As car lovers within driving distance of Pacific prepare for the 15th annual downtown Pacific Car Show June 24, one vintage vehicle is already on display at a local showroom surrounded by motorcycles.
A duplicate of former Beatle John Lennon’s 1979 cream-colored Mercedes Benz station wagon sits on the floor of Dave Clark’s Forever Endeavor Cycles at 518 E. Osage.
It was the last vehicle Lennon owned and the first Mercedes Benz station wagon shipped to North America.
Described by friends as being ambivalent about vehicles, Lennon purchased the original cream-colored Mercedes Benz 300 TD touring diesel station wagon to haul around his guitars and recording equipment in 1979 after his chauffeur complained that his 1972 Chrysler Town & Country wagon was worn out.
Yoko Ono flipped through Mercedes catalogs and found the station wagon. There was one problem. The vehicle was not equipped for the American market, but for Lennon an exception was made.
Mercedes U.S. contacted Mercedes in Germany who got hold of a dealer in Stuttgart to find a 300 TD, get it ready for the American market and ship it to New York.
Lennon paid $30,000 for the vehicle, a hefty sum at the time.
Dave Clark bought the duplicate in Grinnell, Iowa, last year when the estate of a vehicle collector went up for sale.
Clark and his wife, Nicklette, operate Forever Endeavor Cycles, which serves a BMW motorcycles clientele in the 55 and over age group. As a BMW motorcycle dealer, the auctioneers invited Clark to bid on the collection.
“They found me online because of the motorcycles and asked me to bid on the entire collection,” Clark said.
In the collection were four BMW motorcycles, including a 1968 Red R69 US special edition that is parked near the front door of the dealership. Three other BMW motorcycles include a 1968 R66 with a Stiev sidecar, a 1973 R75-5 and a 1979 R65.
The collector also happened to own a 1986 Vixen motor home with a BMW turbo diesel engine that was part of the deal.
“Only 578 of those were made,” Clark said. “With that BMW engine they got 25-30 miles per gallon, which was pretty good for a motor home.”