Rare 1935 Mercedes-Benz proved stolen
Image: courtesy of RM Auctions
A Dutch classic car collector who purchased a rare Mercedes-Benz at auction last year is probably right now regretting his decision to include the car as an exhibit in a German car show.
Frans van Haren paid $3,767,500 at the RM Auctions event at Monterey last August for the 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Roadster by Sindelfingen. There were 342 of the 500K models built over the three years of its production, of which only 29 had the Roadster and Special Roadster coachwork.
In its catalogue, RM Auctions noted that the original owner of this particular car was Hans Friedrich Prym of Stolberg, with invoices showing that the car was purchased on April 25, 1935. A large gap in ownership then appeared, until the 1970s, when the car passed through the hands of several car collectors. Originally green, the car was show to be now red when in the possession of the Lyon Family Collection, before being put up for auction last year.
Having successfully picked up the car at the auction, van Haren took the decision to show the car at Essen's Techno Classica car show. While on show, German authorities impounded the car, and launched an investigation into its provenance. It was the finding of the German courts that the Mercedes-Benz 500 K 'Spezial' Roadster rather than having been purchased by a US soldier in the closing days of World War 2 and shipped back to the USA, the Prym family claim it had simply been stolen and shipped.
Having investigated the claim, the German court has ruled in favour of the Prym family, finding no proof of purchase for the alleged 1945 purchase. Frans van Haren has yet to decide on whether to appeal the decision.