World War II ended seven decades ago, yet some battles are still being fought. The latest concerns the true owner of a 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster that was sold at last year's RM Monterey sale for $3.7 million. A German court has now ruled that the car is the property of the heirs of the wealthy German industrialist who originally purchased the car, according to Bloomberg.

Dutch collectors Franz van Haren and Tony Paalman bought the classic Mercedes at the California auction, but when they had it shipped to Techno Classica in Essen, Germany, this March, the car was seized by the local constabulary, according to Sports Car Market.

The Mercedes was bought new by Hans Prym in 1935 and owned by the so-called "Zipper King" until its disappearance in 1945, when Prym was sent to prison by the Allies. Prym's heirs charged that the car was stolen by American servicemen and shipped out of the country, according to Bloomberg. Under German law, the 30-year statute of limitations had not expired because the car was not in Germany. Indeed, nobody seems to know what happened to the car between the end of the war and the 1970s, when it "turned up in the collection of pioneer collector Russell Strauch," as the RM Auction listing stated.

While the Dutch collectors may no longer have their car, they may still be able to get their money back from the RM seller, according to Sports Car Market. Whether they'll employ this tactic or fight the German court's decision should prove interesting.


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  • 19 Comments
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just wanted to say that''s a damn beautiful car.
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      They better get their money back!
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      I guess a 1995 Dodge Caravan with a broken door lock at Al's Used Cars isn't the only sketchy buy...
      Teleny411
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder why the original owner was jailed by the Allies? If he was a war criminal he should forfeit private property. The just owner of the car may be sOme Holocaust survivors...
      porsha993
      • 2 Years Ago
      After the war, the Allies (notably the French) locked up anyone they could get their hands on whose family might have had money. They were not suspected of anything and few were ever charged. They were held for ransom and were released when their families arranged enough payment. This was nothing more than extortion by the Allies. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, who was not a Nazi party member and who opposed the war but did design cars, tanks and planes for the German government, was imprisoned by the French without charges for over a year and a half until his son (who was imprisoned but released) was able to pay his ransom.
        Go
        • 2 Years Ago
        @porsha993
        What revisionist history books have you been reading?! Dr. Porsche was an active supporter of the SS, willingly joined the Nazi party and designed some of their most potent weapons. That guy (and thousands like him) was *definitely* going to spend time in prison while everything got sorted. He was VERY lucky he wasn't sent to Spandau.
      Love Great Danes
      • 2 Years Ago
      When cars actually had styling!
      wtgtoretire
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is one good looking car. Must be nice to be that wealthy
      Jerry
      • 2 Years Ago
      THAT is a beautiful car
      GasMan
      • 2 Years Ago
      That was the most expensive restoration in history!
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great looking car.
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