Featured: Remembering A Certain Scandalous Mercedes 190SL And Its Owner

Remembering A Certain Scandalous Mercedes 190SL And Its Owner

By Alex Sobran
May 8, 2017
11 comments

Photography by Petra Sagnak

Rosemarie Nitribitt may not ring any immediate bells, but she was arguably at one point one of Germany’s most well-known Mercedes Benz drivers in the 1950s. Her fame was garnered not on the track or in a Stuttgart engineering office though, but instead was the consequence of being Frankfurt’s most prominent and premier prostitute. A profession adopted following a tumultuous childhood marred by abusive foster “care,” Nitribitt put herself on the street, and quickly ascended to minor celebrity status. In part due to her unabashed and rather open practice of her practice, Nitribitt’s notoriety can also be largely a accredited to her commuter car of choice: a black Mercedes 190SL.

Criss-crossing the city in a map dotted with politicians and other denizens of society’s uppermost crust, it was only a matter of time before the young woman in the black Benz about town made a name for herself, and the car for that matter—as 190SLs were commonly referred to as Nitribitt-Mercedes at the time. She had built for herself a lifestyle intertwined with high society and decadence far-removed from her unstable upbringing, and was now galavanting around Frankfurt’s high-end hotels and the like with a rather open character as to how this had come to be.

Especially given the timeline—remember this was happening in the Germany in the decade following WWII, so things were not exactly all free and glitzy at the time—Nitribitt’s escapades were remarkably scandalous for the environment they took place in. Imagine being in a country that’s recently lost a world war and is trying to rebuild in that grim grit-teethed way that follows, and then in that grey and sober mental image plop in a sleek convertible sports car driven by an open prostitute making much more money than the average citizen. In hindsight it seems bound for a breaking point, though there is no telling of the true motives involved in her unsolved murder.

Heightening her salacious reputation, Nitribitt’s eccentric life came to conclusion in her posh Frankfurt apartment, where she was found days after her death in an investigation that ultimately proved fruitless. Her’s is a story of living on the fringes of society to the utmost; the abused and directionless adolescent come high-end call girl who delighted in life’s luxuries when they became attainable. Regardless of your moral stance on the way she conducted her life, she certainly led it with gusto.

In tribute to Rosemarie Nitribitt, the talented Petra Sagnak has put together this beautiful black and white gallery for your enjoyment.

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Alan Pugliese
Alan Pugliese
4 years ago

666 license plate?

Jack Brewer
Jack Brewer
5 years ago

Nice story.

The headline should be edited from “it’s” to “its.”

Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito
5 years ago

“the abused and directionless adolescent come high-end call girl who delighted in life’s luxuries when they became attainable. ”

I believe it should be “cum high-end call girl”, but it seems appropriate for this article.

John Calia
John Calia
5 years ago

I confess that I still long to add this car from my youth to my garage. As for Ms. Nitribitt, my hat is off to her for making lemonade from lemons.

Alexandre Goncalves
Alexandre Goncalves
5 years ago

GS, thanks for the picture, as I also feel that this article should have , at least, one original picture of the main characters!

Wingnut
Wingnut
5 years ago

GS, thanks for saving me the time to go search for a photo of our mademoiselle or is it madame. Like you I felt the story and photos begged for a picture of her with her lovely motor car.

GuitarSlinger
GuitarSlinger
5 years ago
Reply to  Wingnut

It had to be done .. no one else around .. so it had to be me .. so I did

And you’re quite welcome

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer
5 years ago

Imagine what Raymond Chandler could have done with this story.

GuitarSlinger
GuitarSlinger
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill Meyer

Good one ! Or … for for a more twisted albeit interesting verging on surrealistic version [ which if you delve into the details a little deeper is quite apposite ] … Thomas Pynchon … with a film version afterwards by Paul Thomas Anderson

😎

GuitarSlinger
GuitarSlinger
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill Meyer

Uhhhh ….on 2nd thought .. after careful consideration thinking about his novel ” The Women ” fictionalizing the many twists and turns of FLW’s life … T.C. Boyle’s the man to put pen to paper on this one .

GuitarSlinger
GuitarSlinger
5 years ago

I’ve read about her story somewhere else [ probably Star ] and its an interesting story indeed well worth retelling showing one more aspect of the characters over the decades that have owned Mercedes Benz’s .. some more sordid than others ( and yes I am among their numbers )

As for the photos .. two thumbs up .. but at least one photo of Rosemarie Nitribitt herself should of been included as well … so I’ll include one ;

http://coolspotters.com/files/photos/700072/rosemarie-nitribitt-and-mercedes-benz-190-sl-gallery.jpg?1357436766