Edgewater, NJ – An auto repair shop owner was shocked to find out that a Mercedez-Benz he purchased for a customer used to belong to Adolf Hitler.
“He was surprised,” Zenop Tuncer, owner of Euro Tech Motors, told CBS News. “We were all surprised!”
Tuncer, whose shop specializes in classic cars, got a request from real estate developer Fred Daibes that he wanted a Mercedes-Benz 540K. However Tuncer could only procure a 1942 Mercedes 320 Cabriolet D convertible, which Daibes agreed to buy.
Tuncer said he should have been tipped off because the car looked like a military car.
“The color is a flat black, and there are patches covering what would have been a place for the flag post and the siren,” he explained. It’s definitely for a general.”
The serial number had a small eagle on top of a swastika, indicating it had been made for the Nazis. (Credit: WCBS)
The car needed some parts, so Tuncer contacted Mercedes-Benz with the serial number. He was surprised when the company told him to look at the serial number again and see if there was an eagle with a swastika next to it. Tuncer found the swastika, which he said was so small he missed it at first. Then, Mercedes-Benz confirmed that the car belonged to the Nazi leader.
According to CBS station WCBS in New York, Mercedes-Benz custom made eight of the vehicles for the Nazis.
The original owner did not know the car’s history. and said that his grandfather brought the vehicle to the United States from Germany after the war, WCBS reported. Daibes said he paid $175,000 for the car a year ago, and has recently turned down an offer of $1.5 million.
“It’s Hitler’s car, he’s a devil, but you know, he’s still part of history,” Daibes said to WCBS. “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.”
Tuncer agreed, adding that he would keep the car as well.
“I would not touch the car,” Tuncer stated. “I would keep it the original way. It has a story on it.”
Source: CBS Interactive Inc.