Something Wicked This Way Comes …

As noted in my last post, Saturday June 2nd promised to be a very interesting morning at Cars&Coffee/Irvine, especially in light of Mercedes-Benz being selected as the weeks featured marque.  On my drive down to Irvine that morning, I found myself taking a mental inventory of the different 300 SL Gullwings that I had encountered in the past (since they are on my all time favorite cars list), and wondering just how many of those same cars might be on display. Saturday morning would also be an opportunity for the select owners within the Mercedes-Benz community to exercise their supercars, such as the Vision SLR, AMG SLS, and the CLK AMG Black series coupes, and to share them with the spectators for the morning.

By the time I arrived at the event, there was already a line of Mercedes-Benz stretching all the way out of the parking lot, queued up single file and waiting to enter the featured lot. Non- Mercedes traffic was being waved over to the left side of the entrance, in order to avoid this early morning traffic jam. Once I cleared this bottleneck, I quickly found a space, parked the car and headed off to grab a quick bite. After visiting with several of my RGruppe friends (all the while finishing my donut), it was time once again to grab my camera and head off into the crowd that was building over at the featured lot.

As I picked my way through the crowd, the first Mercedes-Benz I came across was this beautiful 300 SL roadster, with its hard top in place, in pale yellow  with red interior. And if I’m not mistaken, this was the first time this particular 300 SL has been displayed at Cars&Coffee.

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_Pale yellow with red interior_side view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_Pale yellow with red interior_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_Pale yellow with red interior_interior view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_Pale yellow with red interior_side vent detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

And parked just behind this pale yellow 300 SL hard topped roadster, was a collection of five 300 SL’s; three Gullwing coupes and two roadsters. The white Gullwing seen below was the only one from this grouping to be actively campaigned in vintage racing.  Externally, the visual clues to this cars alter ego was the removal of the front bumper, the application of racing numbers and a large collection of technical inspection stickers proudly displayed on the driver’s side corner of the windshield. Internally, the clues were equally as obvious; the inclusion of a roll bar, fire extinguisher and racing belts.

White Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_race car_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

White Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_race car_interior view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

White Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_race car_dashboard detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

White Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_race car_windshield sticker details_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Immediately to the right was the first of the two 300 SL roadsters, this one in red.

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_drivers side detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

 Mercedes Benz 300SL row_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

And to its right (as seen below) was the second Gullwing coupe, wearing a set of rare Rudge knock-off wheels…

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_3/4 front view  with rudge knock-off wheels_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_front grill with reflections_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

And this Gullwing’s engine compartment was just as clean and detailed as the rest of the car.

Red Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_motor detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

And one space over to the right sat the second 300 SL roadster; this one in a rich slate blue, equipped with european headlights.

Slate blue Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Slate blue Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_3/4 rear view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Slate blue Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster_interior detail shot_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

The last 300 SL parked on the row was this stunning dark blue on tan Gullwing coupe.

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_3/4 front view with opened hood and doors_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

 Another of the immaculately detailed engine compartments.

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_engine compartment / motor detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

The car’s interior was equally as impressive as its exterior; from the tan leather appointed trim, to its leather seats with plaid patterned inserts, matching fitted luggage and tie-down straps.

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_interior shot of seats and luggage_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_interior shot of dashboard_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

The paint job and overall finish on this car was equally mind-blowing; the color depending upon the lighting, appeared as either a very dark blue or a bluish black. I had a chance to ask the owner about this unique color and its spec name, and with a straight face he responded “its blue”… I followed that up by stating that it looked allot darker than any of the other Mercedes-Benz blues that I have seen. He then confessed that this particular shade of blue was in fact a custom color that he created, to insure that there would not be  another 300 SL Gullwing coupe painted this same color. The dark blue finish also lent itself well as a medium for capturing some incredible reflections across its flawless contours.

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_rear view with reflections_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Dark blue Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe_rear trunk, badging and reflections _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Ironically, as spectacular as this group of 300 SL’s were, there was still one more surprise awaiting. And what a surprise…

Parked on the outside of the median, just opposite of the 300 SL row, was this amazing silver 2012 Mercedes-Benz race car.

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_front view_Cars&Coffee_JUne 2, 2012

My first impression was that this must be a Mercedes-Benz spin-off model from the German DTM racing series.

However, after reading the biography information provided on the clear acrylic display,  I quickly learned that this car had been purpose-built to compete in the American based Pirelli World Challenge GT series, by the local Huntington Beach, California firm MBBS Racing, and their affiliate Evosport Engineering.

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_vehicle specifications sheet_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

While walking around the car and after shooting it from a variety of different angles, I struck up a conversation with one of the team members standing nearby. It turned out that the gentleman (Evan Chance) was in fact the race engineer /sub assembly specialist for the team, who was kind enough to share some of the back story regarding this car and the MBBS Racing / Evosport Engineering race team. During our conversation, I was introduced to Craig Stanton, the teams Lead driver and Development Manager, who is a very successful Southern California-based road racer. Craig also has the challenging task of monitoring all of the racing activities to be undertaken by Evosport Engineering.

Shortly after meeting and talking with Craig, I was then introduced to Simon Atik, a team Principal, who shared with me his and the teams excitement in building this Mercedes-Benz race car. He spoke of the teams amazing opportunity to debut a Mercedes-Benz race car into a major U.S. racing series, and the chance to compete against the Cadillac CTS/V, Volvo S60 and the Porsche GT3 Cup car; all competitors in the premier level GT class.

Evan then asked if I would like to take a closer look at the car, and in response to my reply, proceeded to open up the doors and then the rear trunk, explaining many of the details and features as we went…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Craig Stanton’s office…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_cockpit view_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_tail light, spoiler lip detail and rear wing strut_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012Out back, beneath the rear carbon fiber spoiler and massive trunk mounted rear wing, were some amazing race components…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_rear trunk detail_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Mounted on top of and plumbed off of the fuel cell was the fuel pump and filter, and framing each side of the centrally mounted fuel cell were the remote pressure reservoirs for the MCS rear shock absorbers. And the long blue anodized cylinder, mounted just to the right of the fuel cell is an accusump unit; a pressurized dry sump oil tank that will provide supplemental lubrication to the 6.3 liter V8 race motor under severe racing conditions.

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_rear trunk detail close up_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_CC Wheel race wheel,Pirelli tire and StopTech brake assembly_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Evan then mentioned that the team was just several weeks away from a test session up at Buttonwillow ( a race track located 28 mile northwest of Bakersfield, California), and how much the entire team was looking forward to getting the car out onto the track. He also stated that their goal is to have the car race ready for the last several Pirelli World Challenge GT races of this season.

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_passenger side view of interior_Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

With the event winding down, and as the crowds began to thin, it was time to button up the Mercedes and load it back into the transporter…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_low 3/4 front  view _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_Craig and Evan pushing the car to the transporter _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Evan (below), waiting for the transporter lift gate to be lowered…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car_ Evan waiting for transporter _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012The Evosport transporter…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ loading onto transporter liftgate _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ loading into transporter _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ team along for the ride _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ team along for the ride2 _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Even the undercarriage displayed the same attention to detail and finish as the rest of the car…

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ undercarriage detail,rear view _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ loading into upper level of transporter _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

MBBS /Evosport Engineering_silver Mercedes Benz CLK AMG black series race car _ rear evosport badge detail _Cars&Coffee_June 2, 2012

Based upon my conversations with the team, and having witnessed firsthand the thoroughness and attention to detail paid in the building of this race car, this is going to be a team to be reckoned with, and one that will quickly become a threat to the competition.  Stay tuned for future progress reports relating to this team…

I’d also like to give author Ray Bradbury (who passed away Tuesday, June 5) credit for the inspiration behind this weeks blog post title, taken from his 1962 book by the same name…

(All photos by the author)

10 thoughts on “Something Wicked This Way Comes …

  1. The interior of the dark blue gullwing is incredible. I love the plaid seat and bright leather contrast. Great pics!

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