Car fans search for lost Mercedes of a Thirties grand prix ace
Thursday 10 October 1996
Maurice Owen believes that the Mercedes in which Dick Seaman was killed lies buried under a chapel in the grounds of the former Worcestershire manor house which was his family home.
Seaman was burned to death in a crash at the La Source hairpin bend on the Spa motor racing circuit during the Belgian Grand Prix on 27 June 1939.
He was the son of a wealthy British Nazi sympathiser and the only non-German member of the world-beating Mercedes motor racing team which was the pride of Nazi Germany. He started driving for the team in 1937 and won four races for them. Yet he was himself an anti-Nazi and his mother, Lilian Bettes-Seaman, who was held under house arrest during the Second World War, never forgave him when he patriotically had his silver Mercedes repainted in British Racing Green.
Mr Owen, 70, the technical director of the Morgan Motor Company, believes that after her son's death, Mrs Bettes-Seaman had the wreck of his car brought to England and buried under a chapel which she turned into a shrine in his memory. Mr Owen and a group of fellow enthusiasts are seeking permission to search for the wreckage with a thermal imaging camera in the grounds of the family's former home, Pull Court at Longdon, near Upton-upon-Severn, which is now the privately run Bredon school. The group, which includes a former motoring journalist and the American agent for Morgan Motors, is planning to make a film about the venture.
"I have been aware for some time of rumours that Dick Seaman's mother, who was an odd sort of person, brought the car back to Britain, and it is a fascinating story," Mr Owen said. "This is particularly interesting for me because I used to live near Pull Court as a boy and often went up there to talk to the mechanics as they were working on the car. I even met Dick Seaman himself once and found him a very pleasant young undergraduate. He used to test his car up and down the drive outside the house."
The theory is that Mrs Bettes-Seaman obtained the remains of the crashed Mercedes with the help of Hitler's Foreign Minister, Count von Ribbentrop, who was a personal friend and who was often a guest at Pull Court before the outbreak of war. The engine was retained by Mercedes and is now exhibited in the company's museum in Stuttgart.
Mercedes has four of the cars which made up the six-strong racing team. The sixth was owned by Nicolai Ceausescu, the late Romanian Communist dictator, and is thought to be in pieces in farm buildings somewhere in Romania.
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
North Korea calls Barack Obama 'a monkey' in latest attack as 'The Interview' row festers
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...