On the week end of the 16th and 17th March 2013 enthusiast’s and owners of the Pagoda Cars, Mercedes-Benz W113 230-250 & 280 SL’s from 1963 through to 1971 gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of this Iconic shaped car at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1963.

Cars known internationally and named at introduction by the press and public are a Mercedes-Benz phenomena, think Gullwing and Pagoda.

50th anniversary events and Rallies were organised by clubs and groups all around the world. In New Zealand a group of 16 Cars gathered at 10am on the Saturday morning to be the first event to start. 2 hours ahead of the Australian event in Canberra.

16 Cars left the meeting points in South Auckland and Hamilton. 16 W113’s was a fabulous turn out given our population size and at the time of writing not surpassed any were else in the world. Our converging routes set by Jack Nazer took us through the winding hill country back roads south of port Waikato and to Woodlands by Gordonton for lunch.

The Café at Woodlands has a typical village green cricket field that gave us the ideal setting and space to park and arrange the cars for that special photo opportunity that this type of event offers and will never be repeated. 16 Pagodas in one place at one time in New Zealand just an amazing sight!
The setting also gave each participant the opportunity to closely inspect all the cars and vote for the car they would like to drive home in.

By mid-afternoon we were all away on the rally route through the Hauraki plains to Paeroa, Waihi, Whangamata, Tairua and on to Whitianga. All cars arrived on time and running perfectly as they should.
The anniversary dinner was at Salt restaurant in Whitianga a 2 minute walk from the hotel. The evening started with drinks on the terrace where the day’s drive was thoroughly discussed and analysed. An excellent dinner followed with the usual speeches and presentations.

Sunday morning it was raining, no one seemed to mind, the 3 month drought had broken and the air was fresh for the drive to Hahei and the Lead Foot ranch and its by now famous hill climb drive way.
We were hosted by Rod Millen with an inspection of the exotic machinery assembled for the Lead Foot festival that was run the week after our visit. The drive up to the summit was controlled in the wet conditions. The views out to sea from up there were just magnificent.

We exited down the drive and back on to the rally route through to Coromandel town and up the coast to Thames. All gathered at a Café for lunch then it was all over.

A fabulous 2 days of fun, comradeory, stories and driving our very special Pagodas.

Garry Boyce