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PreWar Mercedes Benz


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Do you know approximately when the rolled edge switch happened?

How much does Wagner want for a wheel? 2500 or less would not be unreasonable.

You forget who we are dealing with. A year ago he quoted me over twice that, and no hub and no knock off.

I don't know when the switch occurred, but Friswold says the Spezial-Roadsters had rolled edges.

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I am sure this car now belongs to a customer of ours, who we are refurbishing a BMW 850 convertible for (yes a 850 convertible!) and a 1937 170 V roadster.

I posted a bunch of pictures of red Mercedes Benz in the "Ugly Classics" thread to illusstrate how everyone in the 1980s (including my dad) painted their MB red. I'm not saying all these cars are ugly, in fact some would look pretty good without the whitewalls. I'll go through each and try to identify them. All these pictures were taken at the Arizona auctions in the 1980s.

This is a 540k Cabriolet "B". Like the Cab "C" there was a early style with a sloping trunk and a later style with a rounded trunk.

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Most of the Mercedes has a disaponting result.

Hi! I cant get onto the 170-220 site for some reason so I have a question for you (2 actualy)

1/ do you have a RAL cose for the green on the prewar 170 Engines?

2/ were the underside of the roadsters painted in the same color as the topside or was it a primer finish ?

We have finally gotten a start on our 170 project after much delays cuased by having to sort out other work left behind by a previous employee..

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am a historian recently interested in this car's history. I have a few misc. questions about the Blue Goose

1. What is the chassis number?

2. In some pictures it seems like behind the seats there is a vertical rising bulletproof shield, or is that just the luggage bin roof?

3. When Dr. Bitgood owned bought it from Samuel Scher of NYC , has it been printed what he bought it for and what he later sold it for?

4. When it sold to Sweden, was that at a public auction? Was the sales price published?

5. Does anyone have the name of the shop that did most of the restoration?

6. Does anyone in the forum have an opinion over the Bitgood family wanting it restored with the bullet hole and cracked wide window left intact as a tribute to the 101st airborne that liberated it? I would hesitate to buy a car if , decades later, I still couldn't restore it as new looking because of some promise to the family, especially in this case as it already appeared at at least one 101st Airborne convention, thus to me fulfilling the "contract" to honor those who liberated it.

Thanks for any answers and opinions

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Question about another Erdmann & Rossi prewar Mercedes, I think it was a 1937 500K or 540K.

I am a historian trying to follow the trail of the full skirted (front and back skirts) Erdmann & Rossi 500K built for King Ghasi (Ghazi?) of Iraq and appropriated by Saddam Hussein.

Recently Octane magazine published a picture of what they said was the same car at the concours in London in October or November 2013 but I maintain that the car, though discovered by US troops invading Baghdad, is now lost again. I suppose the confusion is due to the fact that when King Hussein of Jordan sent the original to Germany for a restoration, an exact copy of the body was made and put on another '30s Mercedes chassis. So here's a few questions for those Erdmann & Rossi enthusiasts:

1.) what is the chassis number of the King Ghasi/S. Hussein two seater full skirted roadster

2.) when Saddam Hussein had it, was it painted yellow and black? And came back from Germany painted silver?

3.) Was there more than one duplicate body made in Germany?

4.) Does anyone think the real one was sent back when S. Hussein's life expectancy was predictably short?

5.) Opinion only here: if the car were to resurface in say U.S. or UK could it legally be sold as a "fortune of war" or is thought to be the property of the country of Iraq (in the old days of WWII i think at least a dozen 500K/540K and 770s were appropriated by US & British troops and sent back to the home countries for fund drive promotions.

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I wish you luck on your research. If Google and A.J. (he'll post as alsancle) don't know the answer, I'm not sure who would. I will opine on the last question in each of your posts.

Regarding restoration promises some previous buyer may have agreed to, I do not believe there is any way to make terms of a car sale binding on anyone but the parties to the contract. If the current owner wants to restrict what you can do with a car by contract, it's up to you to either agree or not sign the contract (and not get the car).

As for cars "liberated" from pre-war owners, one need look no further than the 2011 events where a 500K was seized by the German gov't as war reparations for the family who owned it before the war. The auction buyer paid over $3M for the car, and lost it to the descendants of the pre-war owner. I would love to know who took the $3M hit. The buyer? The auction company? The seller? Whomever sold it to the auction seller? Maybe after the court awarded the car to the descendants, a deal was struck to sell the car to the auction buyer. Never heard anything about it after the court ruling.

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Well, this is certainly opening up a can of worms.I think that the Goering (also spelled Goring) car was owned by the German government, so when the US Army 10st Airborne confiscated it, they were confiscating enemy property. There is no doubt that they owned it, there's pictures of it wearing 101st Airborne labels, (it was used by an American two star general for awhile). I don't know who owned that 500K you refer to when it was taken from Germany but if it belonged to a private family, not associated with the combatants, then there might be some legal argument there. I know there's a parallel in the art world where millins of dollars worth of paintings were first stolen by the Nazis from private families and then sold through Swiss art dealers and in the last few decades there has been some effort to get the artwork back to the heirs of the families that originally owned them (some of who are having a tough time proving their family owned the work.) In the same vein, I am also looking for word of the disposition of the 500K Erdmann & Rossi full spatted Special Roadster that Saddam Hussein stole from the Royal Museum in Baghdad. I thought I saw pictures of it after the American troops went in but in modern times I guess Americans can't take "war booty" so the car was left there, but now there's a doppelganger (twin) showing up at events in Europe so if the original is ever found (or the one in Europe is recognized as the real car) then presumably the Iraq people could clamor for the return of their national treasure, if they could ever stop fighting each other that is.

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Well, this is certainly opening up a can of worms.I think that the Goering (also spelled Goring) car was owned by the German government, so when the US Army 10st Airborne confiscated it, they were confiscating enemy property. There is no doubt that they owned it, there's pictures of it wearing 101st Airborne labels, (it was used by an American two star general for awhile). I don't know who owned that 500K you refer to when it was taken from Germany but if it belonged to a private family, not associated with the combatants, then there might be some legal argument there. I know there's a parallel in the art world where millins of dollars worth of paintings were first stolen by the Nazis from private families and then sold through Swiss art dealers and in the last few decades there has been some effort to get the artwork back to the heirs of the families that originally owned them (some of who are having a tough time proving their family owned the work.) In the same vein, I am also looking for word of the disposition of the 500K Erdmann & Rossi full spatted Special Roadster that Saddam Hussein stole from the Royal Museum in Baghdad. I thought I saw pictures of it after the American troops went in but in modern times I guess Americans can't take "war booty" so the car was left there, but now there's a doppelganger (twin) showing up at events in Europe so if the original is ever found (or the one in Europe is recognized as the real car) then presumably the Iraq people could clamor for the return of their national treasure, if they could ever stop fighting each other that is.

This article specifically addresses the Iraq museum in a couple of places. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_repatriation

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Well, this is certainly opening up a can of worms.I think that the Goering (also spelled Goring) car was owned by the German government, so when the US Army 10st Airborne confiscated it, they were confiscating enemy property. There is no doubt that they owned it, there's pictures of it wearing 101st Airborne labels, (it was used by an American two star general for awhile). I don't know who owned that 500K you refer to when it was taken from Germany but if it belonged to a private family, not associated with the combatants, then there might be some legal argument there.

1. That 500K Roadster was privately owned until 1945. Was also the 1935 Berlin Motor show car. Owned (??!) by the Lyon collection then auctioned by RM ca. two years ago.

2. It is indeed a can of worms. About 90 % of today American owned European pre-war cars came to the US in the immediate years after WWII, not just MB, but also quite a few Horch, Maybach, Bugatti etc. There were virtually no pre-war US deliveries. They were brought by returning soldiers and MANY changed hands under what today would certainly be called suspicious circumstances. You get a good idea of that if you look at the cars in action chapter in Melin II, there are quite a few photos of supercharged MBs being used in mainland Europe just after WWII.

3. Im very interested what you find out about the full skirted E&R 500K Roadster. Ive heard conflicting reports what happened to the original.....has it disappeared, confirmed to have been destroyed? Keep us posted.

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  • 4 weeks later...
All quiet on the pre-war MB front! '35 500K Cab A coming up for auction in Paris in February is only thing I've seen in the past two months. Anybody else see anything interesting?

I see Bonham's is going to auction a rare Offener Tourenwagen in Scottsdale in January '14. That makes two supercharged Mercedes Bonham's will have next year. No sign of any others from the other auction houses yet.

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I was led to believe by a restorer in Orange,CA that the car was photographed in silver in an underground garage in Baghdad by US troops. I didn't copy the picture but think I remember a modern gas vapor lighting post on the post behind the car and since those weren't invented before the wear, I concluded it was a modern picture. I have what I think is a rare shot of the car prior to being shipped to Germany, when it was a hideous combination of black and yellow. On this page they identiy it

as the King Ghazi /saddam Hussein car http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=397594&page=208

where it is a modern shot though there is a shot of how it looked originally in white on the same page(though that could be the 290 Mercedes that the young King saw at the auto show and wanted to order but MB told him to hold off, they would build an identical one with a larger engine) . On the HAMB website

They say: "In 1935 the German company was commissioned to build a 5.4-liter

Mercedes 540K (order #2698 of 5 December 1935, engine #123705) for no

less a client than King Ghazi of Iraq." They don't give the chassis number. Doesn't Melin have it in his book? Someone identifies the owner of the silver car shot in modern showroom background as Johannes Beekstowe's Mercedes

Anybody know who he is?

In this Car & Driver story the car looks pretty decrepit but the picture so of such poor quality can't tell if it's a modern picture or not.

My suspicion is that when the replica was made in Germany he might have been sent the replica because at that point his life expectancy wasn't the greatest, but then maybe the King of Jordan who was getting it restored for him wouldn't have done a switcheroo for fear of angering his quick tempered cousin.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I like the yellow and black livery. I think that's the way Saddam got it from the Museum when he glommed onto it. Then when it was sent to Germany to be restored it was repainted silver. The confusing thing is that a lookalike, with full skirts installed front and rear, was recently entered

see here http://www.sportscardigest.com/wp-content/uploads/DSC_07732.jpg

License plate HN ER936H

in the St. James concours in 2013 (pictured in Octane magazine) so now with this copy floating about it's difficult to tell which one is the real King Ghazi car since I haven't found the King Ghazi Erdmann & Rossi SN which is probably in the Melin book. I am surprised that Octane magazine got it wrong, they seem to be a cut above the other British magazines but maybe that's only for better pictures & layout. I suspect the copy was on another 540 chassis, but I don't think a respectable concours would enter a car without letting on it's a replica body

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I like the yellow and black livery. I think that's the way Saddam got it from the Museum when he glommed onto it.

Whats the source for the Saddam story?

Then when it was sent to Germany to be restored it was repainted silver. The confusing thing is that a lookalike, with full skirts installed front and rear, was recently entered

see here http://www.sportscardigest.com/wp-content/uploads/DSC_07732.jpg

The car pictured above is the replica that was made when the original was under resto....supposedly built on a genuine chassis. I think the genuine car looked the same way after the resto, with spats and spare tired refitted and painted silver.

License plate HN ER936H

German plate, city of Heilbronn (near Mannheim/Heidelberg)

so now with this copy floating about it's difficult to tell which one is the real King Ghazi car since I haven't found the King Ghazi Erdmann & Rossi SN which is probably in the Melin book.

s/n 123732. 1935 500K not 540.

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The King Ghazi car is stunningly beautiful from the side, and I too prefer the prerestoration paint scheme. It reminds me of the Delahayes and Bugattis. However, from the radiator forward this car is stunningly awful. It looks like they modeled it from clay and then ran it into a brick wall.

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The 500K Tourenwagen sold at Bonham's yesterday for $1,430,000. I am not aware of any other 500/540K Tourenwagen sales in the past two decades. Not the most popular body style, but a very rare bird. I've seen the gold- or champagne-colored Tourenwagen at Pebble Beach, but I do not have any historical sales info for it.

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I'm not a big fan of "touring" body styles in general but this is not a bad looking car. The champagne colored 540k is a different animal all together and would probably achieve 50 to 100 percent more than this car. I spent some time parked next to the owner of the champagne one at a show some years ago and he was a nice guy. Very well done car which was originally Blue.

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That one-off (?) 540K Tourenwagen is one of the best efforts of Sindelfingen coachbuilding outside the Special Roadster, Autobahnkurier etc territory. This was a nicely preserved original pre resto but somehow you cant argue with the result. The new color is very appropriate and brings out the lines better than the original.

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For some reason I have the number 6 stuck in my head for the 540k Tourenwagens? Not sure that they made that many but I'm fairly sure there is more than one. Is the champagne car the blue one RM sold 8/10 years ago? If so, I think they got more than one million pre-restoration.

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For some reason I have the number 6 stuck in my head for the 540k Tourenwagens? Not sure that they made that many but I'm fairly sure there is more than one. Is the champagne car the blue one RM sold 8/10 years ago? If so, I think they got more than one million pre-restoration.

I think that particular car if a one-off but there were certainly more 540 Tourenwagen...some were also more similar to the older 500K style.

Yes these pics are all of the same car.

Edited by tilomagnet (see edit history)
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For some reason I have the number 6 stuck in my head for the 540k Tourenwagens? Not sure that they made that many but I'm fairly sure there is more than one. Is the champagne car the blue one RM sold 8/10 years ago? If so, I think they got more than one million pre-restoration.

RM's online results go back to 2003 - no Tourenwagens.

According to Melin, 16 500K's and 12 540K's in the Tourenwagen style, but I think 6 is pretty close to the number surviving.

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The 540K was offered by a German classics dealer (I think Thiesen in Hamburg) in then unrestored condition a couple years ago.

Thiesen had an Innenlenker for sale last March, advertised at 690,000 Euros. If they had an Offener Tourenwagen, I missed it, but that is very possible. I try to check most of the classic dealers online every couple of months, and cars can come and go quickly.

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I think this is the car on the top of page 85 in Melin's vol 1, as I recall Jan told me that there were 3 of these built and there are only 2 known. I remember asking him about it as it is probably my favorite outside of the Special Roadster. I think that the bulk of the 12 were the earlier flat windshield versions on page 84. I like it because it has the special roadster vee windshield and a completely disappearing top, which gives it a very clean look, it is modern, yet still classic. The windows in the doors are plexiglass and the quarter windows are removable. Edgar Masters traded his 34 Packard 12 Dietrich coupe for this car and RM restored it, taking it from the dark blue to silver, and it is now in the Parfet collection. I think it is even better in person than in photos.

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Thiesen had an Innenlenker for sale last March, advertised at 690,000 Euros. If they had an Offener Tourenwagen, I missed it, but that is very possible. I try to check most of the classic dealers online every couple of months, and cars can come and go quickly.

A lot of supercharged MB went through their hands and theyve been in business for decades. The Tourenwagen was sold about 8 years ago and I think went straight to the US owner who did the resto. Also not everything they have gets advertised publicly.

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I think this is the car on the top of page 85 in Melin's vol 1, as I recall Jan told me that there were 3 of these built and there are only 2 known. I remember asking him about it as it is probably my favorite outside of the Special Roadster. I think that the bulk of the 12 were the earlier flat windshield versions on page 84. I like it because it has the special roadster vee windshield and a completely disappearing top, which gives it a very clean look, it is modern, yet still classic.

Do you happen to know where the 2nd survivor is? Ive certainly never seen any photos of a 2nd car.

Is Jan Melin still around? Someone should point him to the forum!!

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Edited by tilomagnet (see edit history)
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IMHO in general styling mostly improved from 500K to 540K. Only exception is 500K Cab. A which is IMO better looking than the later 540K version with spares in the front wings (I dont consider the long tail SR a 500K style as that was offered throughout the transistion period). Otherwise the 540K body catalog versions where much more flamboyant and stylish.

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Do you happen to know where the 2nd survivor is? Ive certainly never seen any photos of a 2nd car.

Is Jan Melin still around? Someone should point him to the forum!!

I exchanged emails with him about a year ago. He was polite but very reticent to answer any questions, instead saying that all his archive was donated to DBAG, and that he does not want to risk answering incorrectly. He lets his books speak for him. It's too bad his books are so expensive. I asked him about republishing but he declined any discussion along those lines. (I am an author and publisher.) I scored autographed copies of his two books on eBay last year, signed by Melin and his co-author who is now deceased. Cost me a bundle, but, as a collector of many kinds of things, I am glad to have them. (I still have an extra unsigned Vol 1 if anyone needs one.)

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Dave, do you still talk to Jan?

Craig, I can understand his fears. As the cars have become more valuable the shenanigans have too and the last thing you want to do is get in the middle if some mess.

The factory is the same way. I had a casual contact I had corresponded with right up until I asked a specific question about a car I didn't own. Then silence.

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I do, but I haven't been to Sweden for several years, and I miss spending time with Jan. He is one of the nicest men I have met ever. You have to understand that Jan is extremely careful and precise. He is just brilliant and a phenomenal historian. His knowledge is boundless and always accurate, but he will not speculate. I could describe a car and he could tell me the numbers and dates for it. MB has asked him not to give serial numbers in his books and until he gave his archives to MB, his were better than theirs because he had compiled theirs from varied sources hither and yon from inside their many storage areas and also dealers, photos, etc. They didn't know where to look or didn't have time. He saved a lot before they just deteriorated. MB knows that with the info that he had, people would be building cars to match numbers. There are already cars out there with the same numbers.

As far as publishing - Jan had poor luck with publishers over the years. He had 2 more books ready to publish and couldn't find a publisher. We can only hope that MB will publish them. I know that the market is small, but I've seen most of the photos he was going to use and they would be fantastic. His books are my favorites and I don't own a Supercharged MB.

DM

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Whats the content of his unpublished books? Yes the market is not that big for these kind of books, but there was also zero publicity for his Vol I & II. I didnt even know they existed until I got internet. There were no reviews or basically any mention here in Germany. Its hard to sell many books when nobody knows about them...

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