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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-03-2014, 08:42 AM
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I am a member of the PCA and MBCA. My local MBCA chapter has events but they tend to be museum tours, dinners, concours, events at the dealership etc. I am not actively involved.
My PCA chapter is very active. They are a blast. We do have museum tours and such but we also do drives, sometimes, spirited drives. Also track events, autocrosses etc. If the MBCA did something similar, it would draw younger members and increase interest. I can see SL's, SLK's etc in autocrosses. I am sure touring events would suit the larger sedans and SUV's. We also have technical sessions that draw a crowd.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-03-2014, 10:03 AM
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-03-2014, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael Pillay View Post
I am a member of the PCA and MBCA. My local MBCA chapter has events but they tend to be museum tours, dinners, concours, events at the dealership etc. I am not actively involved.
My PCA chapter is very active. They are a blast. We do have museum tours and such but we also do drives, sometimes, spirited drives. Also track events, autocrosses etc. If the MBCA did something similar, it would draw younger members and increase interest. I can see SL's, SLK's etc in autocrosses. I am sure touring events would suit the larger sedans and SUV's. We also have technical sessions that draw a crowd.
Pretty much this. They don't need to stop what they're doing, just make it more diverse. I'm only 21, granted I don't belong to any clubs, but the older folks who drive the Mercedes where I live tend to frown upon my C-Class which is lowered on springs. When I drive the S Class which is completely stock they compliment it. I appreciate and love both the OEM and aftermarket. It's not to say I wouldn't enjoy the events they offer, but I couldn't see myself enjoying them when it's the only thing they do.

Unfortunately It's a generation gap, every generation is set in its own ways, but as generations progress they seem more willing to accept the new generations ways. Unfortunately I think the MBCA is dominated by a generation completely stuck in their ways and thinking and doing things. I think so much so that the club will just dissapear one day.

It's not just MBCA that faces these problems. There's a group of local enthusiasts where I live in Florida that host weekly events, I wouldn't say they are a club, but it's dominated by the older generation who criticise and ridicule anything that isn't exactly like their cars, and because of that their events went from 40+ people a week to about 8.

There's also clubs like VW that do market to the younger generation, and last time i checked their membership was massive.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Some very thoughtful replies here, thanks for taking the time folks. A couple of you mentioned something I had not considered before, how drivers of altered or even entry-level models are sometimes shunned. I drive vintage but it was owning a W202 that got me hooked on MB, so that "lowly" model led directly to my purchase of the '62 W111. I am the youngest member in our local club as far as I can tell, and I was also judged somewhat harshly when I first approached the local members at an event but before I joined. I felt a reverse age discrimination of sorts, so I can relate to these scenarios.

We really do need to greet younger folks with C-classes and CLKs on rims with matte paint jobs or whatever the case, they are enjoying their cars as much as the rest of us. I will admit that I often think about how the Benz crowd is among the least open minded to changing anything on a car, the paint must be original color code, correct everything from mats to options for each individual year, don't put something from a '66 on a '67 even tho there may be just a slight difference that only a concours judge would care about.

Excellent conversation, the future is definitely still yet to be written!

-Marrs

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-27-2014, 03:45 PM
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 06:37 AM
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I joined the MBCA for the forum when I bought my first SL. The forum was lively and informative. With the changes that have been made to the physical layout and use to the posting rules that were recently changed to members only, I will let my membership lapse when it expires in about 30 days. The only posts in the recent past are few and from the same people. My local branch of MBCA - Desert Stars is great and I do love the Star but these are not enough for me. My dealers around me do not offer any discount for members hence no more membership. I am one of those old, fat, white guys that seem to run the club and no longer feel welcome on the forum.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-13-2014, 11:54 PM
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MBCA is populated by a dying breed. The codgers are from the era when you could actually work on a car, and many of them did as young men. The Gen X boys came of age with K cars, detroit junk, and ricers that do not inspire. There was nothing to do under the hoods, so dressing them up and lowering the car is what was left. Coffee can mufflers and blasting stereos in a Civic or Scirocco spring to mind. These guy never were auto enthusiasts, they were fashionistas of new wave and grunge.

The young are even less mechanically inclined. As the cars become driverless, it stops mattering what body the four wheels support. As it is, all the cars have come to look the same. The car culture has died out, and with it the need for car clubs. What calls to the mechanically inclined is the Rat Rod, which retains the spirit of automotive history. The current crop of cars from Germany are pedestrian and uninspired to these buyers.

That said, my oldest child learned to drive in a Benz, helped me work on a classic Benz from the 1970s, and decided that the car that suited him best was a Benz as old as he is. I signed him up for MBCA, but doubt he will be enthralled by the options the local club offers. He also has to work weekends to keep the car on the road, so has no time to engage in club activities. Maybe in a few years he will find the opportunity, and changes at MBCA will make it more welcoming to the younger owners.

Clay

74 450SL - Froggy
'02 s320 - Victor
'76 300D - Voldemort
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'72 220D - Gump
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 08:07 AM
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MBCA is populated by a dying breed. The codgers are from the era when you could actually work on a car, and many of them did as young men. The Gen X boys came of age with K cars, detroit junk, and ricers that do not inspire. There was nothing to do under the hoods, so dressing them up and lowering the car is what was left. Coffee can mufflers and blasting stereos in a Civic or Scirocco spring to mind. These guy never were auto enthusiasts, they were fashionistas of new wave and grunge.

The young are even less mechanically inclined. As the cars become driverless, it stops mattering what body the four wheels support. As it is, all the cars have come to look the same. The car culture has died out, and with it the need for car clubs. What calls to the mechanically inclined is the Rat Rod, which retains the spirit of automotive history. The current crop of cars from Germany are pedestrian and uninspired to these buyers.

That said, my oldest child learned to drive in a Benz, helped me work on a classic Benz from the 1970s, and decided that the car that suited him best was a Benz as old as he is. I signed him up for MBCA, but doubt he will be enthralled by the options the local club offers. He also has to work weekends to keep the car on the road, so has no time to engage in club activities. Maybe in a few years he will find the opportunity, and changes at MBCA will make it more welcoming to the younger owners.
I agree and disagree at the same time. With the technology in todays engines there is so much more you can do, but you have to have the skill set to do it, it's not just turning wrenches anymore. That said, yes, alot of people just lower their cars but that doesn't make them any less of a enthusiast. If they like their car enough to try and make it stand out, to me that makes them a enthusiast. The difference between people like you, me, and the "ricers" is we have mroe of a skill set, we grew up learning on older cars turning wrenches etc.
The difference between you and me, is I'm 21, but I do alot more then just "Coffee can mufflers and blasting stereos" I'm actually personally not a fan of the fart cans. I have the knowledge and training to turn the wrenches and fiddle with the computers in todays cars. I've made my own tunes and mapped ECUs in my own cars. I went to school and had training for it though, but when i was younger i picked up a few tricks from the older generation to.
The difference between me and MBCA, is I'm willing to share my knowledge to the best of my ability, admit when I'm wrong, and basically all around have a willingness to learn and share with other people regardless of age or taste in cars and mods.

MBCA seems content to be hermits living in a cave. It's rare they accept new ideas, or share their experiences with anyone younger then them. They isolate themselves from the younger generation in fear of change. My local MBCA chapter in Orlando is actually relatively small, but my experience with them has been wonderful. There's a few older gentalmen who have the snobbish attitude of "Why would you do that to your car" but on a whole my personal experience has been good face to face. When you hop on the forums it's a different story, to me it's like ringing a door bell, someone opening the door and ripping the welcome mat right out from under your feet. That's been my experience on the MBCA forums.

I believe everyone is open to their oppinions. That said, I will never let a member of MBCA or anyone in general effect what I do to my car. At the end of the day it's my car, and it makes me happy. The mods I do are what I like, and to hell with anyone who tries to tell me it's wrong. It brings a smile to my face and that's why we all do what we do, because it makes us happy. I drive a lowered Mercedes C280, with a loud ass remus exhaust that upsets my neighbors.

My "generation" is rebellious because we don't do exactly what's expected of us by the older "generation" we don't do things the way they did it so we are rebles and houligans. The MBCA forum is truly the stereotype of a old guy yelling "get of my lawn you damned kids"
I hate to say it again, but MBCA WILL SHUTDOWN, unless they accept change.

1997 C280 Sport - Stripped Interior, Custom headers, high flow cat, resonator delete, remus muffler, E55 front Brakes. Currently Porting+Polishing C36 Head.

2003 E320 - Custom X-Pipe + Resonator Delete, Highflow Cats, C63 Mufflers, K&N Drop Ins.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 12:35 PM
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Car enthusiasts have traditionally fallen into two camps:

(1) Concours obsessives. These guys like cars in showroom condition. They value originality and cleanliness above all. These folks are generally interested in show-n-shine type events where they can present their (spotless) babies to the world. Maybe they'll do a gentle "fall foliage" driving tour on a sunny weekend, but that's about all. For them, there are two kinds of club events: car shows or wine-and-cheese holiday parties. The MBCA currently does a good job appealing to this this crowd.

(2) Hotrodders. These guys love to modify their cars in various ways. Sure, they want their cars to be clean and well-presented, but looking cool and being fast are always more important. In the USA, this basically meant straight-line racing on the strip or street. In Europe, it meant participating in road rallies, hillclimbs, and time trials. Today, most of these guys are doing a mix of auto-cross, HPDE, open track events, and club racing. The MBCA holds essentially zero appeal to this crowd.

These days, we've added a category...

(3) The "stance" crowd. They fall somewhere in between the concours and hotrod folks. Some are more into the driving/performance aspect (e.g., drifters, time attackers) and some are more into the social aspect (e.g., hard-parkers, dB draggers). The MBCA practically chases these guys away with a broom.

Anyway...

For a club to be successful, you've got to figure out who your audience is so you can target activities that will interest them. In my view, the MBCA is clearly too far on the concours weenie side of the road for long-term success.

Why? Cars are getting less and less important to people. Besides, a modern Benz is highly unlikely to survive 40 years--let alone remain in showroom condition. So who's going to care enough about it to polish the tailpipe with a Q-Tip? If that's your business model, you're done for.

You need to create an inclusive atmosphere in which young a enthusiast driving a 12-year-old C230 Kompressor on 18" Carlsson alloys, KW coilovers, and Megasquirt feels just as welcome as the guy who spent his retirement savings doing a frame-off restoration on his W113 280SL who feels just as welcome as the orthodontist who just leased his second SLS AMG.

If the MBCA fails to change with the times, you might as well replace your membership ID card with this:

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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 09:08 PM
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I wrote an article to that effect for my local chapter. The old guard needs to welcome the young bucks, or we are going to have no club at all. I may not like the design cues from the more recent cars, and argue about how "they don't make 'em like they use to", but I do not have to own the new stuff. I do not even have to think what you chose to do to make your car unique is pretty, but I do want to support your enthusiasm for the marque.



My "generation" is rebellious because we don't do exactly what's expected of us by the older "generation" we don't do things the way they did it so we are rebles and houligans. The MBCA forum is truly the stereotype of a old guy yelling "get of my lawn you damned kids"
I hate to say it again, but MBCA WILL SHUTDOWN, unless they accept change.[/QUOTE]

Clay

74 450SL - Froggy
'02 s320 - Victor
'76 300D - Voldemort
'95 E300D - Cleo
'72 220D - Gump
'87 300SDL - POS SDL

92 300SE - #1 boys ride
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