'Stolen' Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster tops Bonhams Chantilly sale
A highly rare Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster stolen at the end of WWII has topped a Bonhams classic car sale, having been reunited with its owners after 80 years.
The company's Chantilly auction featured an exclusive line-up of vehicles, from historic racers to modern-day supercars, which together fetched a total of more than €9 million ($10.11 million).
Leading the sale was the Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster, which had originally made its debut at the Berlin Motor Show back in 1935.
No sooner had the car been unveiled on the Mercedes-Benz stand then it was snapped up by Hans Friedrech Prym (1875-1965), the son of a prominent German industrialist family and businessman known as 'The Zipper King'.
However, the car was confiscated by American troops during the aftermath of WWII and promptly shipped across the Atlantic, where it passed through several U.S private collections before returning to Europe in 2011.
A ruling stated that the car had been originally been stolen from the Prym family back in 1945, and it was returned to its rightful owners – who then decided to offer it as the star lot of the Bonhams Chantilly sale.
As one of only 29 examples of its kind ever built, the car attracted attention from bidders around the world, and eventually sold for €5,290,000 ($5.94 million).
The auction also saw strong results for a trio of classic pre-War cars from the German company Horch: a 1937 Horch 853 Spezial Roadster which sold for sold for €1,035,000 ($1.16 million), a 1938 Horch 853 A Sport Cabriolet, and a 1934 Horch 780 B Cabriolet which each sold for €632,500 ($711,050).
Further highlights include a 1956 Bentley S1 Coupé, sold for €293,250 ($329,670); a 1993 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupé which realized €238,625 ($268,260); a 1965 Rolls-Royce SilverCloud III Cabriolet which sold for €207,000 ($232,700); and a 1994 Porsche 928 GTS which sold for €101,200 ($113,770).
"Chantilly Arts & Elegance is a fabulous event where Bonhams is proud to offer the sole motoring auction," said Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Co-Chairman.
"We've achieved an excellent result today, and look forward to the two further auctions coming up in September, with the Goodwood Revival Sale taking place 10 September, and the Robert White Collection Sale taking place 19 September."
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