History leaves us with many unanswered questions. Some have the potential of shaking the very foundation of our society; others are interesting factoids that make for interesting conversation. Of those in the latter category, one of the most stimulating questions posed has been: whatever happened to Adolf Hitler’s car? While the dictator of Nazi Germany had many vehicles, some on displayed in museums around the world, one particular model has had a rather fascinating story that has recently come to light.
The tale begins, or rather ends, in a small auto repair shop in the middle of New Jersey. Zenop Tuncer, owner of Euro Tech Motors, was always a fan of classic vehicles. Running a shop that specialized in repairing and renovating cars he got a request from Fred Diabes, a real estate developer, to procure a Mercedes-Benz 540K. Knowing where to look, he unfortunately was only capable of finding a 1942 Mercedes 320 Cabriolet D convertible. While it wasn’t what Fred Diabes wanted, he nonetheless agreed to purchase it.
Things begin to get a little more interesting when the vehicle finally arrived and needed a bit of patchwork. Trying to find new parts for the car, Tuncer contacted the Mercedes-Benz dealership directly and gave them the cars serial number. The dealers were shocked that they asked them to read the number again, asking him if he saw an eagle with a swastika next to it. Looking at it once more, there it was, the famous Nazi symbol.
Mercedes only ever made eight custom vehicles for the Nazi’s during the period, with most made directly for Hitler himself. Of course reporters and historians were skeptical at making any hotheaded claims just yet. There have been many fakes of the years, with some dealers trying to make more of the vehicles.
New York Times reporters have noted that “the 320 was considered a middle-class car, and that fact alone puts the Edgewater car claim into a very speculative area." Indeed, the original owner of the car didn’t know anything about the cars history beyond the fact that his grandfather brought it to the US after the war.
Purchased for $175,000 and having turned an offer a $1.5 million, if the cars past can be verified it will turn into quite an important historical artifact. Certainly worth a great deal more than the car was purchased for, Mr Tuncer said that he’ll keep it the original condition and will take some time to consider what he’ll do next.