Rallye with an electric classic? Yes we can!
MIB Rallye 2023 in the electric classic eSL
In the past few months we have been on the road a lot with the Monceau eSL, from August till October we have participated at events, drove a rally, visited Mercedes-Benz in Sindelfingen and charged at the boulevard in Knokke during De Zoute Grand prix. In total more than 4.000 kilometers of electric classic motoring. Often we get the question whether it's possible to do a classic car rallye or another oldtimer tour with an electric classic car. Well, the short answer is: Yes you can! Monceau Automobiles demonstrated that the proof of the pudding is in the eating and participated in the Mercedes-Fans.de MIB Rallye 2023. In total our team drove more than 600 kilometers in 48 hours and crossed the border between The Neteherlands and Germany several times.
Start at the Rhine village of Wesel
Around 50 teams made their way to the Lower Rhine on the last weekend of September to take part in the 8th MIB Rally! The meeting point on Friday evening was the 4-star Welcome Hotel in Wesel, right on the banks of the Rhine. The weather was truly a dream! Towards the afternoon, the teams rolled up with their sometimes unusual vehicles. As with the Mercedes Schöne Sterne Festival, everyone who drives a star is welcome at the MIB rally, regardless of the model series or year of manufacture. Vehicles from the smart, Setra or Maybach brands are also always very welcome. And also our electric classic was warmly welcomed by all the other participants, being the only electric vehicle that joined the ranks.
Impressive starting field
Monceau already participated in 2021 with the Magnitite Blue eSLC coupe in a splendid starting field. And once again this year, the range of models spanned many decades. The SL series were particularly well represented this year. From the Pagoda, R107 and R129 to the R230, there were numerous SLs. But GT, GTR, Black Series as well as 124s and 201s were also at the start. There were simply too many to list them all here. Perhaps a W111 Coupé, which is equipped with a 5.5-liter V8 engine and now produces a monstrous 360 hp, deserves special mention here. This vehicle was built by our collaegues from Mechatronik. Particularly striking and a real show this year was a Maybach 57 SC Coupé, built by Xenatec. There are probably not 10 examples of this rare conversion in the world. All the greater was the amazement of all! No one has ever seen this spectacular vehicle in the wild! This also applies to the eSL, which is also already a rarity and attracted attention whereever we went, especially while charging!
From Mercedes-Benz ASV to Waalwijk classics
After a relaxed get-together on Friday evening in the saloon of the Welcome Hotel, we set off early on Saturday morning! The first destination on the stage was Mercedes-Benz ASV in Eindhoven. Over the years, ASV has developed into the leading Mercedes-Benz dealer in the Netherlands. ASV opened its own showroom for the MIB rally teams and presented the service drive-in, which is probably unique in the Netherlands. In the rallye it was however used as a rally assignment rather than the service functionality.
Afterwards, the teams, who had to drive strictly according to a road book with route specifications, continued on to E&R Classics in Waalwijk. E&R Classics always has a huge selection of classic cars from a wide range of brands. The colorful range of the Dutch company captivated almost all teams and also the Monceau team. Unfortunately no electric classics to seen on one of the two exhibition floors.
Is charging an issue?
To be honest with an electric classic you have to prepare a rallye a bit more in terms of charging options than with a petrol car. Think of it a bit like travelling as in the old days, where you sometimes needed to look in your road book for petrol stations. However while rallying through Germany and the Netherlands, charging is available at a lot of places. We were able to charge next to the hotel in Wesel at 22 kW, we then charged again at ASV in Eindhoven and on the last day there were more than ten chargers available at Kalkar Wunderland. So no range anxiety for the Monceau Team!
The 3rd and final stage of the MIB rally started on Sunday morning in good shape. Once again, the teams crossed the German-Dutch border and arrived at Wunderland in Kalkar at lunchtime. By the way: there are always checkpoints on the routes where the participants have to complete certain tasks.
These can be driving tests, but also historical tests. Once they arrived in Kalkar, the final challenge and probably the toughest test awaited the participants. Here, the vehicles had to be maneuvered backwards through a slalom course in order to get into a parking space in the best possible time. The finish of the rally was spectacular and also a real show for the visitors to Wunderland.
Not empty handed!
At the end of that beautiful Sunday afternoon, we went back home with a fully charged battery and great memories. Driving together with a wonderful collective of Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts is a blessing. We made a lot of new friends, had interesting discussions about classic cars, electric cars and the future of classic motoring. And we even won a prize!
Thanks to the team of Mercedes-Fans for the splendid organisation again, we had a great time! Also thanks to the magnificent people we met during this weekend. We are looking forward to the next year, maybe joining the 9th MIB Rallye with our Monceau eSE W111 coupe in 2024!