by Rons Bantwal for Daijiworld News Network Mumbai
Mayor Datta Dalvi flagged off a grand Mercedes Motorcade amidst the presence of hi-profile Mercedes Club members like Deepa and Suhas Awchat, Manmohan Shetty, Prashant Talwalkar, Mohan Mariwalla of the 'Auto Hangar'
Group, Freddie Turel, Kiran Shantaram and many others.
Brought together by their love for the 'Three-pointed Star', a motley group of Mercedes-Benz owners in the city have formed the exclusive 'Mercedes-Benz Club of India'. A mini-motorcade of club members' Mercs was flagged off by Mayor Datta Dalvi on Sunday May 30 evening. As it winds its way from Shivaji Park to Haji Ali, all club members will sport the
traditional gear of their native places.
The club started in 1997 as the Three Pointers Club but got its presence in 2001. It attracts enthusiasts from Kolhapur, Pune, Nasik and Goa. But the meetings-on the months first Sunday in the second fortnight - take place at Shivaji Park where owners come together to discuss their Marc tales.
But membership is not restricted to only Merc owners. "A member should be an enthusiast and should know something about the Mercedes, " says former sheriff and club president Kiran Shantaram. Industrial photograph Sharad Apte is one of them, he has travelled far and wide and there are sequels of delight when he takes out the Hasselblad camera from his kitbag. "I add, to their delight, that I also own a Mercedes (a 190b Series Classic 1961)," says Apte, also founder member and chairman of MBCI. "I have not used a car of any other make," he maintains.
MBCI vice president Freddy Turel owns a couple of vintage models. He owns a Classic 123 Series 1983 (model 300D; known as the Smiling Face Model) and a 1934, 170V Cabriolet (its previous owner was the Maharaja of Bhavnagar);
this is a two-seater soft-top with a jump seat at the rear called the mother-in-law seat (a possessive mother, who wanted to escort her daughter on a date, would accommodate in the jump seat as it was uncomfortable and difficult to get in; and once inside she would be stuck).
"Since we are all die-hard fans of the Merc, it is bonding of a different kind," said the club's treasurer Dev Bakshi. A yearly subscription costs Rs 1,200 and life membership for Rs 25,000.
Each year, Daimer Chrysler, makers of the luxury car, sponsor a trip to Stuttgart for two members of the club to see its manufacturing facility up close. Member and restenteur Dr Suhas Awchat said, interaction with other club members helps demystify the Merc.