Cemil Özyurt, the editor of Turk of America magazine, sent us this translation of an article he wrote for his blog, Turk Avenue — about a New Jersey classic car repair specialist who says he randomly came across a 1942 model Mercedes that may once have been the property of Adolf Hitler. Here at Voices of NY, we haven’t verified this claim, but it’s certainly an intriguing story!
Zenop Tuncer has dealt with classic car repair in Edgewater, New Jersey for 15 years. Tuncer’s shop, Euro Tech Motors Repair Store, is like a classic car museum. Tuncer is continuing the family business in the United States, as his father was a famous mechanic in Istanbul in 1960s and well-known there for his skill with the first imported Ford models.
Tuncer has an unexpected guest in his shop, a 1942 model Mercedes that was first owned by Adolf Hitler. How can a 1942 model Mercedes car that was used by Hitler be found in New Jersey?
The story begins with an auction posting on Ebay. Master Zenop was looking for a 540 model Mercedes for one of his friends who is a classic car collector. First he called his friend and asked him, “You’re looking for different model, but I have seen a posting on Ebay for sale, the model is close to it. Would you want me to make an offer for it? ” His friend, Fred Diabes, said, “Let’s buy it.”
The total cost of the car was $175,000 and the Mercedes was brought in from Ohio to New Jersey and began to be repaired.
While Tuncer was repairing the car, he realized that a rear wheel need to be replaced by new one. He called Mercedes to ask if they had the original parts for the wheel. Mercedes’ customer representative asked for the serial number and model of Mercedes and he couldn’t believe it when he heard it. “Are you sure that you have this car?” Tuncer replied with confidence, “Yes, of course”
The representative asked where the car was purchased. Tuncer replied from Ebay, and Mercedes wanted Tuncer to review the registration card carefully because it was supposed to have a Nazi symbol. Tuncer took a look but he couldn’t see it anywhere and he replied, “I don’t see anything.” The Mercedes person insisted, “Take a closer look.” Tuncer found a magnifying glass and carefully examined the card. He saw the symbol and was told that according to the serial number and registration records, this 1942 model Mercedes had belonged to Adolf Hitler. The registration card also bore a note in German that the car belong to Hitler.
How did Hitler’s 1942 model Mercedes come to the United States? Tuncer was curious and called the seller in Ohio. He asked him “Did you know that the car belonged to Adolf Hitler?” The seller was puzzled: “Are you serious?”
He said his grandfather was a US officer in military service in Germany and the car was bought in 1951.
Now the Mercedes has been fixed up, and Tuncer said his friend Daibes have already had an offer for $1.5 million, which he declined. The car has 80,000 miles on it and, interestingly, Mercedes still has the original parts of the car.
In 2009, three of Hitler’s old cars, Mercedes Benz G4 W-131 six wheelers, were up for sale for $9 million in Europe. The Museum of Retro-automobiles of Moscow is known for its collection, kept in a freezing cold hanger, which includes three rare Nazi-owned vehicles.
Tuncer is sure that the owner of the car is not willing to sell it, but he couldn’t prevent himself from saying, “I wish I had the car.”