Concours, first started as an exhibition for horse-drawn carriages in the 17th century is now replaced with exquisitely classic automobiles. This event is more famously known in it’s French name, Concours d’Elegance, or “concourse of excellence” in English. And for the first time in Malaysia, Mercedes-Benz had organized it’s very first concours made up of only Mercedes-Benz cars. I was there on May 8th to tell you all about it, welcome to the 2011 Historic Mercedes-Benz Concours!
Taking place at the green and lush field of the six star Palace Of Golden Horses hotel, contestants who submitted their entries would have their cars divided into one of the three categories. Vintage (pre-1960), Classic (1951-1975) and Modern Classic (1976-1989). The winner for each category will win an all expenses paid trip to the Mercedes-Benz Museum and Classic Car Centre in Stuttgart, Germany and of course, a shiny trophy.
Walking through the parking lot towards the main event, I was greeted with the sight of a Aston Martin DB9 Volante parking at the parking lot. A positive sign of what I’m about to see soon at the concours. (Very wealthy owner=Very rare Merc classics) Hopefully I’m right.
Instead of using a direct route heading right into the field, I’ve decided to walk through a huge white tent as the sun was really shining very warmly onto the ground. What I get to see inside the huge tent was not just the thankful sight of cool shade but also some technicians inflating two large remote-controlled Mercedes-Benz blimps!
As you can see the two blimps are equipped with spinning rotors as well as a video camera to record the nice view it was about to encounter. One of the blimp was labeled Mercedes-Benz while the other wrote “125! Years of Innovation” as this year is also the 125th year since the invention of the very first automobile. The Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which was also there on display but more on that later.
I am now standing in the middle of the field, with the blimps flying past my head. Hardly anyone took notice of the blimps and I am not surprised, with so many shiny and priceless classic Mercedes-Benz to get distracted by, who gives a thing about those flying balloons?
Covering the grass are a over a hundred of classic Mercedes which ranges from the early S-Class W111 model, to 300SL Roadsters as well as one rare 300 SL Gullwing which was estimated to be worth over RM5 million ($1.6 million). With only a total of 3258 300SL ever made worldwide, 1400 Coupes and 1858 Roadsters, it is not surprising for the value to be this high.
And if you think you’ve had seen the most valuable car in this concours, be prepared to be surprised by the next car. The 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster. Only 58 of these were ever made and the car is worth over RM24 million ($7.9 million)! Little did I know that the car would be worth so much and I apologize for the lack of photos of that rare car.
Another interesting entry would be the Mercedes-Benz 170 V Cabriolet. Not the most attractive car here, but I believe this was the only few classic car to have owners still having the original copy of the certificate which states the time and place of delivery and was signed on the year 1972. Things like these original documents do contribute to their scores significantly as these documents are extremely hard to come by.
Not really into classic cars? Don’t worry, this concours was also planned with modern cars enthusiast (like me) in mind. With two Mercedes SLS AMG over there on display, a McLaren SLR which left the place pretty soon unfortunately, as well as Mercedes-Benz current model range of cars just to remind us that we are still in the 21st century.
Located at the rear entrance is a small stage for some musical performance, but nobody is watching them because of whats’s displayed right beside them. The full size replica of the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen! Also known to be the world’s very first automobile, this one we see here is an exact replica made accurate to very centimeter with the help of original documents and technical sheets of the real car.
Not sure whether this is a working replica model but I was told that it is still a priceless model despite being a replica. Not the most beautiful car here of course, but seeing those exposed gears and wires of it’s simple two-stroke piston engine located right behind the seats, you can’t help but to feel impressed of this great invention.
The intense heat of the sunlight eventually made me and pretty much everyone to have a short rest inside the air-conditioned hotel lobby through the rear entrance. Only then I found out that the reason many people are going in is because there is free buffet offered to the contestant as well as their families.
So nothing much here for me to see then? Not really, there is also a small souvenir booth located awkwardly right at the entrance of the buffet. So while people like me were having a look at the souvenirs, at the same time, we are also blocking other people’s access to the buffet area.
There are quite a selection of merchandise on display which are not short of cheap. Among them includes, key chains, caps, car models, and watches. Before this, I’ve met a friend who had bought a Mercedes-Benz watch which cost around RM750 ($248). And I though that was expensive enough, but when I was at the souvenir booth, I saw a few other similar-looking watches which cost more than double of my friend’s.
And if RM2218 ($732) for a watch is not expensive enough for you, try this. A limited edition pure Sterling sliver model of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class no bigger than a baby’s feet. The price? A whooping RM6486 ($2141)! Expensive yes, but perhaps reasonable for some of the wealthy classic car owners here.
Something is still missing is this concours and what could that be? Pretty models of course! And this concours do have a few. Unfortunately most of the local models are not what you would call pretty. To be honest, only one of the handful of models there caught my eye. Is it really that bad you ask? Well, check out the photos and decide for yourself!
That pretty much covers the whole event! And if you really want to know, the winners of this concours event are the 1957 300 SL Gullwing owned by Onn Chung for the Vintage category, Datuk K. Kumaraendran’s 1967 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL W113 fir the Classic category, and Ong Kheng Liat’s 1985 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon W460 for the Modern Classic category.
Congratulation to the winners and hopefully they enjoy their trip to the Mercedes-Benz Museum and Classic Car Centre in Germany as I badly want to go there as well! Thanks for reading this post and do look forward to more future events that I might go to and hopefully a major motor show in a few years time! In the meantime, enjoy the huge gallery below of the beautiful photos I’ve took of the beautiful cars at the concours!