Over 50 rare and impeccably maintained classic Mercedes-Benz lit up the streets of the city on Sunday as part of the eighth edition of the Mercedes- Benz Classic Car Rally (MBCCR).
Organized by Autocar India in association with Mercedes-Benz, the rally, first held in 2014, has grown to be an integral part of Mumbai’s winter tradition and catalyzed the creation of a classic car community in the country.
The rally, flagged off by Eknath Shinde, Cabinet Minister of urban development and PWD, Maharashtra, also saw Kalyan Lok Sabha MP Dr. Shrikant Shinde, Mr. Anil Kumar Gakewad, joint managing director of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, and Dipankar Datta, honorable chief justice of the Bombay High Court.
The rally, which started from the Taj Lands End, in Bandra, featured, as always, some special cars, which attracted classic car aficionados in droves.
These included publisher and collector Viveck Goenka’s 220S Ponton; Hormusji Cama’s Mercedes-Benz 500K; Pratapsinh Gaekwad of Baroda’s 230 SL ‘Pagoda’, and, industrialist Yohan Poonawala’s SLS AMG Coupe, which was among the cars that represented modern Mercedes classics at the rally.
Also part of the line-up were rare models such as the W186 and W189 Mercedes- Benz 300 Adenauer limousines. The Adenauers at the MBCCR included a W186 Limousine owned by the Dubash family, a W189 Limousine owned by Abbas Jas- danwala, and two W186 Cabriolets belonging to industrialist Gautam Singhania and the Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, respectively.
The latter’s car both Gautam and Jam Sahib’s car restored for the show has been restored by Mayur Khasrani of Rajkot. Other classic Mercedes that got spectators curious included the 170V range, some S-Class coupes and cabriolets, a Unimog motorhome, and a replica of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, the company’s — and the world — the first-ever automobile.
The Mercedes classics weren’t just savored on the lawns of the Taj Lands End. Automotive enthusiasts lined the streets as the participants and their cars drove in a convoy from the hotel to Worli Sea Face and back.
“Cars and roads go together,” said Shri Eknath Shinde, “Despite Covid-19, the state government has been focused on strengthening and expanding the road infrastructure. We are looking at creating a 5000km access control grid that can get people and goods to their destinations safely and quickly,” said Shri Shinde.
Martin Schwenk, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said that the MBCCR was like a rolling museum on wheels. “That’s what is so special about the rally — these magnificent cars are on the road! And I never fail to be impressed by their beauty and how impeccably they are maintained. Our motto this year is ‘Reimagining Excel- license, and when I see this kind of excellence on four wheels, I feel the obligation and responsibility to transport that heritage into the future. Mercedes-Benz stands not only for history but also for the future,” said Schwenk.
The Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Rally also witnessed participants from several parts of the country, including Goa, Kochi, and Pune. According to Viveck Goenka, the MBCCR has been a godsend to classic car lovers.
“Thanks to this rally, many Mercedes have now come out of the woodwork. Cars are being restored and it’s lovely to see them out on the roads and at events like this. Every year we see several new cars at the rally,” said Goenka.
“This is my second time at the rally and I have genuine admiration for how it brings knowledgeable lovers of classic Mercedes together. It is great to meet them and learn more about their cars,” said Pratapsinh Gaekwad.
Speaking at the event, rally curator Perseus Bandrawala said that the MBCCR had, for the past eight years, succeeded in keeping a part of India’s motoring heritage alive. “We are all custodians with the responsibility of preserving India’s automotive heritage, and the MBCCR has been integral to doing that. It has spurred interest in classic Mercedes and it is the most popular brand with classic car collectors in the country and has also helped in creating a vibrant community” said Bandrawala.