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