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German court declared vintage Mercedes belongs to heirs

By FaezClutchless on 13 Jun 2012

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A couple of months ago, I wrote about a very rare Mercedes Benz 500 K Roadster being confiscated by authorities in Germany after the original owner’s, Hans Friedrich Prym, family claiming ownership of it. Let me recap a little on what exactly happened.

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The vintage car was bought by a Dutch car collector, Frans van Haren, in an auction and he paid over US$3.7 million dollars for it. He then decided to display the car at a classic car show in Germany and that is where the local authorities confiscated it after the family of the original owner made a claim that the car was stolen.

Recently, a German court ruled that the car was illegally liberated from Germany as “a spoil of war” and the descendents of the original owner have the right to make a legitimate claim for the ownership of the car. The car was said to be sold to an American soldier after the Second World War.

But instead, it appears that the car went missing from the Prym’s estate when American soldiers were occupying the place during the last days of the above mentioned war. The estate’s caretaker only noticed the car missing after returning from a few days away.

What will happen next is all up to the German court but the Prym family has already marked this as a victory. According to the lawyer appointed by the family, Alexander Martius, “We think the decision is right and it’s an important step toward restitution. I am extraordinarily happy for the Prym family.”

Martius next action is to file a suit for the car to be returned to the Prym family and it seems very much that this will happen. In returning “spoils of war” to their original owners, there was a case in 2009 where a sixteenth century book worth US$600,000 was seized from a collector and returned to a museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

And that decision was by a New York court, not a German one. It is unlikely that a German court will side anyone else other than the original owners of the missing Mercedes roadster. It looks like Frans van Haren is pretty much US$3.7 million poorer.

Photo credit: Motor Authority

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FaezClutchless
Written by FaezClutchless
Some say that his blood is actually RON98 petrol and some say that his right foot weighs over 20kg. But all that we know about Faez is that he loves to drive and is a JDM enthusiast.



 
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