The burble of massive engines, glints of chrome and a nip in the air – the conditions were just right for the ninth edition of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Rally (MBCCR) that rolled off this morning from the lawns of the Taj Lands End in Mumbai. The rally, which featured an entire spectrum of iconic Mercedes — from Yashvardhan Ruia’s 1929 Nurburg to more familiar classics from the 1960s and ’70s right up to Mercedes’ India 2002 range — drew in a stream of passionate, informed enthusiasts.
- Participation from 70 cars in 65 variants
- All seven generations of S-Class on display
- Convoy route from Bandra to Worli Sea Face and back
The MBCCR, first organised by Autocar India in 2014, has grown to become one of the world’s premier automotive events, and with good reason. The 2022 edition was studded with some singular cars such as publisher and collector Viveck Goenka’s S-Class collection, Pratapsingh Gaekwad’s 230 SL Pagoda and Gautam Singhania’s 300S Adenauer cabriolet. Also on display was the entire range of W123, W124, and W126 in all body styles – from coupes, cabriolets and limousines to estates, SWB and LWB sedans. In all, over 70 cars in 65 variants participated in the MBCCR 2022.
Three different generations of estate body styles were present including the very rare Binz Wagon.
Goenka termed the MBCCR among the best-organised rallies of its kind in the country and an event in which he gets to see Mercedes-Benzes he’s not seen before. “Over the years, the MBCCR has also started a movement of Mercedes collectors. A lot of people have been bitten by the classic Mercedes bug, thanks to this rally. I know at least 10 or 15 of them whose first classic car is a Mercedes, and I think that’s phenomenal,” said Goenka.
Flagged off by Vishwas Nangre Patil, Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order), Mumbai, and Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, the striking convoy of Mercedes cars turned several heads as it wound its way from Bandra to the Worli Sea Face and back. This year, with the introduction of the Star Classic category — which featured every Mercedes assembled and sold in India up to 2002 — spectators were treated to more familiar icons such as the entire India range, up to the W203 C-Class, W210 E-Class and even the W220 S-Class. The rally also saw participation from cities such as Rajkot, Goa, and Kochi.
As a tribute to the S-Class, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the MBCCR also had all seven generations of the pathbreaking car on display, with each generation being represented by at least two variants.
“I have been witnessing the rally since 2018, and each year since then it has kept exceeding my expectations in terms of the cars on display and the sheer passion of the owners who celebrate Mercedes-Benz’s heritage,” said Schwenk.
Yashvardhan Ruia, whose 1929 Nurburg was the oldest Mercedes at the rally, said that the MBCCR had led to a lot of people restoring their Mercedes-Benzes. “I see many people restoring their W123s and 126s, and that’s a wonderful thing. As importantly, Mercedes has done a wonderful job keeping its heritage alive in this country,” said Ruia.
Rally curator Perseus Bandrawalla said that over the past nine years the MBCCR has not only reignited interest in Mercedes-Benz classics, but also kept a large part of India’s motoring heritage alive. “No other carmaker has as many classic cars on the roads in our country. While we take pride in the fact that the MBCCR has grown to become a much-awaited, globally noted event, what’s as important is that it has fostered a vibrant community and ecosystem of collectors and restorers,” said Bandrawalla.
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