Cars of Hilter And Team - Spirit of Speed
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During World War Two especially many leaders utilized innovative car designs to protect themselves and their passengers. The right-hand men with Hitler include Hermann Wilhelm Göring and Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron; SS).
Let’s look at some of the cars used by famous tyrants of the Second World War as they are more prone to the assassination than other leaders of the world at that time.
Hermann Wilhelm Göring was a German politician, military leader, and convicted war criminal who is known for his lavish lifestyle when compared to other leaders of Nazi Germany.
He was the 16th President of the Reichstag as well as the Luftwaffe commander during the Second World War.
- The Mercedes-Benz 540K (W29) is a car built by the German firm Mercedes-Benz from 1936 to 1940 and is used by this leader as a means of transportation during his free time. Rarely is he seen with this car as he has other cars in his collection that he used for transportation.
- This version of the car was based on Mercedes-Benz 540K special which was introduced in 1936. It was during the Berlin Automobile exhibition that Goering took a liking to this vehicle but when he tried to sit in the driver’s compartment of the car, he got stuck due to him being extremely overweight.
- Mercedes agreed to create a custom version of this car for the Nazi leader which had the price tag of 28,000 Reichsmarks. It was considerably more expensive than standard models due to it having armor-plated sides and bulletproof glass painted in sky blue with his family crest on both doors.
- Nicknamed the "Blue Goose" by Goering, the car was eventually captured in May 1945 by the famous 101st Airborne Division 'Screaming Eagles' when they entered Berchtesgaden – the home of Goering – which was subsequently given to Major General Maxwell Taylor as he used the car as his command vehicle in West Germany during the post-war period. The Blue Goose was auctioned in 2011 in Italy by Ontario, Canada-based RM Auctions for about $2 million.
- It was subsequently shipped to the United States where it was on tour to raise victory bonds. The car is currently under the ownership of Carnlough International Limited of Guernsey after buying it from the family of the deceased veterinarian Doctor George Bitgood Jr on the condition that the car was to be restored to its original form.
Heinrich Himmler was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler’s car has been on the market for a whopping €500,000 with no taker.
- He is known to be the mastermind behind The Final Solution or commonly known today as the Holocaust which is the attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
- Like many other leaders, Himmler needed a way to travel but he uses various cars that are placed with the vanity license plate SS-1 which is fixed to whatever vehicle he is traveling in.
- That form of numbering is used by various other leaders as well in the Third Reich. Besides the usual cars that he used, he also has his collection of cars often armor-plated and of the limousine types.
- Himmler would frequently visit soldiers on the Eastern and Western Fronts as well as POW camps and Ghettos. Some of these locations are on uneven terrain and so Himmler had to use a different kind of car that today we would refer to them as land rovers.
- The Wanderer W11 is such a car used by Himmler to visit such places due to its off-road abilities. It was used from 1941 onwards. The car was initially used by Hitler’s bodyguard unit, the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler before being used by Himmler for travel. Its previous model did not have doors, but later models included them as well as an improved engine. It was discovered in Latvia in 1991 after the Soviets captured the car and gave it to a local museum before it was put up for sale in 2014 when the museum was in financial difficulty. Recently, a company called Fantastic Fahrzeuge based in Germany is offering more than half a million euros for anyone willing to purchase this car.
Photo from TheValue
In 2018, Hitler's wartime automobile, a Mercedes-Benz 770 Grosser Offener Tourenwagen, is to be sold by auction in Scottsdale by a Russian billionaire.
- This car was used extensively by Adolf Hitler for short trips or visits. Originally, he was driven by Julius Schreck until 1936, Hitler was later driven by Emil Maurice, and finally by SS officer Erich Kempka until the final days of the war in 1945.
- By 1938, the huge W150 was the most expensive German passenger car for sale up to that time and Hitler did buy a few as gifts to the leaders of other axis nations such as Ion Antonescu and Francisco Franco.
- The car that is on auction was a fully armor-plated Mercedes built under the orders of Kempk for Hitler's 50th Birthday in 1939. The car had an 18 mm steel plate and 40 mm bullet-proof glass. To this date, only five models of this car exist in the world with three in private collections.
- During Mussolini's state visit in June 1940, the car was also used. Following the Nazis' swift defeat of France, Hitler used it for a victory parade a month later. As a result of Germany's victories over Yugoslavia and Greece, further outings with Hitler were made but as the time turned against Germany, the car was used less often.
- Afterward, the car was shipped to the United States in 1946 where Tom Austin, a rich tobacco planter, bought it.
- The car was left unrepaired due to its disuse until restored by two classic car hunters in 1976 before it was sold to Ralph Engelstad, owner of the Imperial Palace Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.
- At that time, the car was equipped with new parts that were ahead of its time. Its engine was a 7,655 cc M150 I8 and it was fitted with Hydraulic brakes which changed the older servo-assisted mechanical brakes system. The top speed was around 170 km/h and had been tuned to produce 155 bhp at 3000 rpm without supercharging.
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Writer of First under heaven & A Song For Zenith
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