There have been a lot of German immigrants who have come to the United States over the years. Many landed on Ellis Island before spreading out across the country to settle in all corners of this nation.
Gertrude is just such an immigrant. And at 59 years old, this all German lady is still going strong. Gertrude is a mint condition, 100 percent 1952 Mercedes Benz 220 Cabriolet B that belongs to Scott Montoney.
“I’m the third owner,” said Scott. “In 1958 my dad’s cousin was in Germany. He found the car in a car lot and bought it.” According to Scott, the first owner, a medical doctor from Munich, had driven the car for a few years and traded it in.
Gertrude got her name when Scott’s dad’s cousin. “He grew up on a farm and they use to give everything a name. The tractor had a name, the animals had names. So when he got the car he gave it a name,” said Scott. “Gertrude was his mom’s middle name. He thought it was nice.”
The car was destined to be a classic. The 220 Cabriolet B was only made between 1951 and 1955. In all, only 997 of these works of art were manufactured. “I don’t know how many are in this country,” Scott said.
It is a classic design, reminiscent more of a 1930s roadster than a post war design.
The pristine shape of the car is a testament to how well the car has been taken care of. “In 1963 and ’64 he took it back to Germany. He said he didn’t like the service he was getting here,” Scott said.
Actually the car is in very near perfect shape with little done to it other than regular maintenance. Both the seats and the top have been replaced and it has been re-painted. Like his dad’s cousin, Scott tries to keep the car totally authentic.
“My dad’s cousin drove the car for 49 years. It was his regular car,” Scott said. Then, in 2007, the car was passed on to Scott. “He said he knew I would take care of it.”
A large car weighing in at 3100 pounds, it is powered by a straight six 134 cubic inch engine that generates all of 80 horse power. But that is enough. “It does fine on the freeways,” said Scott, adding that he recently drove the car to Pittsburgh and back. In fact, Scott says he has hit a top speed of 87 miles per hour before.
Scott doesn’t know exactly but from the records he has and what he can guess, he estimates that the car has over 500,000 kilometers on it. “I drive it four or five times a week on nice days. You don’t want to be out in bad weather in a car like this,” he said.
One of the most difficult things Scott had to deal with when he first started driving the car was the fact that the speedometer was in kilometers per hour rather than miles per hour.
“I made up a miles per hour vs. kilometers per hour magnet that I put on the dash so I’d know if I were speeding or not. I used it until I learned how fast I was actually going,” he said.
Though he doesn’t do many too many car shows, Scott has twice won his class in the Ault Park Concourse d’Elegance.
“I do a lot of German based shows,” he said, adding that it’s fun to meet older German people who actually remember the cars. “Most of the comments are about how unique the car is.”
Scott admits that he has a blast at these shows but is quick to add, “I’d rather be driving.” And drive he does in this beautiful German immigrant.