High bid of $1,100,000 at 2004 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Sold for $2,035,000 at 2008 RM Auctions
Sold for $2,970,000 at 2011 RM Auctions
Sold for $3,002,390 (€2,324,000) at 2012 RM Auctions
High bid of $3,246,100 at 2014 Rick Cole Auctions. (did not sell)This Mercedes-Benz 540K is part of the Series 29 08, in which the first 5.4-liter motors were utilized. The coachwork is of series 820600, for which ten bodies were built and five of those were given the five-liter and the remaining five the 5.4-liter motor. Thus, this example is an early transitional model with a sleek, low-beltline body and the newly introduction 540K motor. It is one of the earliest 540Ks and one of six 'in transition' Cabriolet models It has the horizontal hood louvers of the 540K but both spares are on the trunk, instead of one being recessed like the 1937 540K Spezial Roadster. It also has a very low windshield and the long open fenders typically seen on the Spezial Roadsters.
The first owner was Maria Leyder of Stuttgart who took delivery of the vehicle on October 18th of 1936. When World War II came to a close, the car made its way to the United States and into the ownership of Don Rounds of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 1970, it was sold to Lowel Ledford who kept the car for 15 years, performing its first restoration prior to its acquisition by noted collector and dealer Don Williams in 1985. Other owners include Japanese collector Nachiro Ishikawa, who kept the car in California where he had some fettling done by Mercedes-Benz specialist Scott Grundfor. He ran the car twice in the Monte Carlo Historic Rally, covering 2,000 miles with first place finishes in 1991 and 1994. A short time later, it was sold to Thomas Taffet along with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS Prototype Roadster. In 1994, Taffet commissioned a sympathetic restoration and had the car repainted and reupholstered, chancing its color from red to black with a black leather interior. A full mechanical rebuild was performed, including the original Rootes-type supercharger. The result of the work earned it a class-win at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1996.
A second restoration was performed 12 years later. The car was completely disassembled and stripped. Work continued for two years, and every part was restored. When complete, the car was finished in black with claret accents and matching black cloth top. The interior was done in black leather with contrasting red piping. The dash is mother-of-pearl with ivory gauge faces and switches surrounded by polished wood.
It took Best of Show at the 1996 Forest Grove, Oregon Concours and it earned 100 points at the Pebble Beach Concours that same year. It was then put on display at the Mercedes-Benz Classic center in Irvine, California.
In 2011, the car was offered for sale the Monterey, CA auction presented by RM Auctions. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $2,970,000 including buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2011
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