The Mercedes 350 SL offered for sale on March 19 at Bonhams auction of Mercedes cars in Mercedes museum in Stuttgart was owned once by Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu purchased this Mercedes 350 SL Convertible with hardtop in 1973, eight years after was elected general secretary of Romanian Communist party.
He would continue as that country’s President until his brutal and repressive Stalinist regime was overthrown by a popular revolt in 1989. After a perfunctory trial, Nicolai Ceauşescu and his wife Elena were shot by firing squad on Christmas Day. By that time, the Romanian people had endured a decade of painful austerity as Ceauşescu attempted to pay off the country’s crippling foreign debt, caused by his own reckless borrowing during the 1970s, some of which, no doubt, was used to purchase this Mercedes. He did this by exporting much of the country’s agricultural and industrial production, resulting in domestic shortages that made the everyday life of Romanians a fight for survival. Food was rationed while cuts to the gas and electricity supply became commonplace. Few were sorry to see the Ceauşescus go.
In 1999 the Romanian government auctioned the Ceauşescus’ estate and among the items finding new owners was this Mercedes-Benz, which by that time had covered only 4,038 kilometres. The car was then re-commissioned, as evidenced by the accompanying invoice for parts supplied by Mercedes-Benz Romania (original parts retained). The odometer reading had increased to circa 17,500 kilometres by 2007, since when the Mercedes has not been driven. The car has now been recommissioned with a complete service carried out by a marque specialist. This 350 SL is ready to drive.
Noteworthy features of this unique vehicle include remnants of the security system installed by the Securitate (Romanian secret police), a Becker Mexico radio, and a Becker short-wave radio system (in the glove compartment). The tyres are the originals from 1973. Accompanying documentation consists of a Romanian government auction certificate, Romanian registration papers, assorted press cuttings, and the aforementioned parts invoice.
Ironically, all the proceeds of the Ceauşescu car’s sale will be donated to the registered charity ‘Crosscause’, which was founded in 2003 by volunteers to support and educate over 60 special-needs orphans in Romania on a daily basis. Since then the charity’s work has expanded further into Eastern Europe and West Africa. All funds from this sale will help the further expansion of this work.
The car has Chassis no. 107043-10-010982 and engine no. 0710894.
The estimated sale price is between 30,000 and 50,000 euro.