To the Victor Go the Spoils – The Saga of Two Mercedes-Benz Classics Modelled by EMC
By Harvey Goranson
Part 2 – 1940 Mercedes-Benz 770K W150 “Grosser Mercedes” used by Adolf Hitler
Recently EMC issued another Third Reich Mercedes, the Type 770K used on at least several occasions by Adolf Hitler. This car is presently in the Canadian War Museum. At first it was believed to be Hermann Goering’s car, but after exhaustive research it was verified to have been used by der Führer. Please go here to read this history, but I’ll summarize further on: journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/mcr/article/view/17835/22142
In 1930, Mercedes replaced the Series 630 with the 770 (internal code W07). (Minichamps has done some nice versions of these, as used by Kaiser Wilhelm II and Emperor Hirohito). By 1938, Daimler-Benz upgraded the 770 with new bodywork and chassis, including independent front suspension and a De Dion axle at the rear. There were three series of the new internal code W150 cars: unarmored, armored, and the Staatskarosse, a more powerful armored version.
I’m going to digress a bit here and discuss a model that, as of 2016, is a half-century old.- Rio’s version of the “Grande Mercedes”’.
Shown above is Rio #22, a closed version. (Rio #23 is an open version, in gray.) By late 1966, Rio had made a name for itself making true collectors’ models, long before today’s super-detailed resin models. The Rio had a lift-off hood and a new novel feature, independently sprung wheels using coil springs:
I guess they didn’t take note of the De Dion rear axle spec, but we’ll give them an “A” for effort.
In researching this article, I checked out the license number of the Rio, and found a blog stating that 1A-148485 on this model corresponds to a car given to Hitler on his birthday in 1939. No photo however, so I don’t know if his present was maroon or not.
Around 1976 or so, Rio reissued the top down version as their own model of “Hitler’s car”, #64:
For this version, they added 5 spotlights, Nazi flags, and a bullet shield behind the rear seat. And, a new license: 1A-103708. So I searched this one out and found it actually belonged to a very similar 540K code W24 car, also used by Hitler. Close but no cigar, Rio.
Even after almost 50 years, the Rio casting compares favorably.
Getting back to history, the car that EMC modelled is Chassis #429334, registered 1Av148697, and delivered to Hitler’s adjutancy on July 8, 1940. Hitler can be seen exiting 1Av148697 here: journals.lib.unb.ca/journalimages/MCR/1999/Vol_50/mcr50rr01_fig1.jpg .
Skipping forward to May, 1945, the car was found on a railway car on a siding near Laufen, Germany by Sgt. T. Joe Azara of the US 20th Armored Division. It had several bullet holes in it (three in the windshield), at least one of which may have been of a caliber to suggest the car was straffed from the air. Anyway, Azara got it running, only to have it commandeered by the US military, painted olive green with white stars, and shipped back in August of 1945 for bond drive appearances like the Blue Goose. Because of this, an engine replacement from a car at Berchtesgaden, and the stories of the Blue Goose’s capture there, it became known as Goering’s car.
It was auctioned off in 1956 at the same sale as the Blue Goose, and purchased for a meager $2725 by H. J. O’Connell. The car swapped hands again, and in late 1969 Claude Pratt offered “Goering’s Mercedes” to the Canadian War Museum as for a tax receipt. The CWR obtained it (long since returned to black) and put it on display.
A CWR librarian, Ludwig Kosche, began looking into the assertion that this was Goering’s car. In 1982, he published the results of his investigation, which revealed conclusively that this was one of Hitler’s cars. Key indicators were the vent louvers at the rear of the hood, and four large slots for ventilation at the base of the windscreen, which are not found on other 770Ks. And, of course, license 1Av148697, combined with a photo of Hitler getting out of this same car.
Above can be seen key details of the CWR car, notably the license and the various wartime headlight covers. All the chrome work is beautifully done.
EMC researched the car well, remembering to add the vents in the hood and ahead of the windshield. The right side rectangular “stiff” flag and left cloth flag match period photos.
With these three and the two earlier Minichamps versions, I now have five 770s in my collection.