The British tycoon who sleeps in Hitler’s BED: World’s biggest collector of Nazi memorabilia has £100million haul including Panzer tanks and V2 rockets
- Kevin Wheatcroft, 55, from Leicestershire is reportedly worth £120million
- His father fought for Britain in the war and returned with a German wife
- Kevin started his collection with stormtrooper’s helmet when he was five
- He is often accused of being a Nazi but says he likes the items because every one has a story
When he was five, Kevin Wheatcroft received an unusual birthday present from his parents: a bullet-pocked SS stormtrooper’s helmet. He had requested it especially.
The next year, at a car auction in Monte Carlo, he asked his multi-millionaire father for a Mercedes: the G4 that Hitler rode into the Sudetenland in 1938. Tom Wheatcroft refused to buy it and his son cried all the way home.
Kevin Wheatcroft is now 55, and according to the Sunday Times Rich List, worth £120 million. He lives in Leicestershire, where he looks after his late father’s property portfolio and oversees the management of Donington Park Racetrack and motor museum (which he also owns).
The ruling passion of his life, though, is what he calls the Wheatcroft Collection — widely regarded as the world’s largest accumulation of German military vehicles and Nazi memorabilia.
The collection has largely been kept private, under heavy guard, in industrial buildings Wheatcroft owns near Market Harborough, or at his homes in Leicestershire, south-west France and south-west Germany. There is no official valuation, but some estimates put the worth at more than £100 million.
Among the internet tribes of World War II enthusiasts, the Wheatcroft Collection is spoken about as a near-mythical trove. Now he is guardedly opening it up to a wider audience, launching a rather creaky website and putting a handful of vehicles on display at his motor museum.
Wheatcroft’s father, Tom, a building site worker from Castle Donington, returned from World War II a hero. He also came back with a wife, Wheatcroft’s mother, Lenchen, whom he had first seen from a tank turret as he pulled into her village in Lower Saxony.
Tom, who died in 2009, made millions in the post-war building boom, then spent the rest of his life indulging his zeal for motor cars.
Exact figures are hard to come by, but the annual global turnover of the market for Nazi memorabilia is estimated to be in excess of £30 million. The trade is either banned or strictly regulated in Germany, France, Austria, Israel and Hungary. No major auction house will handle Nazi memorabilia and neither will eBay.
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