As motoring enthusiasts, we all love a good car place – be it a race track, a museum, a car show, or even just an interesting dealership. We think it is important that where we can, we here at Totally That Stupid share these gems so that wherever you are, if there is a cool car place around, you’ll know it. Our inaugural destination is the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center located a 9 Whatney, Irvine, California.
The original Mercedes-Benz Classic Center is located in Fellbach, Germany. It was the first factory-owned and run car museum of its kind, hosting not only a comprehensive collection of cars from throughout the brand’s history, but also trading in classic cars, parts, and accessories as well as providing restoration services and repairs for classic cars – defined my Mercedes as anything that has been out of production for at least 25 years. The U.S. version of the Classic Center started in the basement at Mercedes’ Montvale, NJ headquarters where they maintained a small collection of cars used generally for promotional purposes.
When the decision was made to bring the full-service Classic Center concept to the U.S., California seemed the obvious location. The car culture in Southern California is 24/7 365 days a year business, and many of the most impressive classic Mercedes – cars like 300SL gullwings and roadsters, 540Ks, Pagodas, and Adenauers – call the area home. What better place to set-up a classic car dealership, parts center, and repair and restoration shop. The facility, located just off the 5 at the Bake Parkway exit, was formerly the property of Saleen, the Mustang performance guys. To look at the building you’d never know it. It looks 100% purpose built for Mercedes.
The permanent collection at the Classic Center includes cars ranging from a replica of the original 1886 Benz three-wheeler Patentwagen to a very special W210 E60 modified by RennTech formerly owned by a very well-known comedian. From time to time the cars on display are rotated with the Fellbach Classic Center, so you never know what you may get to see when you stop by. For owners of classic Mercedes, the Classic Center team is always more than willing to talk shop with those who visit, and if time allows they may even give you a brief tour of the entire facility, made up of a showroom, collection display area, paint shop, and service area with numerous bays always playing host to a series of fascinating cars.
It is important to note that as great a destination as the Classic Center is, it is equally good as a resource over the internet or the phone. Owners of Classic Mercs can get copies (and interpretations) of their car’s unique data cards, advice on parts and service, mileage awards, and even toys, trinkets and Books of interest to the classic Mercedes community. There is even a cutaway display model of a vintage M-100 6.9 motor from the W116 450SEL 6.9. One caution: the passion for Mercedes cars at the Classic Center is contagious and addictive. After every visit – and I’ve made quite a few – I always seem to end-up in another classic Benz.. And on the phone to them looking for something or other!
Mercedes-Benz Classic Center
Irvine, CA 92618