By: Michael Shields and Chris Thompson
Across the Margin presents the next installment of its podcast, Beyond the Margin, and an unforgettable story about the Mercedes Benz Aktion P…
With the help of John O’Leary, a researcher and writer chronicling the story of three Americans who discovered the holy grail of Mercedes Benz cars, a Nazi-commissioned 1939 540K Aktion P, hosts Michael Shields and Chris Thompson get behind the wheel of a fascinating car-centric adventure story as they talk with John about one of the most unique automotive finds of World War Two.
Admittedly, Chris and Mike aren’t car guys, but neither was John, when a chance conversation with his father-in law started him on a journey to chronicle the history and wild adventure of rediscovery surrounding this unique-Nazi era car. Poised to release a book entitled Action P: Survival of A 1939 540K Mercedes Benz from World War Two, and with a personal stake in the cars discovery – his father in law was one of the three American’s who discovered the rare Aktion P in the 1990s, spread out amongst several barns in post-communist Estonia – John recounts a wild tale of adventure and discovery, steeped in World War Two era history, where the plot reads more like Ocean’s 11 or the Bank Job (minus the guns and high-tech wizardry, this is the 90s we are talking about). And the players involved, with their outsized personalities, read more like Indiana Jones, a collection of eccentrics who are forced to dig deep, using more than just money, their strength and their connections, to achieve their ultimate goal: getting the rare Mercedes Benz out of the country before the Russian Mafia, the authorities and whatever unsavory characters that came to power after the fall of Communism in the 90s could take it away.
It’s a story about taking chances, of putting your expertise and your reputation on the line for all the marbles. It’s a bold tale of adventure in which each successive layer that’s revealed, brings about its own struggles and complications as the story unfolds. It’s storytelling in its purest form, something Mike and Chris over at Across the Margin like to provoke and supply their readers with in numerous forms. So dive deep and join along as our latest episode of Beyond the Margin shows you that there are stories to be found everywhere, sometimes just a father-in-law away1.
- Above image is © Richard G. Reuter and courtesy of The Reuter’s Coach Works Archive. [↩]