We were met at Stuttgart airport by a small fleet of Maybach limousines. Unsurprisingly Professor Jürgen Hubbert’s diary was so rammed that he was unable to come to London to receive the 2004 Guild of Motoring Writers’ President’s Trophy, so Mercedes-Benz flew us to Stuttgart instead.
The President’s Trophy is awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the global motor industry. Jürgen Hubbert’s was, without question, of towering magnitude.
Yet he seemed pleased as punch to get the award and delighted that three of us – Lord David Strathcarron, our president, Ray Hutton, our vice-president and me as chairman of the Guild – had taken the time out to travel over for the presentation (photo below).
And my goodness, he was held in such awe by everyone, from the Mercedes-Benz team around him that day to the waiters in the restaurant where we lunched. Yet beneath the surface he was such an enthusiast, which made him special company.
He had to leave after the meal, but had laid on half a dozen top of the range products for us the play with. My 40 minutes in a Mercedes-Benz SLR on the unrestricted German autobahn will stick with me forever.
Top: Former Mercedes-Benz chairman Professor Jürgen Hubbert, who died (aged 81) earlier this month.
Below: Representatives of the Guild present Professor Hubbert with the President’s Trophy.