More than 23,000 Mercedes-Benz car enthusiasts showed up at the
Classic Center during its grand opening weekend in May, 1993.
Mercedes-Benz defines "oldtimer" cars as vehicles that have been
out of production for 20 years or more. (The company has been building cars
The company has a satellite Classic Center in Irvine,
California, and is planning a third center in Shanghai, China.
Currently, some 40,000 parts are available from the Classic
Center. (36,000 can be shipped from stock; parts for extremely old or rare cars
can be made to order, using drawings and other data from the corporate
Every year, the Classic Center receives some 30,000 parts
The Classic Center also supplies copies of hard-to-find parts lists, workshop handbooks, owners' manuals,
technical data manuals, and maintenance booklets.
The Classic Center buys, restores, and sells about 80 classic
cars per year. (About 40 percent of the workshop's restoration work is for the
Mercedes-Benz Museum and other clients within the company; 60 percent is for
A typical restoration (for example, of a 600 Series sedan) might
take one to 1½ years and cost up to €750,000.
Restored cars have a three-year
warranty. With proper care, a restored vehicle should last 50 years.
The Classic Center's workshop also restores Formula 1 race cars
from the previous year. (F1 cars are considered "oldtimers" after just one
season of racing.)
In its first 10 years of operation, the Classic Center did some
250 complete or partial car restorations. The largest job was a complete
restoration of a W196 Streamliner racing car from 1954, which took five
Mechanics at the Classic Center are normally hired from
within the company. The typical mechanic has 25 to 30 years of experience.
Classic Center mechanics have the authority to seek help from
Mercedes-Benz's 7,000 master mechanics, apprentices, and engineers when they
encounter problems with parts or materials. They're also able to consult with
experts at Stuttgart's university without asking permission from higher-ups.