American Marketer


Mercedes-Benz trots old beauties at car pageant

March 15, 2011

Mercedes-Benz showcases something old and something new at event


Mercedes-Benz celebrated the 125th anniversary of the invention of the automobile by showcasing 250 rare vehicles at the 16th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

A display situated on the golf course at the Ritz Carlton is featured four symbolic Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The event was held March 11-13 and it benefited Community Hospice of Northeast Florida.

“Mercedes-Benz’s presence at high-profile enthusiast events like Amelia Island has come to be expected,” said Robert Ross, automotive consultant at Robb Report, New York. “Associating with and playing a prominent sponsorship role in events places brands like Mercedes-Benz in a focused and important spotlight as a luxury brand leader.

“Participation in a top event like Amelia Island demonstrates that Mercedes-Benz is serious about maintaining a high-profile presence among high-profile customers,” he said.

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is an automotive charitable event held each year at Amelia Island, FL.

Mercedes trends

Mercedes-Benz featured four historic vehicles dating back to the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, which marks the invention of the automobile in addition to Carl Benz’s patent issued 125 years ago.

The 1908 Grand Prix Car was also displayed. It is a groundbreaking race car that featured an innovative four-cylinder engine.

A particular vehicle, the 1935 500K Special Roadster, showcases many new performance technologies and luxury equipment from the era. This vehicle is considered one of the most beautiful cars ever created.

The 1958 180D Ponton displays the automaker’s era for post-war vehicle development.

Among these historic automobiles were some of the new Mercedes-Benz models, like the 2011 CL 63 AMG and the CLS 63 AMG, both of which were available to test drive.


The automotive event world is becoming more crowded every year, as enthusiasts, competitors and prospective sponsors are seeing more competitive events and the rise of potential customers.

“Concours events used to be simpler affairs, with a focus on classic cars prepared for show and judging,” Mr. Ross said. “Today, top-echelon concours events like Pebble Beach, Villa d'Este, Amelia Island and others have got to present a broader, more lifestyle-oriented day of festivities.

“While automobiles are still the stars, other lifestyle aspects like food, wine, travel, fashion and even boats and aircraft are often added to the mix,” he said. “Importantly, sponsor branding is key.”

Mr. Ross said that variety and quality are key to generating sponsorship dollars.

“From the perspective of a genuine classic car lover and competitor myself, I look for the highest standards of quality in the cars invited to participate and, as important, knowledgeable and qualified judges whose awards have value in the collector car world,” Mr. Ross said.

“A concours is only as good as its cars and judges," he said. “Everything else is just window dressing.”

Final take

2011 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance