The Finger Lakes Section of the MBCA was Chartered in Illinois on December 17, 1972. The original founding directors were: Norman Schlegel, Jr., Walter Levine, Craig Mitchell and William Miller. These 4 individuals went on to become the first officers with Norman being the President. During the first decade, the club flourished with events such as Concourse D’ Elegance, Picnics, Rallyes, Meet & Greets, Wine & Cheese & film parties. The local MB dealer furnished films and speakers on upcoming enhancements to the MB cars.
As the club grew beyond the 1970’s the Finger Lakes Section became widespread throughout the western half of the State of New York. The cities of Buffalo and Rochester were the hubs with a Section Director – East and a Section Director – West. Members were from Buffalo, South to Dunkirk, Fredonia, north to the Canadian border, some from Ontario, Canada included. Rochester membership encircled Syracuse and Utica in the eastern part of the Finger Lakes Section reaching south to Ithaca and Elmira to the Pennsylvania state line. Some active long time members include: Nan & Elliot Spiegel, David & Dorothy Walthour, Hans & Jutta Buschang, Jack & Phillis Barnhart, Ray & Peggy Maxwell, Sally Cyrulik-Suffolk, Jo Ann & Dan Hovey, Doug Bezon, Charlotte & Joe Wahl, Tom & Marilyn Hamilton, Kathey & Michael Loefstedt, Roy & Jeanette Kuck. Some of these members have earned their 20 or 25 year pins.
The following events in the 1980’s were popular enough to be repeated: The Annual Treffen I-IV (Fun Gymkhana) Hosted by Phyllis Barnhart, Annual Picnic & Concourse D’Elegance Hosted by Joe & Charlotte Wahl on the Wahl Farm, Herbst and Fruehling Rallye, Hosted by Sally Cyrulik-Suffolk and then Kathey & Michael Loefstedt. Challenging routes gave drivers starting from either Buffalo and/or Rochester crossing in opposite directions along the course before meeting in rural Wyoming, southeast of Batavia. Beyond section events some Section enthusiastic members represented the Finger Lakes section at National events including the first Starfest 1988 and years beyond, Gemutlichkeit for many years and a wide variety of other sections’ Regional Events. The first Northeast Regional Event was May 19-21, 1989 in Cooperstown, NY. Finger Lakes Section members who attended were Phillis Barnhardt, Doug Bezon, Tom & Marilyn Hamilton, Roy & Jeanette Kuck, Kathey & Michael Loefstedt, Charlotte & Joe Wahl and our 1989 Northeast RVP Ike Kilayko.
Over the last 23 years the Finger Lakes Section has held various types of events. Regularity Runs, Racing at Watkins Glen, Lime Rock and other tracks, Concourses, Road Tours, Luncheons, Holiday Parties, Meet & Greets, Winery Tours, Evening racing at Harness Tracks, Wine & Cheese Tasting, Scavenger hunts, and Tech Sessions. The Finger Lakes Section also participated in various joint events with Toronto Section, such as visiting and touring Niagara On The Lake.
Currently a typical year consists of 2 Rallyes, scavenger hunt, picnic, road tours, holiday party, tech sessions and our car show in August. In 2005 the Gute Marken Car Show was sponsored by John Holtz dealerships and included 4 German marque cars, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, BMW and Audi. It was done in conjunction with the run for the cure and raised over $7,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.