South Florida

South Florida Section

7th Annual Concours d’ Elegance

7th Annual Concours d’ Elegance

South Florida
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 11:45am
Coral Gables

7th Annual Concours d’ Elegance

Submitted by Maria Rodriguez, Communications, and Acting Newsletter Editor,
Supported by Michael Chrusch, President, South Florida Section MBCA, and
Victor Rodriguez, Vice President, South Florida Section MBCA, and
Chair of 7th Concours d’Elegance Committee

The 7th Annual Concours d’Elegance was held on Sunday, January 13, 2019 at the beautiful and classic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida. Our South Florida weather was perfect – not too cold and not too hot. This is the largest members’ event that the South Florida Section organizes, which helps start the New Year with a ‘bang’. One can absolutely say that this past Concours was definitely a ‘bang’!

How did we end up at The Biltmore Hotel? Every year the Section’s Board of Directors brainstorms around where to hold the event. The first five Concours events were held in Broward County at TY Park in Hollywood, Florida, and last year the Concours was held in Pompano Beach, which is also located in Broward County. Maria Rodriguez suggested to hold it this year in Miami. Maria contacted the Section’s biggest supporter, Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, and spoke with our liaison, Robert Corso. Instantly Robert spoke to Gregory Barnes, President and Chief Operating Officer of Bill Ussery Motors Group. Mr. Barnes was on board immediately, and began suggesting locations. Robert put Maria in touch with Denie Harris, Bill Ussery’s Marketing Director, and she recommended several venues. Along with the recommended locations Denie gave Maria the contact information for each.

The venue had to be perfect. After thorough research, and contacting the different locations, Maria chose The Biltmore Hotel, and the Committee supported her choice 100%. After communicating with Veronica Villegas Baldwin, Vice President of Kreps DeMaria PR & Marketing for The Biltmore Hotel, a meeting was scheduled with Phillippe Parodi, Vice President of Marketing & Sales for The Biltmore Hotel. As a result of this meeting, a new venue was established for the 7th Annual Concours d’Elegance, and Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables and Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay became the Section’s sponsor for this event. Together with the dealerships, and The Biltmore Hotel Marketing department, the coordinating and planning began!

Victor Rodriguez was invited to a live radio interview, arranged by Ms. Villegas, at the Richard Roffman Radio Show - Salem Miami WZAB, WKAT & WOCN, on Friday, January 11th, at 4:45 p.m. to talk about the South Florida Section Mercedes-Benz Club of America and the 7th Annual Concours d'Elegance event at The Biltmore Hotel. In attendance were also Michael Chrusch, Veronica Villegas, Lizi Wilcox, from the Coral Gables Magazine, and Mark Towbridge, President of the Coral Gables of Commerce.

The Concours Committee consisted of Victor Rodriguez, Chair, Michael Chrusch, Co-Chair, William (Bill) Harter, Co-Chair, Matthew Bell, Co-Chair, and Maria Rodriguez, Communications. Along with the Committee members, we had volunteers that helped at the event. Those volunteers were Sadri Medina, Christopher Rodriguez, Ricardo Guaqueta, Henry Ovares, Monique De Paredes, Peter Lesler, Josie Lesler, Terrence (Terry) Kiwala, Pierre Hedary, Yvonne Rodriguez, and Elena Rodriguez. Without these volunteers the event would have not been so successful. The Section appreciates and thanks this group

Let’s not forget the raffles that occurred every 30 minutes, sometimes every 20 minutes. The winners chose gifts that Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables donated to the Section. The Biltmore facilitated servers to the participants, volunteers, and spectators for easy access to obtain food. And the food was delicious. In addition to the servers, there were 2 cash bars.

After the judging was completed, and the ballots were counted, Michael Chrusch, President, and Victor Rodriguez, Vice President of the South Florida Section MBCA began to call the winners, and present the awards for each of the 7 categories.

This year we had registered 51 Mercedes-Benzes. The cars were judged based on exterior and interior categories. The judging system was based on 100 points. The judges were all certified, after taking a course given by Peter Lesler, from Mercedes-Benz Club of America. In addition to the registered Mercedes-Benzes, we had over 60 non-registered Mercedes-Benzes on display scattered around the main event. These owners’ took pride in sharing their beautiful cars for everyone else to see. In addition to everything else, Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables and Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay brought some of their most beautiful cars for display. It truly was an all-out Mercedes-Benz extravaganza!

It was a busy morning from when the first Mercedes-Benz arrived, driven by Don Benedetto, from Naples, FL, to the last Mercedes-Benz driven by Marcos Maldonado, from Davie, FL. The excitement, the buzz, the laughter, and the apprehension of who was going to win an award was all in the air. There were so many spectators/bystanders/onlookers, including Mr. Barnes, Mr. Corzo, Mr. Luis Gutierrez, General Manager of Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay, and Mr. Richard Rothman from Richard Roffman Radio Show - Salem Miami WZAB, WKAT & WOCN, who were very happy and appreciative to have attended such event. The Concours brings together Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts, from all over, and they all share one thing, the love and admiration for the Mercedes-Benz automobile.

The South Florida Section’s 7th Annual Concours d’Elegance Committee would like to thank all that made this the best Concours d’Elegance possible. The committee looks forward to the 8th Annual Concours d’Elegance to be held sometime in early January 2020!

The winners of the 7th Annual Concours d’Elegance were:

Class I – AMG & CLS    
1st Place 2011 C197 Jerry Aguirre
2nd Place (a tie) 2017 S63 AMG Cabriolet William (Bill) Harter
2nd Place (a tie) 2018 C63 AMG (Darwin edition) George Ramirez
3rd Place (a tie) 2011 S63 AMG Michael Chrusch
3rd Place (a tie) 2019 CLS 450C Hank Webb


Class 2 – SL 1957 – 1976    
1st Place 1970 280 SL Bruce & Sherri Rubin
2nd Place 1964 230 SL Matias Sanchez (Gaston Rossato)
3rd Place 1975 450SLC Jorge Del Rosal


Class 2.5 - Modified    
1st Place 1967 250S Hedi Enghelberg
2nd Place 1979 280 CE Hedi Enghelberg


Class 3 – SL 1977 - 1989    
1st Place 1986 560 SL Stephen Greco
2nd Place 1988 560 SL Scott Horne
3rd Place 1987 560 SL Gabriel Znidarcic


CLASS 4 – SL & SLK 1990 - 2019    
1st Place 1999 500 SL Henry Ovares
2nd Place 2003 500 SL Michael Werner
3rd Place 2002 500 SL Jesus R. Porrata


CLASS 5 – COUPES, CABS, & SEDANS 1958 - 1972    
1st Place 1971 280 SE Richard Hoppe
2nd Place 1960 220SE Harvey Mattel
3rd Place 1971 300 SEL 6.3 Dennis Puening


CLASS 6 – COUPES, CABS, & SEDANS 1973 - 1991    
1st Place 1991 420 SEL Robert Paulsen
2nd Place 1990 560 SEC AMG Juan Carlos Fernandez
3rd Place 1989 560 SEC Raul Bosque


CLASS 7 – COUPES, CABS, & SEDANS 1992 - 2019    
1st Place 320 SLK Sherry Werner
2nd Place 2009 S550 Sadri Manrique Medina
3rd Place 1993 190E 2.3 Saul Rosa


1st Place 1971 280 SE Richard Hoppe


1st Place 1958 Adenauer Guy Lewis


Photographs provided by:

Matias Scolnik, Robert Corzo, Veronica Villegas, Phillippe Parodi, Ricardo Guaqueta, Maria Rodriguez, Marc Salerno, Ratih Simmons, and Yvonne Rodriguez. Thank you!