EDGEWATER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A North Jersey classic car specialist discovered a 1942 Mercedes Benz in his possession has a dark and mysterious past.
Zenop Tuncer, who owns Euro Tech Motors in Edgewater, said the 320 Cabriolet D convertible was purchased off the Internet for one of his customers. Once it arrived at the garage, Tuncer called Mercedes to order a part and learned about the car’s origin after checking the serial number.
WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports
“It was a swastika with the numbers on it and then we got all the papers which said it belongs to [Adolf] Hitler,” Tuncer told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.
“Mercedes said, ‘We did make some of these cars but only for Hitler,'” the car’s owner, real estate developer Fred Daibes, added. “I was actually in shock.”
Yes, Adolf Hitler, one of the worst monsters in the history of the world. Mercedes apparently custom-made eight of the vehicles for the Third Reich.
But what the heck is this one doing in New Jersey?
The car’s previous owner, a collector in Ohio, was shocked to learn about the car’s history. He told Tuncer that his grandfather, who served in World War II, had brought the convertible to the states from Germany after the war, Miller reported.
The collector’s grandfather may have painted the car black to sneak it aboard a military ship, CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reported.
“He must have smuggled it over here after World War II on a Navy ship,” Daibes said.
Daibes paid roughly $175,000 for the vehicle more than a year ago and recently turned down an offer of $1.5 million.
Further checking with Mercedes revealed that the car wasn’t exactly Hitler’s, but actually one of his general’s, Rapoport reported.
“Ahhh…it would have been worth more if it was a personal Hitler car,” Daibes said. “From a financial point of view the car is worth more money than when I paid for it so that’s the only way I look at it.”
CBS 2’s Rapoport reached out to Mercedes, but his calls were not returned.
They did however speak to CBSNews.com, where Mercedes spokesperson Adam Paige cast doubt on the story.
“This happens at least once a year,” he said. “Someone claims something that they think they have, to make something more of the vehicle.”
What would you do with the car? Keep it or sell it? Let us know below…