<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201

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

Lot 31
A very rare and desirable
1937 MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A

Refer to department for estimate
A very rare and desirable
1937 MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A
Coachwork by Sindelfingen

Chassis no. 154146
Engine no. 154146
Body no. 826201
5,401cc OHV Supercharged Inline 8-cylinder Engine
Single Updraft Carburetor
115bhp or 180bhp with Gear-driven Supercharger Engaged
4-speed Manual Transmission
Independent Coil Spring Front Suspension – Rear Swing Axles
4-wheel Servo-Assisted Hydraulic Drum Brakes

*Sleek Sindelfingen design of great and enduring beauty
*Very rare set-back radiator as on Sindelfingen Spezial Roadster
*Concours-quality restoration by well-known marque expert
*2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance award winner
*One of the most desirable Cabriolet A's in the world


THE 540K

Designed for the network of high-speed Autobahns that was spreading across Germany in the 1930s, the Mercedes-Benz 500K represented the ultimate in automotive engineering in its day. First shown at the 1934 Berlin Motor Show, it was fitted with all-round independent suspension by swing axles and an unusual gear shift, with the direct drive top semi-automatically engaged. The unique system of supercharging used by Mercedes-Benz was derived from the company's experience in aero-engine design, where a system of "at will" supercharging had enabled World War I German aircraft to gain a performance advantage by boosting engine power at altitude.

Uniquely, the Mercedes supercharger was only clutched in at full throttle, rather like the "kick-down" on an automatic transmission, to give a short power boost for overtaking. Few experiences in motoring can match the sound and fury of a supercharged Mercedes-Benz in full flight: "One's foot goes hard down, and an almost demoniacal howl comes in...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," wrote H.S. Linfield of The Autocar in 1936.

The 500K, was an exclusive and powerful model for an equally exclusive and powerful clientele. Its successor was the sublime and even more powerful Mercedes-Benz 540K, arguably the most noteworthy production model offered by the Stuttgart firm during the 1930s. While it shared its chassis with the 500K, the 540 model was powered by a larger 5.4-liter supercharged straight-eight engine, and 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 at only 54 years old. The famous supercharger system from the 500K was retained, and in effect the 540K was the last supercharged production Mercedes until relatively recent times.

Launched at the Paris Salon in October 1936, the magnificent 540K engine developed 115bhp un-supercharged or 180bhp with the compressor engaged. The gearbox was a four-speed, but with a direct top gear rather than the overdrive ratio used on the 500K. With the supercharger engaged, the 540K's blown straight-eight gave it a top speed approaching 110mph matched by servo-assisted hydraulic braking. 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 supercharged Mercedes was one of the few genuine 100mph road cars available in the 1930s.

Tested by Britain's Motor magazine, the 540K was deemed to have lighter steering and handling than its 500K predecessor, 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. Motor's test car returned 102 mph over the timed quarter-mile with the supercharger engaged and 85mph with it disengaged. Such performance was achieved at the cost of 11 mpg petrol consumption, but the servo-assisted brakes came in for fulsome praise, the blower was found to be relatively quiet, and the steering and handling also compared favorably with the 500K.

KARROSSERI SINDELFINGEN

In 1915, the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft acquired land in Sindelfingen, where a factory was built to manufacture aero engines. After the merger with Benz in 1926, the plant was converted to become the Daimler-Benz coachbuilding facility although other marques such as Maybach and Horch were also bodied. From 1933, only Mercedes were bodied by Sindelfingen, and up until 1939, the exclusive sports and touring cars carried the Sindelfingen plate, a sign of the outstanding quality of the body. The gorgeous Spezial Roadster and Cabriolet A designs by Sindelfingen for the 500 and 540K chassis are now truly iconic and universally celebrated for their timeless elegance. Adding one of these jewels to any collection is a major accomplishment for any serious collector.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Not only is Sport Cabriolet A chassis 154146 an exceptionally rare car, it is also well-known and documented in the Mercedes archives. The first owner was Miss Martha Jordans who ordered the car in late 1936. The order was given Kommissionsnummer 228752, and on November 16, 1936, chassis 154146 was delivered by the Mercedes factory in Stuttgart to the Karrosseri Sindelfingen for construction. Finished in a grey color, the lithe two-seater was shipped by rail from Sindelfingen and delivered by the Daimler-Benz dealership in Düsseldorf on February 12, 1937 to Miss Jordan's home at no. 11 Albertusstrasse in Mönchengladbach – although the Mercedes build sheet shows that she had ordered the car in Paris the year before.

Chassis 154416 came to the United States early, and has remained there ever since. Although the year is unknown, it is believed that Martha Jordans took the car with her when she immigrated to America. In 1957, the car was pictured in The Classic Car, the journal of the Classic Car Club of America, while in the ownership of the well-known early collector Paul Hauck of Union, New Jersey. In volume 2 of Jan Melin's book Mercedes-Benz 8: The Supercharged 8-Cylinder Cars of the 1930s, chassis 154416 is pictured on page 220, by that time in two-tone blue paint with a blue top. The photograph was taken in 1965 and the car was still in Hauck's ownership.

154416 was subsequently featured in an article by Dennis Adler as "Collector Car of the Month" in the October 1989 issue of Car Collector magazine. Painted silver, it was now in the collection of Tom Kreid, a respected Mercedes-Benz collector. In the article, Adler wrote that the car had spent five years in Colorado at some point, before coming to San Francisco sometime in the 1970s. In 1996, this striking Sport Cabriolet A was acquired by Alfred Richter of Lampertheim, Germany. He brought it back to its country of manufacture, using it extensively for rallying. During Richter's ownership, the engine was rebuilt by Reifen-Wagner in Landshut, possibly the best specialist in Europe when it comes to the restoration of classic Mercedes and Maybach cars.

In the mid-2000s, the car was "repatriated" to the United States, where a body-off concours-quality restoration was commissioned with Jim Friswold of Tigard, Oregon, a noted restorer and specialist of important classic Mercedes. The chassis and all mechanicals were completely restored with the exception of the engine which remained in superb shape after Reifen-Wagner's thorough work. The body was stripped and painted in the deep burgundy color seen on the car today, the chrome was redone, and the instruments were restored. A new and period-correct leather interior was commissioned, the interior wood and dash were redone, and new inner and outer cloth was made for the luxurious padded top. The restoration was completed in June 2014, and 154416 was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Élegance in August of that year, where it won third in class.

Some 447 of the 540K chassis were built before production ended in 1939. Of these, 83 were bodied as a Cabriolet A, 32 of which were this version introduced in 1936. A sub-series of these beautiful cars have 826200 body numbers, and it is believed that Sindelfingen only built 10 of these. With body number 826201, chassis 154146 is the first of these very rare karrosseries. The 826200 bodies feature the extremely desirable set-back radiator that is one of the prime styling cues of the coveted Spezial Roadster. While this may seem of little consequence, this relocation of the radiator behind the front axle fundamentally alters the aspect of the car, lending it a lissome and exemplary beauty that transcends short-lived notions of fashion and style, elevating the aesthetics of this ravishing automobile to the realm of art. As a matter of course, trunk space was sacrificed in order to create a low and lovely rear deck with an exposed spare – also Spezial Roadster style. Luggage was relegated to the shelf behind the seats.

In that sense, a Sport Cabriolet A is the perfect expression of form over function. If you wanted something practical, Mercedes-Benz would have been happy to supply you with a rather more ponderous Cabriolet B with four spacious seats and the ability to carry luggage for a family of four. If you wanted to arrive at your destination in the most graceful, sporting, yet sublimely tasteful manner that Germany had to offer in the late 1930s, the Sport Cabriolet A was the way to go. A mere 10 people had the means and vision to realize this dream. Nine of these cars survive. The possibility to purchase one of these precious works of art that is both original and authentic is very rare indeed.
Contacts
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
<i>A very rare and desirable</i><BR /><B>1937 MERCEDES-BENZ  MERCEDES-BENZ 540K SPORT CABRIOLET A<BR />Coachwork by Sindelfingen</B><BR />Chassis no. 154146<BR />Engine no. 154146<br />Body no. 826201
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