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A famous Humber racer in retirement
Today we introduce you to just two names amongst the interesting long list in RMSotheby's sale to be held in Arizona on 19-20 January.
One was born just before WW2 and after successfully going into hiding for the duration, emerged to escape and enjoy an exciting life. The other was born in 1924 and never left home.
Let's start with the car having lots of stamps in its passport. In 1939, Rolf Horn was proprietor of of Gebrüder Horn in Berlin, one of the city’s most exclusive art and interior décor boutiques and with success came wealth, so Rolf bought himself a Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster.
However, he soon realised that luxuries such as automobiles with high fuel consumption would be impossible so the car was put into storage and vanished from sight.
Discovered in what was now Soviet-controlled East Berlin in 1949, the car was on blocks just as Rolf Horn left it with low mileage. It was driven by Soviet diplomats until 1953, when the Soviet-produced ZIL automobiles became available, and eventually made its way to Russia. These historic images not only emphasize the intact condition of the car, but the visible registration numbers place it in Moscow by the late 1950s.
Muscovite enthusiast Arthur Leshtin acquired the car ( amongst many others) using it for a period in which he repainted it white and even took his wife on a tour through Crimea in it. After repainting the car in its original black, he sold it in 1964, after which the new owner used it as a regular mode of transportation in Moscow for three years before driving it across the border into his native Sweden. A daring show of bravado thus preserving a very valuable piece of Mercedes-Benz history for future generations.
The car has had a nut-and-bolt restoration which will help explain the mouth-watering price we suspect will be bid at the auction.
Now we come to Cinderella, a 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Landaulet which records show was never delivered to her first customer, and after being used as a demonstration model for occasional wealthy customers and in which chauffeurs would learn their trade, Isotta Fraschini soon put the nearly new automobile into storage at a warehouse, away from the factory, thus saving it from destruction when the Works was obliterated during World War II.
In 1993, the Isotta Fraschini name was revived by a partnership between Audi and coachbuilders Fissore. They eventually sold the name to Finmeccanica, an Italian defence, aerospace, and security company, and in the course of that deal, this car was discovered, still in the warehouse, which had remained in company ownership and largely forgotten. The current owner purchased the car directly from Finmeccanica and shipped it to the United States, 92 years after it was built.
A true 'time-warp' just as it left the factory in 1924, except for the tyres which were replaced, leaving two originals fitted to the spare wheels.
Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy RMSotheby's
Vintage and Prestige Cars is a real classic car enthusiast. He sent us some snow pictures of him and his Rolls. This is the way to use 'the best car of the world', isn't it?
Motoring back from Dublin a couple of years ago in minus 5 degrees. Took the boat from dublin to holyhead then drove the A5 through Wales acting like I was on the retreat from Moscow sheepskin clad from head to foot.
Christmas day 15 years ago.
Minus 12 degrees (with freezing being plus 32 degrees. A candle lit & left burning under the engine was the only way to get it to start.
Note the Ski tips poking out from behind my head.
I used to be in the habit of driving up the base of the first lift, tossing my skis off the running board & stepping right into them leaving the car next to the lift for the amusement & admiration of the people in the lift line.
My first ever phantom I drove years round. Even at minus 30 in Idaho.
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