A CAR dealer from North Yorkshire has discovered a Nazi car which could be worth a staggering £12 million in a garage in Russia.
Nick Szkiler, who owns the Classic & Sportscar Centre, at West Knapton, near Malton, was told the Mercedes 540K Special Roadster, one of only 26 ever made, had been discovered rotting away in the garage.
Mr Szkiler said: “I took a flight to Moscow and then a 15-hour sleeper train ride after which I was shown a car the like of which I had never seen.”
The car was built in 1942 by Germany’s premier coachbuilders, Erdmann and Rossi.
“The firm was at the cutting edge of technology in their day and had created this later Blue Goose to be both bullet and blast protected,” he said.
The car was built with full body armour, identical to the model built for Hermann Goering, Reichsmarschall of the German Reich. That vehicle, nicknamed Blue Goose, was captured by US troops in 1945 and is now believed to be the most famous classic car in history.
Mr Szkiler, 54, said much of the car’s body was made from eight millimetres thick steel with some parts as thick as 12mm.
The front bumper is designed for ramming while the rear bumper has rubber buffers which would have allowed the car to be shunted in the event of being disabled by a bomb blast.
Mr Szkiler, whose Polish father was forced into slave labour by the Nazis, said: “I’d never seen a car made this way. Standing in this little Russian lock-up, it took two of us to open the cabriolet hood mechanism.
“Much of the car was substituted with Russian parts as the car fell into disrepair in the 1970s, so restoration will be a huge undertaking, but it is an amazing find. Examining the underbody, there underneath layers of later paint was the original air force blue colour so favoured by the infamous Reichsmarschall.”
Despite being built for the Nazis, Mr Szkiler said the sale of the car, which could fetch up to £12 million when fully restored, will be used for good.
He said: “As a Christian I know what the Bible says the wealth of the wicked is stored up for. The family who owned the car have Jewish roots and suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazis. The owner, his Russian Pastor and myself all see the proceeds of this vehicle being put to purposes close to our hearts.
“They see raising money from this particular car almost like divine retribution.”