<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 167
Delivered new to Embiricos
1937 MERCEDES-BENZ 540K CABRIOLET A
Coachwork by Sindelfingen

Sold for US$ 2,970,000 inc. premium
Delivered new to Embiricos
1937 MERCEDES-BENZ 540K CABRIOLET A
Coachwork by Sindelfingen

Chassis no. 154083
Engine no. 154083

5,401cc OHV Inline 8-cylinder Engine with Rootes Supercharger
180bhp at 3400rpm With Blower Engaged
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes

* One of only 32 of this design constructed
* Exquisite low slung two seater touring car
* Original UK delivery
* Fine, fresh older restoration completed
* One of the great automobiles of its day



THE 1930s KOMPRESSOR MERCEDES-BENZ

Together with its predecessor the 500 K, the magnificent Mercedes-Benz 540 K was arguably the most noteworthy production model offered by the Stuttgart firm during the 1930s, representing the pinnacle of its pre-war achievements. A development of the 500 K, whose independently suspended chassis it shared, the 540 K was powered by a 5.4-litre supercharged straight-eight engine. The 540 K was one of the first models developed under Mercedes' new chief engineer, ex-racing driver Max Sailer, successor to Hans Nibel, who had died in November 1934 aged only 54. Mercedes-Benz's flagship model, it featured the company's famous Roots-type supercharger system in which pressing the accelerator pedal to the end of its travel would simultaneously engage the compressor and close off the alternative atmospheric intake to the carburettor. This system had been thoroughly proven on the preceding series of Dr Ferdinand Porsche-conceived S cars that had dominated racing during the 1920s, and in effect the 540 K was the last supercharged production Mercedes until relatively recent times.

Presented at the Paris Salon in October 1936, the 540 K was hailed by Mercedes-Benz as conjuring up 'visions of breath-taking exploits of racing cars and drivers of international fame, but also of superlative comfort and coachwork of exquisite beauty, fine paintwork, brightly polished metal, the finest hardwoods and leather - massive and yet outstandingly attractive bodies - in short: the car for the connoisseur.' It had an engine that developed 115PS un-supercharged or 180PS (178bhp) with the compressor engaged, while the gearbox was a four-speeder but with a direct top gear rather than the overdrive ratio used on the earlier 500K. With the supercharger engaged, the 540 K's blown straight eight gave it a top speed approaching 110mph (177km/h. Servo-assisted hydraulic brakes provided adequate stopping power.

Its performance potential was such that Mercedes-Benz in the UK retained racing driver Goffredo 'Freddy' Zehender as technical adviser and demonstration driver, since the super-charged Mercedes was one of the few genuine 100mph road cars available in the 1930s.

Tested by Britain's Motor magazine, the 540 K was judged to have less heavy steering and handling than its predecessor, the 500 K, plus an even more comfortable ride, even though the same all-round independent suspension layout with parallel links and coil springs at the front and swing axles at the rear was retained. The Motor's test car returned 102mph over the timed quarter-mile with the supercharger engaged and 85mph with it disengaged. The servo-assisted brakes came in for fulsome praise, the blower was found to be relatively quiet and the springing more comfortable than that of the 500 K, while the steering and handling also compared favourably with that model.

In May 1938, the 540 K was tested by Motor's rival magazine Autocar and achieved the highest maximum speed of any road-test car up to that date: carrying three pas¬sengers, the car reached 104.65mph (168.5km/h) on the race circuit at Brooklands, Surrey. 'One's foot goes hard down, and an almost demonical howl comes in,' reported test driver H S Linfield. 'The rev counter and speedometer needles leap round their dials: there is perhaps no other car noise in the world so distinctive as that produced by the Mercedes supercharger.'

Late in 1938, a revised 540 K made its appearance, with oval-section chassis tubes instead of channel frame members, while the adoption of sodium-cooled valves followed the company's highly successful racing practice. The manufacturing record of the 540 K reveals its exclusive nature: 97 being produced in 1936, 145 in 1937, 95 in 1938 and 69 in 1939 before the war ended series production (though three more were built up to July 1942). In recent years, the rarity, style and performance of these big supercharged Mercedes have made them one of the most sought-after of all classic cars on the few occasions they have come on the open market.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Testament to the quality of the brand over other automobiles in the 1930s era, even as the decade progressed the unapproachable supercharged Mercedes-Benz remained extremely popular with their well-established British clientele. Numerous examples were delivered to the UK including this car. Ordered under commission number 236582, Mercedes fulfilled the requirement of Mr. Embiricos.

Of course Embiricos has one of those 'magic of a name' connotations in motoring history, forever being associating with the unique Bentley Aerodynamic Coupe designed by Georges Paulin and built by Pourtout for shipping and banking magnate Andre M. Embiricos and contested Le Mans no fewer than 3 times in the post war era.

André Embiricos was not the only member of the family to have a fondness for fine automobiles, his cousin Nicholas carved his own path in contemporary racing with both Bugatti Type 57S and an ERA. It is not confirmed, but seems more likely that it was Nicholas Embiricos who owned the Mercedes offered here as he was certainly resident in England in the late 1930s and is known to have other cars registered in London, including a Bugatti Type 57C. Within a few short years after emigrating to America in 1941 he sadly met his demise in an air accident in Rhode Island.

As new, Mr. Embiricos received the very latest version of the two seater cabriolet bodywork that Mercedes now offered, which was stunningly beautiful and distinctive from its predecessor in being more aerodynamic and low slung. The full effect is created by careful revisions to the theme, with the radiator set a full 6 inches behind the centre line of the front wheels, a super low windshield and top, and its lines unblemished by spares, a single extra wheel placed on the swept back tail. According to the definitive work on these cars by Jan Melin, Mr. Embiricos would have been one of only 32 individuals to have received this version of coachwork.

As charted by the records of the Ronald H. Johnson archive, a gentleman who ran the Mercedes-Benz Club and charted histories of the marque in the UK, by 1940 the car had passed through Mercedes-Benz of Great Britain to S. Pettit of Pulborough in the Sussex county in the UK and then to a Haulage contractor in 1944. Notes in this archive state that at the point of this third change of ownership the car was still in 'almost new' condition. Finished then in white with pigskin upholstery and with a patent leather roof, the car must have been quite a striking presence wherever it was seen.

By the 1980s the car had migrated to America where it came onto the radar of noted aficionado Don Williams of the legendary Blackhawk Collection. Acquired by him, while in his custody a sympathetic and exacting restoration of the bodywork brought it to the jet black scheme it wears today. A direct contrast to its original livery it is undeniably appropriate for the car and accentuates the late form of Cabriolet A beautifully showing how low its windshield and overall profile is. In this scheme, the chrome and whitewalls tires provide exquisite detail features.

The interior was clearly refurbished at the same time in a parchment hide, and remains complete and correct with its luggage stowed behind the two seats. A single digit reading on the odometer suggests that barely any mileage has been carried out since this rebuild, a fact endorsed by its stunning condition today.

With a pedigree that began in the stable of one of the true motoring sportsmen of his day, and a beautiful still fresh restoration, the Embiricos Cabriolet A awaits a return to the hallowed lawns of Concours fields around the world.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the title for this car is in transit.
Contacts
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
<i>Delivered new to Embiricos</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  540K CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen<br /></B><BR />Chassis no. 154083<BR />Engine no. 154083
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