Wednesday, June 6, 2018

1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster

Built to order for the wealthiest and most demanding, the Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster was the flagship of the brand in the prewar years. Introduced in 1936, just 26 540 K Special Roadsters were constructed before the Second World War brought car construction to a halt. Of these, only a few found their way to the United States.
A straight-8 cylinder engine of 5,401 cubic centimetres aspirated by twin pressurized updraft carburetors developed a natural 115 hp.
An attached Roots supercharger could either be engaged manually for short periods, or automatically when the accelerator was pushed fully to the floor. It increased power to 180 hp, creating a top speed of 170 kilometres per hour (110 mph).

Power was sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed or optional five speed manual gearbox that featured synchromesh on the top three gears. Brakes were vacuum-assisted hydraulic.
Chassis 130894, the 540 K Special Roadster auctioned in Phoenix in 2017 was sold in New York on April 24, 1937 for $14,000.
A Ford Model 74 sedan could be had for less than $640 at the time. The $9.9 million realized in Phoenix makes the 540 K Special Roadster the most expensive car ever sold during Arizona auction week, but it fell short of a record for the make and model. In August 2012, a high-door, long-tail 540 K Special Roadster sold for $11.7 million.