It’s Not Just a Passing Fad
It was 20 years ago that Marv Berkowitz retired as a sales rep for Upjohn. That same year he decided, as he puts it, “to buy myself a present.” That present was a new 2000 E430, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Within 30 days of the purchase he joined the MBCA, thanks to the fact that there was a brochure in the glovebox. (Unfortunately, many Mercedes-Benz dealerships do not encourage new customers to join the club.)
He immediately began attending club events, here in West MI, the Great Lakes Region, and nationally; he found them to be a perfect distraction. He believes that he has attended every section event since joining the club—a claim that no Western Michigan Section member can make over the same period of time.
During his working life Marv drove leased company cars, usually Fords or Chevys, that were turned in every two years. Marv’s father was an Oldsmobile man who traded in cars every two or three years. Marv traces his love of automobiles back to age 11, when he began to take care of his dad’s car. Nine years later, at age 20, Marv married Renay; the couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on April 2, 2020, but because of the governor-imposed stay-at-home order they have been unable to go out and commemorate this landmark achievement as of this writing. It was decades before he purchased his first Benz, the E430. He notes that he was always attracted to Mercedes-Benz, especially when he worked as a hospital manager on New York City’s Park Avenue, when he routinely saw many W100s (the 600 Pullman limousines) near the embassies (seen below).
In 2004 Marv decided to trade the E430 in at his Kalamazoo dealership, Orrin B. Hayes, for a new E500. The E500’s bigger engine was deemed necessary because Marv has a hilly driveway at his Portage home, akin to Kalamazoo. He had a mechanical difficulty with the E500 (he can’t exactly what it was from 16 years ago) which led him to purchase a 2006 E500. These two E-class 500s came with many options more common to the larger S-class models, than was typical with the E (executive) cars of the era. The 2006 had a malfunctioning massage seat that would grind quite loudly. (The motor for the massage function was located in the trunk.) Marv made a recording of the grinding motor in action and played it for the service personnel at the Hayes dealership. This massage gremlin drove the service technicians to pull their hair out, according to Marv. The now-bald techs were unable to locate the source of the difficulty, so Hayes, determined to keep Marv as a steady and happy Benz owner, purchased the E500 back from him (deducting the mileage that Marv accumulated while driving the car).
Marv replaced the E500 with his current Benz, the E550 (pictured above). The bigger engine displacement, with nearly 400 hp, negotiated that his hilly driveway better than ever! Besides, he hoped to maintain his 1st Place Acceleration Run standing that he won from the 2007 Gemütlichkeit at the Nelson Ledges Road Course (located in Portage County OH). see photo below:
MBCA event attendance is very important to Marv, as evidenced by his home office which is chock-a-block with club awards which he has won over the years.
The awards pictured above are just a representation of many more that indicate his active participation in our club at the sectional, regional, and national level. In addition to events, Marv is a past president of the West MI Section. Speaking from firsthand observation he says “When the number of driving events declined, so did membership decline, starting eight or nine years ago.” This is after all, a car club.
F A D D
A cause near and dear to Marv’s heart is Fathers Against Distracted Driving. Marv, a co-founder and president of FADD devotes much of his time year around speaking to all age groups, from school children to seniors, in an attempt to educate drivers about the hazards of distracted driving.
During his talks he emphasizes that there is a time to: eat, text, chat on the phone, shave, apply makeup—just not while driving. He encourages drivers to adjust to changing weather, traffic, and driving conditions. Like the late entertainer Danny Thomas for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Marv also “begs for alms” to enable him to get his message across through his 501 (c) (3) non-profit. Private individuals and well as for-profit corporations see the worthiness of FADD’s mission. Check out fadd.info for more details.
A quick reminder: FADD is the official charity for the annual DeutscheMarques event at the Gilmore Museum. This year (2020) the event will be on July 11 at the Gilmore Museum. It should also be noted that Marv also serves on the DeutscheMarques board.