Hero Awards

Mr Kobus Harris 2016

Kobus Harris het as ‘n jong seun ‘n 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S wat in Mosselbaai was bewonder, min het hy geweet dat hy daardie einste 220S in 1984 sou koop @ R1000…….sy eerste ou “Merc”.
Daarna volg ‘n 1954 180 Ponton LHD. Later die jaar koop hy by KYA Auctioneers in Johannesburg sysilver 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL wat toe later rooi word.
In 1986, word hy genooi om deel te neem aan die Total FIVA tydren. Op daardie stadium behoort hy aan geen klub en om te kwalifiseer sluit hy toe by Pretoria Ou Motor Klub aan.
Tydens die tydren ondervind hy petrolpomp probleme. Hy word verwys na Steve Rademeyer, President van die Mercedes-Benz Klub, wat hom dadelik behulpsaam was deur sy Ponton Cabriolet se pomp vir hom te leen.
Op Steve se aanbeveling word hy toe in 1987 lid M0835 van MBKSA. As gevolg van afstand kon hy nie gereeld klub byeenkomste bywoon nie en het toe by die nuutgestigte Suidkaap Ou Motor Klub aangesluit.
In 1995 begin hy die MBKSA se Suid-Kaap Streek. Die eerste byeenkoms, ‘n bring en braai by de Bakke in Mosselbaai was goed verteenwoordig. Sien Benz Lens Desember 2016.
Die res is geskiedenis……..
Waldo Scribante

Mr Norman Hickel 2017

Norman Hickel did an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic with the old Road Transport Services of the South African Railways and then went on to Diesel Electric to repair injector pumps.    
Norman married Jill in 1969 and his association with Mercedes-Benz in the early 1970’s when he joined MBSA as a Commercial Vehicle Assembly Process Engineer at the CDA Factory in East London.
He also worked at MBSA’s Head Office in Pretoria and spent some time in Germany as well.
After returning to MBSA East London, Norman retired from MBSA in 2003.
In his earlier days, he raced Go-Carts and did a bit of off-roading. Being a petrol head, he got involved with the old car movement in East London.
He joined the Mercedes-Benz Club of SA in 1988 and has been a very well-liked and invaluable member with a great sense of humour. He keenly assists everyone with his technical knowledge when servicing or repairing especially the older vehicles.
Having owned several classic cars, Norman has a wealth of knowledge across all ranges from; among others a pre-war 170V, Ponton, 190E2.3-16 etc. and his latest acquisition an SLK320.       
Having close links with the plant even now in his retirement, has given Norman the opportunity to stay in touch with the heritage cars owned by MBSA and of course the three wheeled Benz Patent Motorwagen, which he knows particularly well.
With his incredible technical knowledge, his humour and willingness to help certainly makes Norman a very special and invaluable member of the Eastern Cape Region, and this Hero Award for Norman is very fitting. 
Erald Hohls

Mr Louis Coetzer 2017

The Central region is very fortunate in having a member with one of the largest collections of classic cars in the country. This collector has more than a 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles, some of them with a rich and colourful history. An example of this is a 1951 Mercedes-Benz ‘bakkie’; former Foreign Affairs Minister, Pik Botha’s, 300SE sedan, and King Moshoeshoe II’s 600 Grosser limousine. By now all should realize that we are referring to Louis Coetzer from Bloemfontein. 
He started collecting at a very young age, whilst still in primary school, but as he could not afford the cars at that stage, he started buying and collecting Dinky Toys.  He also went from scrapmetal yard to scrapmetal yard in order to buy wheelcaps – at that stage for 1c each.  These Dinky toys were his companions and playmates until he was in Matric and according to him, girls were not a priority at that stage.  This apparently changed in 1971 – 46 years ago – when he married his wife, Hermien.  It is quite common knowledge that you will be able to buy a Mercedes-Benz from Louis, but not a wheelcaps or a Dinky toy!
He realized the value of the Mercedes-Benz brand in the middle 1980’s and from there his collection of old beauties just flourished, his favourite being a 1968 250 SE Cabriolet. He joined the Mercedes-Benz Club in 2003 and has been a stalwart in the Club ever since.  He and his wife handled the membership duties for approximately 3 years and he has also served as the Chairman of the Central region for quite a number of years.
His passion for the brand is widely known and he shares this freely with all who are interested in all things classic car related.  Many an article has been published on his collection, even in popular international magazines such as the Mercedes-Benz Enthusiast and he truly is an ambassador for the club and the brand. 
The members of the Central Region as well as the Mercedes-Benz Club of SA would like to thank Louis for all that he has done for the Region and the Club. 
Annalie Kachelhoffer

Mr Chris Carlisle-Kitz 2017

Chris Carlisle-Kitz has been an old car fanatic and enthusiast all his life. He grew up in East Africa in the 1950’s when the motor car played an important role in life. Watching racing at a local track in Nairobi from the age of five and thinking that he was helping his dad build an Austin seven racer before he could handle a spanner. The East African Safari was almost an institution which he became passionate about. Today he has created a small museum dedicated to the Safari. Chris has nearly finished the building of a Mercedes 220SEb which competed in three Safaris. At University in the UK during the 1960’s he enjoyed the golden age of the cars which were to become today’s classics. Club racing and rallying with these cars was the order of the day. He got hooked on restoring old cars and amongst several others that he played around with he finally built a Concours quality 190SL which he brought with him when he came back to Africa in 1972. 
A lifetime of building and repairing old cars as well as creating Concours winners out of old wrecks became his passion. He has owned classics of all descriptions from entry level cars to highly desirable collector vehicles. Top of the list was a 1965 230SL which he restored and owned for 33 years. 
In the 1990’s he owned a panel beating and spray painting business which specialized in the repair of Classic Cars. 
Today, Chris is rebuilding a 1963 Mercedes-Benz W111 sedan and a rare 1958 Mercedes-Benz Ponton bakkie. Chris has become so involved in the history and specifications of the Ponton bakkie that he thinks that he is a world expert on this rare vehicle!
In 1979, he joined in with three other young enthusiasts who tried to start a Mercedes Club in KZN. Not really knowing what they were doing their valiant efforts were soon on the rocks! 
Chris has been member of the Vintage Sports Car Club since 1976. He was Chairman of the KZN Region of the Mercedes Benz Club of South Africa for seven years, a member of the Club’s Executive Committee and serve as one of the Club’s official valuators. He also served as a Concours d ‘Elegance judge. He is also a member of the Sports Car Club of South Africa and Historic Racing South Africa where he is a passionate participant on the South African Historic Racing Circuit. He raced two different Mercedes race cars and now competes with a purpose built 1962 Ford Corsair and a 1962 Ford Anglia. Last weekend he won the Little Giants class of the Legends of the 9 Hour event at Kyalami. 
Chris is keen to get younger people involved in the old car scene and within the Club and on the race track. Plans are already in place for this to happen.
Anna-Lee dos Santos

Mr Maxim Erdmann (posthumous) 2017

I met Maxim Erdmann as a member of the Mercedes-Benz Club of South Africa. At that time we were both serving on the National Committee as Chairmen of our respective regions.  Maxim and I bonded instantly, as he did with most of his fellow club members. We particularly shared our mutual love for a finny and I remember his and Chris’s adventure with Bonita and later with Emilio.
Maxim joined the Club in 2006, became Regional Chairman of the Northern region in 2008, and hosted very successfully in 2010 the Club’s 25th Anniversary AGM and National Gathering in Gauteng.
Maxim was an active, contributing member of the Club and was well known to many of us across all the Club’s regions.  Maxim’s geniality transcended the regional structures, but he was a passionate supporter and organiser of the Northern Region.
Maxim remained at all times a Mercedes-Benz authority and a dyed-in-the-wool enthusiast of the marque.
Maxim’s cheerful demeanour, keen wit, fun-loving nature and “can-do” attitude will be missed in the Club and in the racing circles in which he keenly participated. 
It is incredibly sad that Maxim’s life ended so soon and I cannot put into words how much we will miss him. Even though Maxim may be gone, his memory will live on in all of us forever. Maxim, we appreciate your friendship and camaraderie and will never forget you.
Maxim was a true gentleman, a hero of the Club.
Waldo Scribante