Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi Race Course played host to a star-studded affair this Sunday morning as classic cars bearing the three-pointed star took part in the fourth edition of the Mercedes Classic Car Rally.
Organised by Mercedes-Benz and Autocar India, the event was flagged off by Roland Folger, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, at the Tote on The Turf at the Mahalaxmi Race Course. It then wound its way past the famous Haji Ali, through Worli’s sea face, and then onto the Bandra-Worli Sea Link before heading back to the starting point via the same route.
Speaking to Autocar India, Roland Folger, MD & CEO Mercedes-Benz India said. “To have such an impactful and renowned display of our classic cars is fantastic for the brand as people can have a hands on experience of the quality and longetivity of Mercedes Benz automobiles. And it really opens up our heart to see how enthusiastic and emotionally connected our customers are to their cars.”
This fourth edition of the rally proved to be the biggest one yet, attracting more than 125 entries (the largest participation ever in the event's history) from the across the length and breadth of the nation. Some participants actually drove down their prized possessions from far and wide to get to the event. Like Manu Gulati and Deepak Velingkar drove in from Poona Mercedes 190b or Vipul and Vivek Lathia from Rajkot who did an overnighter to get here. There were some inspirational stories of kinsmanship as well like when Pradeep Naik faced some niggles with his 300D while enroute from Goa he was assisted by Abhijeet Patil, a Kolhapur-based Mercedes restorer to get the car going.
The biggest star of the show was a rare blood-red 300SL convertible sportscar owned by Himanshu Gondal. Other stars included an extremely rare 1930’s Mercedes-Benz Nürburg from the collection of Viveck Goenka. Yohan Poonawalla brought his 190SL convertible and then there was a rare and unique MB 300D Adenauer from the 1950s, a model that featured four pillar-less doors, that belonged to Abbas Jasdanwalla and was featured for the first time at the event. There were . While most cars participating in the rally were of pre-1998 classics, few select models of latter years also participated in the rally.
Most owners described their relationship with their cars as more of a love affair and said that every painstaking effort for the sake of their upkeep and restoration is worth the money and time. They also had special stories to tell of their prized possessions, from proposing to their future wife to driving out of Kuwait during the Gulf war.
A Sunday morning did not prove to be a deterrent for the crowds of enthusiasts who came enjoy this carnival of Mercedes classic cars. With photo-ops, cheers, applause and appreciation, people gathered at the racecourse and along the route to support the rally.
The rally came to an end about an hour after the flag-off, with the participants gathering for an appreciation ceremony where they all received certificates and special mementos.
Also see: 2017 Mercedes Classic Car Rally image gallery