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1942 Mercedes Benz V12 600K, Special fully armored body by Erdmann & Rossi, sport cabriolet on shortened wheelbase.
Length 5100mm and Weight as found exceeds 4000KG
Built between 1936 and 1939 the Mercedes 540K Special roadster is one of the world's most exclusive cars. Only 26 such cars were built . One such car previously owned by Warner Brothers' Jack Warner, sold for $3.63 million in 2005. Bernie Ecclestone's Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster sold for £3.9 million pounds in 2007. Of these very exclusive cars, the 1937 armour plated car built for Hermann Goering, Reichsmarschall of the Greater German Reich is arguably the most famous.
Captured by U.S. forces in 1945, the history of that car, nicknamed ‘Blue Goose' by the U.S. forces who captured it is attached. It has been carefully restored to ‘as found' condition and is possibly the most valuable classic car in history.
Imagine my surprise at being told of a later ‘Blue Goose', the remains of which had been found in Russia. I wasted no time in following up this enquiry. 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. Coach built in 1942 by Germany's premier coachbuilders' Erdmann and Rossi, this Mercedes was truly unique.
The firm were at the cutting edge of technology in their day and had created this later ‘Blue Goose' to be both bullet and blast protected. Built as a Cabriolet with shortened armoured body the Mercedes M157 600K was of a design I had never seen before. Most of the car body was made from steel 8mm thick with some parts as much as 12mm. Front bumpers capable of ramming and massive rear bumper protrusions with rubber buffers at the rear were clearly intended to allow the car to be shunted in the event of being disabled by a bomb blast. I've owned hundreds of coach built cars over the years and these body parts could only have been made by huge steel presses. I'd never seen a car made this way.
Standing in this little Russian lockup, 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 under body, there underneath layers of later paint was the original air force blue colour so favoured by the infamous Reichmarschall.
Classic & Sportscar Centre, January 2010