Auburn, IN. – Worldwide Auctioneers will present on of the most historically significant automobiles ever offered for public sale at its annual Scottsdale Auction in Arizona on January 17, when a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen goes under the hammer. Formerly part of the famed Imperial Palace Auto Collections and one of five surviving Offener Tourenwagens, this meticulously documented automobile was ordered by, built for and used by Adolf Hitler, tyrannical Chancellor of Nazi Germany and Führer of the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945. Ultimately seized by the U.S. Army in 1945, it is a definitive surviving symbol of Allied triumph over evil. The life of this “Super Mercedes” motorcar has been extensively chronicled in its accompanying documentation and across the media over the years, from its short but infamous service during the war through some seventy years beyond, where it was featured in several displays, parades and museums across the United States, and more recently within some of the world’s most significant and private collections.
“We are acutely aware of the responsibility attached to presenting such an impactful piece of history for public sale”, said Rod Egan, Principal & Auctioneer. “However, this motorcar did not choose its original owner nor its use. No car does for that matter. If its original provenance can be set aside, surviving examples of the Mercedes-Benz 770 “Grosser,” or “Super Mercedes” remain quite likely the world’s greatest achievement in terms of automotive design, engineering, and construction. In short, this vehicle is one of the most outstanding and historically important cars ever built. It is however so much more than a car – it is an artifact that continues to stand and serve as a singular piece of irreplaceable living history and as a reminder that the evil which is a part of its history must never be permitted to recur. Our hope is that it will be used in a setting such as a public museum or collection where it can be shown and used to continually educate generations to come.”
The 770K was famous worldwide from introduction as the “Super Mercedes,” an expression of Germany’s pride in the country’s celebrated engineering prowess. Powered by a mammoth 7.7-liter inline eight-cylinder engine, extremely expensive, obsessively engineered, robustly constructed and hand-crafted, it was purpose-built to carry the most opulent and impressive custom-coachbuilt bodies ever devised and obviously intended for captains of industry and heads of state. Performance was massive, with the supercharged Type W150 cars easily capable of exceeding 100 mph, a significant benchmark of the pre- and post-WW II years. In total, 88 W150 Grosser Mercedes 770s were built until 1943. All bodies were produced by the renowned craftsmen at Mercedes-Benz’s Sindelfingen Werks to impeccable standards.
The example offered here is one of the last of the eight “pre-series” examples of the W150-generation 770K models, one of five surviving Offener Tourenwagens and one of three in private hands. Supported by incredible documentation, it is the product of the exacting requirements of the Führer and SS officer Erich Kempka, who served as his primary chauffeur from 1934. According to a letter on file dated September 2, 1938, this 770K was ordered at the request of Kempka for the Führer, and designed to provide maximum protection for his notorious patron and chosen passengers, including bullet-resistant laminated glass and armor plating. Assigned Serial Number 189744, it was intended from the outset as a guest car when heads of friendly states visited. On October 6, 1939, it made its public debut as part of a predictably large motorcade, with several other high profile appearances between then and May 4, 1941, its last known documented parade. On July 15, 1943, 189744 was sent back to Sindelfingen for maintenance at the factory, after which its wartime service remains unknown. Documentation confirms that post war, the car was captured by American forces and placed under the control and use of the U.S. Army Military Police stationed in Le Havre, France. Eventually it made its way to the United States, via a third owner understood to have acquired the 770K in 1946, who later donated the vehicle to his local branch of the Veterans of Foreign Wars which used the car in parades, carrying dignitaries and Gold Star Mothers who had lost sons on active duty.
Remaining with the VFW, the Mercedes eventually fell into disuse and was placed into local garage storage until 1976, when it was rediscovered. Having established that this was indeed one of the four original “Führer-cars” as described by the factory, the new owners undertook a cosmetic restoration and engaged a public relations firm to vault the ex-Hitler 770K into the media spotlight, ensuring nationwide interest in the vehicle. It was shown at several destinations around the country and eventually displayed at the Chicago Historical Antique Automobile Museum Inc. in Highland Park, Illinois. In 1983, the 770K was sold to the owner of the Imperial Palace Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, home to his famed Imperial Palace Auto Collection, then following his passing to a new European owner in 2004 as part of a 21-car package of significant Mercedes-Benz automobiles. At the time of the sale of this and the other motorcars in that collection, this transaction marked the single most valuable private transaction in the classic-car world – a remarkable valuation that continues to stand today and is a testament to the historical importance of this 770K.
** It should be noted that 10% of the sale price of the car will be donated and used to educate how and why the Holocaust happened and how to effectively prevent such similar atrocities in the future.
Full details are available online at worldwideauctioneers.com. Viewing of the 1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen is by appointment only. The Scottsdale Auction is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 at 5pm. Full details on bidder registration, admission and schedules are available online at worldwideauctioneers.com or by calling 1.260.925.6789.
Along with the Scottsdale Auction, the company’s annual schedule comprises The Texas Classic Auction in Arlington in April, The Pacific Grove Auction, presented out on the Monterey Peninsula during Monterey Car Week in August and The Auburn Auction, held annually over Labor Day Weekend in Indiana, as well as stand-alone auctions of significant private collections.