We recently made a visit to the Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Center in Irvine, California, to check out this restoration and retail facility. Located adjacent to a cluster of auto showrooms, it looks like just another modern dealership. But the cars inside are anything but modern. For starters, there's a 1954 220 Coupe out front. Once inside the building, you'll be greeted by some of the most desirable models from Mercedes' glorious past. Gullwings and Patent-Motorwagens, SLRs and Pullmen.
(Follow the jump for the rest of the story and a gallery of wallpaper-sized pics.)
Like a small museum housing unexpected treasures, the Center unfolds and keeps delighting. Unlike a museum though, everything here is for sale. Well, almost everything. To one side of the reception desk sits a Sauber C291 endurance racer alongside a 190 SLR. To the other you'll find Mercedes apparel and auto related trinkets, like scale models and cufflinks emblazoned with the M-B logo.
But then it gets really interesting. As you walk into what at first appears to be the service area, you are surrounded by classic Benzes stacked two-high on lifts. Like some cosmic garage that services any Mercedes that drops through a wormhole, there are cars from the 1880s all the way up to the modern day classics.
A Coulthard F1 car and a Penske Indy 500 winner are a few feet from the Pullman and a Gullwing. Outside sat the SLK 4 X 4 that circumnavigated the globe. They didn't even bother to clean it up.
We happened to visit during an open house, something this facility specializes in. They host regional Mercedes clubs periodically and show off what they do best: fixing up and selling classic Benzes. You see, not only can you buy a vintage or classic Mercedes-Benz here, but you can also have yours restored by techs that have access to genuine GM M-B parts and technical drawings that allow them to rebuild virtually anything you need. If you are a fan of Mercedes and happen to be in Southern California, check it out. Click here for more information on the new Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Center. And click away on the photo gallery below to see if you can spot a favorite or two.