Cars We Love: 1935 Mercedes 500 K Erdmann & Rossi

The Mercedes-Benz 500 K was Mercedes’ supercharged (K = Kompressor, or supercharger) sports car built from 1934 – 1936. The car featured surprisingly advanced equipment for the time – safety glass, hydraulic brakes, and a 12-volt electrical system that powered electric windshield wipers and door locks. Erdmann & Rossi are the Berlin-based coachbuilders who created this particular car’s graceful Art Deco body design.

This incredibly beautiful car also has a fascinating history. Originally purchased in 1935 by King Ghazi, the then-23-year-old King of Iraq, the car stayed within the kingdom after his death in 1939, eventually becoming the property of Saddam Hussein many decades later.  Saddam traded the car for another Mercedes to King Hussein of Jordan, who later returned the car to Saddam – but only after sending it to a Mercedes specialist in Germany who created a flawless replica of the car’s body. The replica body, matched with an original Mercedes chassis, is now in the collection of the Technik Museum Speyer in Speyer, Germany.

After the fall of Saddam’s empire, the original Merc was photographed in an underground garage at his palace in Baghdad. And this is where the trail went cold in our research. Many of the cars in Saddam’s collection were looted or destroyed in the fall of Baghdad, but the fate of the original version of this amazing car is unknown – to us, anyway. Where do you think the original Mercedes is?

Photos by Georg Sander (1, 2)


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