Although it's an exhibition based on the best designs from California, a German may be upstaging the Americans at the Auckland Art Gallery this month.
The gallery will host the exhibition California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way, opening today and running until September 29.
California Design gives visitors the chance to see some of the world's best-known objects and designs such as the world's first Barbie doll, a plywood Eames elephant, photographs of landmark California homes and fashion items, including classic Levi Strauss clothing and a 1960s swimsuit by Mary Ann DeWeese.
But as a sponsor of the Auckland Art Gallery, Mercedes-Benz New Zealand is taking part in the exhibition and on display in the foyer during the exhibition is a privately owned 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL.
"Culture and design are central to what drives our brand just as much as style and innovation," said Mercedes-Benz New Zealand's managing director, Ben Giffen. "The Mercedes-Benz 280SL exemplifies that these values have been part of Mercedes-Benz DNA from our beginning.
"This exotic 1960s roadster is particularly fitting to the California Design exhibition. Because of its immense success on America's sunny west coast, it became known as the California Coupe.
"Still in vogue today, the model celebrates its 50-year anniversary this year."
As part of the California Design exhibition, AUT University's School of Engineering senior lecturer Tony Robotham will be giving a public talk about car design called California Dreamin' Inspiring Innovative Car Design and Development.
At the free lecture in the gallery's auditorium on Sunday, July 21, Robotham will explain why California is the home of the advanced design studios of every major automotive manufacturer.
''Discover the influence that California has had on the design and development of the modern motorcar from the mid-1930s through to today and understand perhaps why the Golden State continues to inspire automotive designers and evoke aspirations of attractive lifestyles,'' he said.