The much anticipated auction Wednesday of the 1939 Mercedes-Benz, used by Adolf Hitler as a parade car and housed in Greeneville for almost three decades, resulted in no sale, even though it brought a bid of $7 million.

According to a Worldwide Auctioneers representative, the 1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Oftener Tourenwagen was a “no sale.” Worldwide Auctioneers conducted the Scottsdale event, which featured more than 80 vehicles, primarily antique cars and classic American muscle cars with a few newer model Italian supercars.

Bidding for the Mercedes-Benz reached $7 million, the representative from Worldwide Auctioneers indicated in an email to The Greeneville Sun, and post-auction negotiations between the high bidder and the owner of the car are still ongoing.

A minimum value is sometimes set for sale of vehicles in car auctions, and if bids do not reach the minimum, no sale will take place.

The auction of the car has received national and international media attention, not only due to the rare public opportunity to purchase such a historic vehicle, but also because 10 percent of the sale price is to be donated to efforts to educate people about the Holocaust and how such atrocities can be prevented in the future. Worldwide Auctioneers described the car as “the most historically significant automobile ever offered for public sale” in its promotional materials about the Scottsdale event, but also emphasized in those materials that the auction of the car was intended in no way to glorify Hitler or the atrocities of the Nazi regime.

Locally, the interest in the car remains strong among car enthusiasts and those who remember the Mercedes from the almost three decades that it was located in Greeneville.

The car, which has been documented as used by Hitler in parades on four occasions (one with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini also riding in the vehicle), was brought to Greeneville in 1946 by local industrialist Tom Austin, who acquired it in exchange for $1,800 worth of tobacco from a Belgian whose family operated a cigarette factory. Tobacco was a scarce commodity in post-war Europe.

In 1949, Austin donated the vehicle to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1990, which kept the Mercedes until 1976 when the organization sold it to a car collector from Kentucky for $50,000.

The VFW used the car in local parades, carrying dignitaries and Gold Star Mothers who had lost their sons in battle. But the Mercedes became more difficult to maintain for the VFW as it aged, and the vehicle was in storage for many years before it was sold.

A Kentucky car collector, Steve Munson, and his family refurbished the car after purchasing it from the VFW and researched further into its history, discovering that it had been used by Hitler. During the decades it stayed in Greeneville, most believed the car to have been used by Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS of the Nazi party. That was what had been told to Austin when he purchased the vehicle. Local car enthusiast John Lingo said that his research into the car indicates that it was part of a pool of vehicles designated for use by Nazi leaders in parades.

But Munson’s research eventually found that the heavily fortified car had been built to specifications ordered by Hitler’s personal chauffeur, and it had been first used by Hitler in October 1939. According to information from Worldwide Auctioneers, the Mercedes is one of five surviving Grosser Offener Tourenwagens and one of three to be privately owned.

Mercedes designed the Grosser to be a luxury vehicle for captains of industry and heads of state. When the Mercedes was housed in Greeneville, it was admired for its powerful eight-cylinder supercharged engine, easily capable of reaching speeds over 100 miles per hour, and noted for its armaments.

Additions to the car to ensure security of its occupants were extensive, and included 30 millimeter bullet resistant laminated glass, armor-plating on the sides and undercarriage, bullet-proof tires and an armor-plated panel at the rear of the car that could be raised or lowered depending upon the perceived threat level.

The Munson family sold to Mercedes to car collectors from Georgia in 1978, who then sold it to a Las Vegas casino owner, Ralph Engelstad in the 1980s. It became a part of Engelstad’s 21-car collection of classic Mercedes-Benz automobiles, which was sold in 2002 after his death to the current owner, an unnamed European.