by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

CLASSIC: German court decides a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 500 K roadster must return to its rightful owners

The court from Hamburg has recently decided that a rare Mercedes-Benz 500 K "Spezial-Roadster" model built in 1937, once owned by Hans Prym, must now be returned back to the heirs of the German businessman. Hans Prym is world famous for his company specialized in manufacturing zips, buttons and several other clothing fasteneres, established in the town of Stolberg near the Belgian and Dutch borders. This family-owned business is still running nowadays, which makes it one of the oldest and most successful ones in history.

Sticking to the 500 K, Hans Prym purchased the expensive car in 1935 and kept it in a garage in Stolberg. Year 1945 found the businessman imprisoned by the Allied Forces, with most of his possessions being taken away by the U.S. troops. The 500 K was among the goods that were shipped off to the United States of America, also because the one in charge to look after it, Franz Wagemann, was away when the vehicle disappeared (read stolen). Up to the 1970s, the car's history remains shrouded in darkness, but given its current state, the 500 K was carefully preserved by the numerous owners it had.

In 2011, the roadster was bought by Dutch classic car collector Frans van Haren after he paid no less than $3.8 million at an auction organized in Monterey, California. When he offered it for sale in March this year at Techno Classica, held in Essen, Germany, it was impounded under court order, after Prym's daughter, 84 years old, started legal action to restore the truth. Alexander Martius, the attorney who took over this case and represented Prym's heirs in court, declared: “We think the decision is right and it’s an important step toward restitution. I am extraordinarily happy for the Prym family.”

Credits: Bloomberg

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