy red 1955 190SLR Tribute entered by Bruce Iannelli drew admiring crowds all day long.  The 190SLR captured first in class, and the 300SLS was awarded second in class and the MBCA Spirit of Competition award by MBCA Chief Judge Pete Lesler. The MBCA Star of Excellence trophy was presented to the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center for their 1958 300SL roadster in a subtle shade of light blue.

Another highlight was the M-100 Group Corral, for automobiles powered by the iconic M-100 6.3 or 6.9 liter engine.  Four 300SEL 6.3 sedans and a Grand 600 in an elegant anthracite color stood watch over the show field at the top of the fairway. 

In the Silver Star Preservation Class, judges Richard Simonds, Pete Lesler and Bob Doerr certified 13 Mercedes-Benz automobiles as original, unrestored cars.

Best of Mercedes Marque and Best in Show overall was awarded to Jeff Wong for his meticulously prepared gloss black 1996 Mercedes-Benz E60 AMG.  It features a 6.0-liter M119 V8 engine with 32 valves and 381hp.  It’s a very rare machine, one of only two known to exist in the United States.   

The 2018 Legends of the Autobahn event will be held on Friday, August 24th.  All Monterey Car Week events are moving out one week as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for August 26th.

See a photo gallery from the 2017 Legends of the Autobahn at this link.


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