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Stuttgart, 7-8 May, 2011

In 1886 Carl Benz applied for the patent for a motor-driven tricycle, the Benz Motorenwagen. Today this date is internationally accepted as the birth date of one of the most important inventions of the 19th century. Even 125 years after that the region of Baden-Württemberg is closely linked to the automobile being the home of two of the most famous names in the business (Porsche and Mercedes-Benz) and a strong pillar of a third marque. Being a company formerly located in the eastern occupied zone Audi had to be refound after the war in Ingolstadt and after the fusion with NSU the headquarter was based in Neckarsulm that is still a large manufacturing plant after the company moved back to Ingolstadt. So this was a good reason to join forces with Porsche and Mercedes to celebrate the anniversary in style in the Capitol of the federal state of the inventor.

The weekend of the 7th and 8th of May saw the prelude to the so called “Automotive Summer” that will see more events during the summer period with a large meeting on the square in front of the new castle in Stuttgart. Over the weekend the main shopping promenade was transformed in an outdoor car showroom where examples of all major brands could be tried out by the masses, booths of many car clubs and insurance companies invited to get the latest informations. Games and food stands made the inner city to a summer park for the whole family. Part of the exhibition was the new technology of electric powered or hybrid cars like the Audi e-tron series, an all new electric Mercedes SLS by AMG or the Porsche GT3 Hybrid that showed his skills on the last 24 hours on the Nürburgring.

The main program consisted of a concours on Saturday and a corso on Sunday.

Saturday 125 private entered cars sorted in categories Sport, Oldtimer, Youngtimers and Daily drivers were rated by a Jury of local celebrities and high-ranking representatives of the three companies including the heads of the three new museums, Thomas Frank (Audi), Achim Stejskal (Porsche) and Michael Bock (Mercedes). The cars ranged from a very rare Porsche Type 64, a splendid Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A to more common youngtimers and classics. Especially the small cars like a BMW Isetta or a Fiat Abarth drew sympathy by the public, a VW Samba or Karmen Ghias gave back some memories to many of the visitors.

Best of Show became a rare Porsche 356 1600 GS Carrera GT in immaculate condition.

Whereas the Saturday was more driven by private entered car the corso on Sunday was very much a exhibition of works cars. The corso with 125 cars as well started in the morning at the Porsche Museum to a first stop at the Mercedes-Benz Museum before entering the inner city to be displayed in front of the castle. Mercedes had the oldest car in the field with a 1902 GP driven by DTM-racer Susie Stoddard and the famous Blitzen-Benz in the hands of Jochen Mass. Although the corso was led by the police the slow speed was quite a problem for the race-cars and especially the Blitzen-Benz had some thermal problems on its way. Further Mercedes-Highlights included two reconstructed race-trasporters with both a pre-war silver arrow (W125) and a post-war W196 on their back, the 500 K Special Roadster with Bruno Spengler at the wheel and the iconic 300 SL Gullwing with Boris Becker on the hot seat.

Audi had some early examples of the marques Horch, DKW and Audi itself including a very rare streamlined Horch 930 S and a white Audi Front 225 Roadster.

Porsche started with their first roadster, the famous “No.1” driven by Wolfgang Porsche himself, several 356 in different configurations, 911s and some racers. Hans Hermann drove the 917 in the famous livery of Porsche Salzburg just like he did on his way to the first of the companies Le Mans victories back in 1970, Jacky Ickx was behind the wheel of his Le Mans winning 936/77 Spyder and Derek Bell drove a 924 Turbo. The Porsche 917 lost contact to the corso on its way to the Mercedes- Museum and Hans Hermann found himself in the traffic on one of Stuttgarts most frequented roads. It might have been a new experience for the 917 and its driver to get into traffic and start at the hill at a red signal, the sound at least was glorious.
Further celebrities in the corso included former Formula 1 driver and now DTM-pilot for Mercedes, Ralf Schumacher, heavyweight box champion Wladimir Klitschko and the former German soccer players Karl-Heinz Riedle and Oliver Bierhoff to name a few.
As the weather was good as well the weekend was a great success and the countless visitors enjoyed a warm relaxing day in the city.

Text & Images: Peter Singhof www.classiccarphotography.de