Enthusiasts - Ladies of Mercedes - Women of Initiative

Enthusiasts - Ladies of Mercedes - Women of Initiative

Women of


Meet Anne Harruff

The beginning of our love affair with Mercedes Benz began in 1985, when Tom and I were fortunate enough to be assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, for a 3 month executive tour from The Air Force Logistics Command, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

We visited the Torpedo Garage and Herr Klink, where we bought a spot in the production line for a 1985 300D Turbo Mercedes-Benz. We picked the colors of Thistle Green Metallic, with a dark green M-B Tex interior. The beautiful car arrived in Baltimore, in April of 1985 and we drove it for 25 years.

Seven Mercedes-Benz later, I am driving a 2010 C 300, named Silver Streak. I love this car.

As the Secretary and Event Chair of the South West Florida Section, Mercedes-Benz Club of America, for the last 8 years, my goal was to get our Ladies involved with social and charitable activities while the Gentlemen are involved with their cars.

Events that our Ladies have enjoyed include several Royal Teas at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Beach and docent led tours of the Baker/Artis Museum, recently featuring Yves Saint Laurent, and Halston designs – Fashions of the Seventies with a buffet luncheon following the tour. Our Ladies also enjoyed their tour of The Naples Botanical Garden with a catered luncheon, following the tour. One of our ladies received a prize for the best hat design worn to the event. We have enjoyed several Broadway Palm Dinner Theater experiences, as well as a lovely brunch cruise around Sanibel Harbor. One of our more memorable events was at Audrey’s Tea Room and her Vintage Clothing and Jewelry re-sale shop.

In October, we enjoyed Oktober Fest dinners at The Black Forrest Restaurant, Naples celebrating the German heritage of our beloved Mercedes-Benz automobiles.

One of our recent events was a tour of Palm Cottage, a historic home in Naples, followed by tea at Brambles Tea Room and then a walking and shopping tour of Naples famed 5th Avenue entertainment and shopping district.

Our Ladies of Mercedes are reviewing several charities for our future contributions which we feel will reflect our concern and support for women and families. The Ladies of the Southwest Florida Section are enjoying our interaction with each other and becoming great friends.

We are not just a car club, we are a family. I enjoy spending time with my Mercedes-Benz sisters.

MBCA National Officers

Ferne Gardner (President)*

Virginia Turner (President)

Kathy Kennel (President)*

Laura Simonds (Vice President)

Julie Bruggner (Treasurer)

Section Presidents

Karen Fisher - South Jersey

Kathryin Gleeson - Greater Washington

Julie Bruggner - Three Rivers

Sandy Downing - New Orleans

Kathleen Menold - Ozarks

Kathie Steele - Texas Hill Country

Debbie Ichiyama - Desert Stars

Lynn Hern - Orange County

Yvonne Lazear - Central Coast

Kathryn Splivalo - Cental California

Rhonda Harrigan - Sacramento

Brigitte Sutherly - Las Vegas

Jo Anne Taylor - Peach Tree

Jo Chase - New Mexico

Sandy Dose - Eastern Nebraska

Directors at Large

Jean White - Kansas City

Gloria Vance - North Texas

Julie Bruggner - Three Rivers

Mary Alice Cozza - Western Reserve

Josie Lesler - Southwest Florida

Laura Simonds - San Francisco Bay

Laura Simonds
One Thing Leads to Another

When I first met my husband, Richard, he had a small model of a 230SL. Little did I know then the impact this model would have on my life! In 1991 we bought our first Mercedes- Benz. Yes, that’s right, a 1965 230SL. We immediately joined MBCA and became a part of the San Francisco Bay Area Section. For a couple of years, we didn’t participate (full-time jobs, family, a side business, etc), but when we started attending events, we quickly became involved in the section.

Soon Richard volunteered to join the SFBA Section board. Since I wasn’t a car enthusiast like him, and since MBCA seemed like a “guys’ club” to me, I took a bit longer to become active. But in the mid-1990’s, I was asked to join the board as Historian. From there I was elected Secretary for a couple of years. And then in 1999 I became newsletter editor. I have served as the MBCA Western Regional Director, National Newsletter Committee Chairperson, National Leadership Committee chairperson, National Treasurer, and National Vice President.

In 1995 we purchased our second Mercedes-Benz—a C280 that we picked up at the Stuttgart factory as our anniversary gift. It was my car and I absolutely adored it! We currently own or have owned a 2017 GLC300, 2015 C400, 2006 E350, 2000 CLK320, 1969 280S, 1954 300b—and of course we still have our beloved 230SL.

Throughout my years in MBCA, I’ve made many close friends and enjoyed countless new experiences. I’ve learned that it’s not just a “guys’ club.” There are many opportunities for women to enjoy MBCA. As a woman who served on the National MBCA Board, I encourage other “Ladies of Mercedes” to become involved.

We have much to offer MBCA and MBCA has much to offer us.

Mary Alice Cozza
Dreams Come True

As a wife, mother of three sons and a former high school teacher never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that someday, I would be driving a Mercedes-Benz let alone doing performance driving training in a Mercedes-Benz.

Being married to Frank Cozza, a lover of all fine vehicles, our affection for Mercedes dates back to the early sixties. We were newlyweds living in Germany, compliments of the United States Army. The 230SLs had just been introduced and Frank immediately spotted them. His first comment being, “Someday we are going to own one of those.”

The years went by and I really had forgotten about Mercedes, as I became much more involved in our three young sons: worms, dirt, motorcycle riding, football and everything else boys do. My teaching career had also taken root. Life was wonderful, even without a Mercedes-Benz.

Soon it was college for our sons and, as they are only one year apart, they all attended Ohio State University at about the same time. As graduation neared for our youngest son, Frank began his search for an SL, reading every newspaper he could find. “Someday” had arrived. In 1988, he found the “perfect” car and couldn’t wait for me to see it. However, when I looked at it, it was anything but “perfect”: ugly paint, torn seats, disgusting soft-top, not the Mercedes-Benz I had seen many years before. Within 6 months, Frank had restored this ugly 1969 280SL to a beautiful shining example of an SL.

It wasn’t long after that we joined MBCA and Frank discovered autocross, time trials, and defensive driving. Frank loved high-performance driving and began at once. My thoughts, on the other hand, were “never in his wildest dreams would he get me out there on the track!”

A few years and a lot of friendly persuasion later, Frank talked me into defensive driving and autocross—well, that wasn’t so bad! But I was still very reluctant to get out there on the track. I was extremely intimidated (self-induced I might add) and thought the others wouldn’t want some woman out there cruising around at 45 mph, taking up their valuable time on the track. Boy, was I wrong! Anyone who has been at track events knows that we quickly become a big family— happy to see one another at each event. And now, I am in the midst of one of my wildest dreams—MBCA performance driving.

Frank and I now travel to MBCA sections and teach the Defensive Driving course— the course that saved my life. We encourage all sections to contact us for this course. All that is needed from the section is a parking lot and some cones. We do the rest.

I am the grandmother of seven, a retired schoolteacher, Vice President of the Western Reserve Section (NE Ohio) and Past President. I have served on numerous MBCA National Committees such as, StarFest, the Events Committee, the Education Foundation, and the Newsletter Committee. MBCA has become a vital part of my life and I love it.

Come on gals, join me at the track and experience one of your own wildest dreams.