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Terry Kiwala

I now know what a road warrior really is. This summer, I traveled to multiple regions and visited with MBCA Section members and have quite the stories and fond memories to share with you. At all these events there was one common thread: The tireless service that our members put forth in support of our enthusiast community.
In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Julie Bruggner and Jason Bogart organized a great defensive driving and autocross event in July that helped members improve their driving skills. Their section promoted the event on social media and we signed up several new club members that morning. I could not come close to Julie’s time on the course. Thankfully I was not competing –  because I hate to lose.

At the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s, John Briggs and Michael Salemi gathered members in a first-class venue to celebrate excellent automobiles. My favorite part of the weekend was my conversation with Guy Lewis, and Stuart Doane who restored Guy’s truly spectacular 12,000-mile 1970 600 LWB limousine. Guy transported his car from Florida and earns high marks for his consistently well-prepared Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Guy’s dedication to the preservation of important M-B vehicles will well serve the MBCA in years to come.

Guy Lewis and Stuart Doane with Terry Kiwala at Concours of America

In Kansas City, John and Donna Ryan and Dudley and Joyce Smith put on an incredibly challenging defensive driving/autocross event with help from the Smiths’ son, Ned, who managed the instruction. There were some remarkable performances that day, including one from Jason Burton, who drove 500 miles from Chicago. Jason produces an award-winning newsletter and he gets to hear all my MBCA stories in the corridors of the Hancock (he lives 35 floors away from my Chicago residence).

At Seattle Section’s Show and Shine, Ian and Linda Gleadle arrived early in the morning to stage cars and ensure all members were well fed. They worked tirelessly to make sure that proper recognition and thanks were given to the 60 members who brought their cars to participate in the event. It was also good to finally meet Barry Corno, who drives a lot to club events – his 380SEC was also at Legends of the Autobahn and has logged nearly 590,000 miles. Barry, I’m only 230,000 miles behind you!

At Legends of the Autobahn, MBCA Vice President Laura Simonds outdid herself in welcoming members to enjoy a celebration of cars during the Monterey Classic Car Week. Uber-MBCA member Jeff Wong showed remarkable enthusiasm by bringing six concours-quality cars to the event, including the cleanest 190E 16-valve I have ever seen. Jeff was so enthusiastic, he even made shirts for friends who assisted him in transporting these cars from Los Angeles. I was thrilled to receive a shirt from Jeff and wore it proudly; I expect to see more of Jeff’s marvelous cars at MBCA events in the future.

St. Louis Gateway Section’s Rick and Patti Siefert and Bob and Kay Frank gathered a group of high-performance cars and their drivers for a really fun defensive driving and autocross school August. I was the coach in a few SL65s, and let me tell you – the power of those cars is unreal.

At European Classics East, Oliver and Gloria Seligman welcomed me into their picturesque home and we talked everything MBCA for an entire evening. At the event, I was impressed by Bob Bersh’s story of his son’s gift of a pristine 1970 280SE convertible. And Jerry Robinson’s flawless 230SL set the bar extremely high for every Pagoda I will see in the future.

At these events, our Airstream friends have been right there with us, showcasing their products and engaging members in conversation – members who later walk away saying, “I want one” – myself included.

I am continuing to travel the country, meeting members and seeing the pride in their cars. I am humbled by the amount of effort and passion that members expend making sure that their friends and fellow members enjoy the MBCA experience. It has been a fun summer and I look forward to attending many more events where members show their enthusiasm and proudly serve the MBCA.