Summer Vacation, the Old-Fashioned Way: Classic Motorsports owner hits the road in ’66 Mercedes 230S

Tim Suddard, a longtime Hagerty customer and owner of Classic Motorsports magazine, is leaving today on a somewhat strange family trip.

What’s unusual about this vacation is its throwback nature: Instead of flying or taking a modern SUV, Suddard is planning a 3,400-mile roundtrip in a 1966 Mercedes 230S. And he’s taking his wife and two teenaged kids along in the old sedan. Can’t you just hear the strains of “Holiday Road” ramping up in the background?

This three-week odyssey, which is part vacation and part business trip, will hopefully see the Suddard clan making the trek all the way from their home in Florida to visit us here at Hagerty Insurance headquarters in Traverse City, Mich.

“Everyone thinks we are crazy to drive a car this old on such a long trip,” Tim tells us. “People ask, ‘What if it breaks?’ But my answer is that old cars are simple and reliable—and if it does break, it will be part of the adventure. Sometimes through adversity, you meet the nicest people.”

He’s not throwing himself completely on the mercy of the old-car gods, however. “If nothing else, we are well insured and have Hagerty’s roadside assistance, so we will be in good hands,” Tim says.

The whole idea started when Suddard found the forlorn Mercedes on the daily email list from Bring A Trailer and bought it, sight unseen, for $1,600. “It was so ugly and in such bad shape, we nearly turned around when we first saw it in the seller’s driveway,” he admits, “but a deal is a deal, so we ended up picking up the car and taking it home.”

The family soon fell in love with the old warhorse, however, especially after Dad got the classic Mercedes running again and kicked off its most recent incarnation by further abusing it at an off-road SCCA rallycross event. “Despite the rough condition and the mistreatment it had suffered, it drove so well and looked so cool, we just had to save it,” he says.

Suddard plans to chronicle his adventure in a series of articles for Classic Motorsports magazine that will outline all the fun things you can do with your collector car—including a family vacation. (You can read the magazine’s blog on the project here.) We’ll also be following along as this adventure progresses, so stay tuned; we’re sure there’s more to come.