The blue Mercedes Benz 680 S, model of 1928, of the Technik Museum Sinsheim was invited to attend the exclusive Concours d'Elégance et Automobile à Monte-Carlo, in late June of 2019. Since Anke and Markus, two further members of the museum had also been admitted to participate in this unique event it did not take us long to arrange a common transport. Only three cars on a covered tuck would look a bit funny since it is designed for four vehicles... And to take the compressor cars around Monaco with the volume of traffic there? No, thank you! So, what next? A small, manoeuvrable vehicle for luggage and passengers would be ideal... The truck did not leave much more room since the large Mercedes cars are rather bulky. The small, cute original Mercedes Unimog Type 401, model of 1953, will still fit backwards if the windscreen is folded down and the side panels removed ... no sooner said than done!
On 24th June 2019 the transport started from the Technik Museum Sinsheim to Monaco. Monégasques and organiser were quite amazed when the hatch of the truck was opened there: What is that? A Unimog pet on “our” Concours d'Elégance? Something like that was not invited! No, although the Unimog had not been invited there must be some use for it. And no more than half an hour later it made its impressive appearance: The Concours vehicles were unloaded at the Tennis Club of Monaco and scheduled to drive on their own wheels, without city map, turn-by-turn directions or guide car directly to the front of the Casino of Monte-Carlo. Fortunately, Niklas, a further member of the museum, is absolutely familiar with the traffic situation in Monaco. And here we go: The Unimog in front, then the Mercedes 28/25 Phaeton, followed by the Mercedes 680 S and the Mercedes SSK in tow were traversing Monaco... Fortunately, we had the Unimog in front as a scout: The police of Monaco was taken aback when they saw this convoy navigating the roundabout – they just indicated the direction, and on it went through the street canyons of Monaco. No, avoid the tunnel by all means! Before that take a left to the Casino that we reached after a short drive without traffic lights. Well done!
But where to leave the Unimog? It was not permitted, of course, to take it along onto the cordoned Concourse area. There was a parking site directly in front of our hotel where we soon found a space. The bellboy wanted to chase us off right away: “Please move the car” What ?? Our Unimog may not stay here? We are guests of the hotel, after all! Well, there is always a solution – the bellboys use to park the cars for hotel guests. The totally perplexed face of the attendant when the car for the Unimog was handed to him was priceless!! All at once it was no problem at all to park the Unimog directly in front of the Casino and the hotel between the big limos of the guests. And finally we could take care of ordering our drink. With 40° C in the shade it was the hottest day in Monaco for the last 50 years and no drinks in sight.
The next day started with a tour of the Concours vehicles through the mountains on the trail of the classic Rally Monte-Carlo around Monaco. Considering the tropical temperatures we decided to put the Unimog into the basement car park and to also leave the two Mercedes 28/95 and the S-car behind. Quite relaxed we drove to the midday picnic with a modern car. The next day was take up entirely by Concours functions, jury- and press appointments, car presentations and beautiful evening events at the Hotel de Paris and the Casino. The programme for Sunday brought the highlight: A Corso of all of the unique vehicles which had been chosen for the Concours, to attend a reception at the principality palace. Disregarding any traffic rules and escorted by police motorcycles, a batch of ten cars each was permitted to drive directly from the Casino up to the palace. In this delightful scenery the cars were presented by the drivers to await with baited breath the award of each best vehicle in its class. The lady of the manor, Princess Charlene of Monaco, awarded the prices personally, excusing Prince Albert, who was staying abroad. The First Price in the category Plein Soleil was won by Anke with the Mercedes 28/95 Phaeton, model of 1914. The First Price in the category Dans le Vent was won by Markus with his Mercedes SSK, model of 1929. What a gigantic result: we went there with 3 ½ cars, two of which were the winners in their class! To our regret, our Mercedes S-car came away empty handed and our Unimog was not even allowed to take part in the award ceremony...
All to soon these wonderful days came to an end. Our Unimog was finally waiting for us again! We parked our three Concours cars directly in front of the hotel to get our luggage but were promptly confronted with a big problem: How to ferry our voluminous luggage for 6 persons to the loading area and the truck? The bellboys were stunned at our suggestion to load the entire luggage unto the platform of the Unimog! Fully loaded top to bottom – just as on our arrival – we then traversed Monaco in line, with the Unimog as leading, vehicle up to the Monte-Carlo-Country-Club. Well, a caravan like this had never been seen by the people of Monaco before! Whether as a guide or a pack-donkey: We were just lucky to have our Unimog along! Without this faithful companion we just would have been stranded...
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