Trivia

Famous Automobiles: Adolf Hitler's Mercedes-Benz Cars Part 1

About famous automobiles specifically the history and information about Adolf Hiter's Mercedes-Benz cars.

ADOLF HITLER'S BIG CAR

In 1941, it appears, Hitler ordered 2 or more 770-K Mercedes-Benz cars equipped for his personal use. To the 20'-long chassis were added 2,000 lbs. of armor plate and bullet-proof glass which, with 500 lbs. of fuel, oil, and radiator fluid, came to nearly 10,000 lbs. of weight per car. The armor plate is 1/2" thick while the glass is 1 1/4" and is said to have been tested by Hitler himself when he shot a Luger at it. One of the cars still bears a nicked side window.

Engines in the 770-K put out 230 hp from single-overhead-cam straight-8s but employ dual carburetors and dual ignition, 2 plugs for each cylinder, to get it. Superchargers cut in automatically if the gas pedal is floored. Nevertheless, 100 mph was probably the top speed ever reached by these Hitler cars. And even with 51-gallon gas tanks, these gas eaters get barely 3 mi. to a gallon, affording a driving range of only 150 mi. Equipped with independent front and back power brakes that surpass U.S. safety requirements, the cars could be lubricated en route by a couple of pumps on a pedal on the driver's side. Many features, such as the 4-wheel independent suspension with coil springs and hydraulic shocks, were standard equipment not only on the Hitler cars but on other contemporary models of Mercedes as well.

Two of Hitler's cars have crossed the Atlantic. The 1st was the one which Hitler presented to Field Marshal Carl Gustav Mannerheim of Finland to cement the Finno-German alliance. When the Russians attacked Finland, Mannerheim whisked his Hitler car off to neutral Sweden for safekeeping. But then the Swedish Government confiscated it, apparently for unpaid taxes, and put it up for sale. In 1948, Christopher G. Janus, managing director of Eximport Associates of Chicago, obtained it in lieu of cash for a shipment of ball bearings delivered to Sweden by his company.

Janus's car arrived in New York on June 29, 1948, and by mid-August of that year it had found a new career luring young Americans into enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. After a kickoff rally in Times Square, the car went on a nationwide tour with stops at principal recruiting centers. In a little over a year, this particular 770-K presumably enticed an endless number of men into the U.S. armed services. Reportedly it had also raised more than $100,000 for charitable causes in exhibitions throughout the U.S. Even then the car lapped up more than $2,500 for repairs, but with the handsome returns it brought for charity, no one complained.

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