When Dutch car collector, Frans van Haren, won an auction for a vintage 1937 Mercedes car, it was just like a dream come true. But it turned into a nightmare when it got confiscated by the local authorities in Germany where he brought it to have the car displayed at the recent Techno Classica Car Show in Essen, Germany.
The car you see here is a rare (and obviously, precious) 1937 Mercedes 500 K Roadster (type W29); where only 392 were made in total including 29 units that were roadsters. Frans van Haren acquired the car in an auction last year in August. He paid an enormous amount of US$ 3.767 million dollars for it and decided to bring it to the above mentioned auto show.
At the auto show, German police confiscated the car as a result of a claim by a custodian acting for the family of the car’s very first owner, German industrialist Hans Friedrich Prym. The Prym company is one of the oldest family business in Germany, dealing in high-quality metal products such as sewing needles and electronic components.
It was believed that Prym sold his car in 1945 to an American soldier but his family claimed that the car was not stolen, not sold. The car’s return to the country where it was allegedly stolen more than 60 years ago enabled the authorities an opportunity to seize it and resolve any legal matters concerning it.
At the auction, where the car was sold, the organisers (RM Auctions) stated that the car’s interim history was unknown at the time and when the car turned up in the 1970s, it was in excellent condition. Between 1945 and the time when the car turned up, there was basically no known history about the car.
The Prym family argues that the car should belong in their family and since now it is in the hands of the German authorities, they can once and for all sort out the issue of who is the rightful owner of this rare and precious car, although it might be a long and expensive process.
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