Legendary and doomed blues-rocker Janis Joplin famously sang:
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz
It was the last cut on her 1970 “Pearl” album, which was released after she died – and was last complete track she recorded.
Her wish for a Mercedes-Benz came up short: Days later, her producer found the body of the hard-living singer after noticing her car at the Hollywood motel where she had been staying: It was a Porsche 356 Cabriolet.
But give Joplin credit for wanting the best: The Mercedes is one of the longest-lasting brands of luxury cars around.
And you can see dozens of classic models on display Aug. 22 at Shelton Vineyards, less than 90 minutes north of Charlotte, just off Interstate 77 Exit 93.
The German auto manufacturer Daimler – which produced what’s considered the first gas-powered car in 1886 – marketed the first Mercedes in 1901. A 1926 merger with the company owned by another pioneer, Karl Benz, resulted in the model’s hyphenated name.
The Mercedes-Benz has long been highly prized for innovation and quality. Adolph Hitler owned one that featured a bullet-proof windshield.
Besides making one of the top-selling luxury cars in the world, Mercedes-Benz also makes vans, trucks and buses. Their plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., makes SUVS, but not luxury sedans.
This is the sixth year for the Mercedes-Benz Auto Show at the Dobson area winery; last year there were 70 MBs displayed, and Shelton Vineyards is anticipating more this year. The cars will be scattered around the grounds. Many of the MBs exhibited are of relatively modern vintage, though over the years some exceedingly well-preserved octogenarians have been displayed.
The Triangle section of the Mercedez-Benz Club of America got the show going. It struck the right note with the winemakers: The vineyard owners, brothers Charlie and Ed Shelton, have owned MBs for years, according to John Gillespie, VP of operations there.
You’re welcome to bring your own MB and show it off; there will be a judged Street Class Concours.
There’s no cost to come for a look-see and compare notes with MB owners.
This year’s MB Auto Show coincides with the winery’s 15th anniversary; case specials and new releases will be available that Saturday. A special lunch menu on the Harvest Grill terrace will honors the MBs gathered for the day.
Tours and tastings at Shelton Vineyards that day are $5 per person – the usual fee.
Luxury on 4 wheels
Mercedes-Benz Auto Show hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 22. Admission: free. Shelton Vineyards is at 286 Cabernet Lane, Dobson. Details: www.sheltonvineyards.com