Joe Birge, USA

Mercedes-Benz "True Roadster"

A careful examination of a completed Pocher model can reveal a great deal about the builder and his or her intentions. Sometimes the intentions are more than clear-glossy paint in an eye-catching color, scores of after-market detail parts, scratch-built details galore and plenty of lights and working features add up to a well-motivated experienced builder who is determined to hit a home run which will have the modeling community buzzing for months. Sometimes it is clear that just getting the Pocher classic assembled is the primary goal, with a special emphasis on avoiding mistakes and emphasizing modeling strengths. In the case of the K-91 "True Roadster" there is the possibility of a builder motivated by the simple idea of making the model live up to its more detailed and expensive cousins with their metal wire wheels, additional engine details, and separate interior details.
Whatever the motivation for Joe Birge's True Roadster, the result is a fascinating odyssey. A careful examination of the model takes us on an extended adventure into the history of the Mercedes pre-war classic. Each step of the way was accompanied by careful planning, from color plates to study the effect of different color combinations to the amazing determination to build his own wire wheels. Open the hood and special details show themselves-this K-91 was going to be fully detailed despite the tight-fistedness of the manufacturer.
Of course the daunting challenge of cutting open the rumble seat lid and removing the cast-in seat must have taken considerable planning, but we have to wonder whether or not the idea of scratch-building pleated seat upholstery came before or after the seat was cut out of the body. By the time the radiator guard was added, Birge had himself a handsome and unusual example of the Mercedes-Benz 500 roadster, and a record of how a Pocher project so often leads down a path of research. It may be on cat's paws that the need for study presents itself to those of us who take on Pochers, but the results of our scholarship often result in models that make a big noise among knowledgeable builders.