Image credits: © Mercedes-Benz.

1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K news, pictures, specifications, and information
Cabriolet A
Chassis Num: 105379
Engine Num: 105379
Sold for $2,750,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company.
Mercedes-Benz could not have unveiled two completely different visions when it set up its display at the Berlin Motor Show in March of 1934. One vision was very much for the common man, a car with little character. However, it would be the car with a lot of character and that would only be for the ultra-exclusive that would live on and become a true icon.

When Mercedes-Benz introduced its 500K at the Berlin Motor Show in 1934 it was very much charting the future of automobiles. Besides the Kompressor helping to produce some 160 hp, the car would also incorporate external exhausts and a frame that sported fully independent suspension.

But Mercedes-Benz also initiated something else with its 'Sindelfingen' moniker. Throughout much of the first half of the 20th century many of the exclusive chassis offered to the public would come with custom-built coach bodies built by outside coachbuilders. Sindelfingen would certainly give the appearance of being an outside coachbuilder but was, in fact, Mercedes' own in-house coachbuilding element. This would, in many ways, help to foster car companies with their own in-house design firms and builders and would place a much greater emphasis within the factory itself to design and build its own special bodies.

Sindelfingen would work because it offered a rather extensive catalog of potential body styles for each of its more select models. And, amongst the coachbodies made available for the 500K chassis, one of the more privileged would be the Cabriolet A designed and built by Sindelfingen. Amongst the total of 342 units that would be produced over the course of two years just 33 examples would be fitted with Cabriolet A body-styling.

One of those 33 would be chassis 105379. Baron Silfverschiold of Gasevadholm, Sweden would be immediately smitten by the 500K and would place an order for his own in November of 1934. The Baron would specify his 500K to be complete with left-hand-drive, gray paint and a blood-red pigskin leather interior. The car would be finally completed toward the end of April 1935 and would be thereafter delivered to the Baron who would then move and have the car re-registered to his estate, the Castle Koberg in Vastergotland. The 500K Cabriolet A had certainly come home.

105379 would remain with the Baron throughout World War II but would eventually be parked in 1948 when it suffered a tire puncture. While a seemingly straight-forward issue to rectify, the rear wheel nut would be incorrectly threaded and would lead to the car being unused for another couple of years.

Then, in September of 1950, Charles-Emile von Oelrich would purchase the car from the Baron and would have the car repaired. Being restored to use, Herr Von Oelrich would immediately take the car on several long-distance outings.

Throughout the 1950s, the Cabriolet A would change hands a number of times and would even be owned a short period of time by the music director Birger Ludvigsson. Allan Karlsson would then come to own the car and would remark its owning flaw was the fact that it attracted a large crowd everywhere it went.

Gosta Westerberg would come to own the car and would determine to have it restored. The restoration work would begin in 1962 and would be completed by July of 1963. Soon thereafter the car would again change hands. This time, well-known collector Sven Harnstrom would come to own the car and would enter it in a number of various club meetings over the course of his nearly decade long ownership.

When the car was sold to Svante Rosen, the car would continue to enter various collector car events. All throughout this time the 500K would remain in Sweden. However, in 1983 would leave its adopted homeland and would come to be part of a collection in West Germany. In the late 1980s, at the owner's request, Rolf Bunte would restore the Cabriolet A. Bunte would work tirelessly not just to restore the car, but to make sure everything functioned as intended and factory correct. This effort would end up setting a benchmark for the future.

Such a beautifully-restored car would not be easy to part with. Therefore, it wouldn't be until 2004 when the car would be sold again, this time to a resident of the Netherlands. Remaining a part of a very private collection, the 500K remained as if completely original. Because of the work of the restoration, and the regular maintenance and upkeep, recent work done on the car would consist of just a mechanical tuning and touch-ups here and there to restore it to near brand-new condition.

The Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2013 would be one of the few opportunities the 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet A would be seen in public and it would present an incredibly rare opportunity for a collector to own such an iconic and influential automobile.

Authentic inside and out, the 500K boasts of matching numbers and is perhaps one of the finest examples of the 11 remaining Cabriolet As. One of the most desirable of the pre-war Mercedes-Benz body styles, this 500K Cabriolet A represents the very definition of luxury, style and elegance. Estimates prior to auction certain reflect the importance of such an automobile with potentials running between $2,500,000 and $3,000,000.

'Lot No. 038: 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet A', ( Gooding & Company. Retrieved 17 January 2013.

'1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K News, Pictures and Information', ( From Concept to Production. Retrieved 17 January 2013.

By Jeremy McMullen
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
Chassis Num: 105380
Sold for $3,767,500 at 2011 RM Auctions.
Sold for $5,916,336 (€5,290,000) at 2016 Bonhams.
The Mercedes-Benz 500K (W 29, 100/160 hp) was one of the greatest performance automobiles of the Thirties. 13 months after the debut of the 380, Mercedes-Benz introduced the 500K at the Berlin Auto Show. Both were built in parallel in 1934, but by the close of the year the 500 K stood along at the top of the Mercedes-Benz catalog.

The Mercedes-Benz 500 K employed a generously-braced chassis frame boxed with the axle centerlines with fully independent suspension with coil springs using dual A-arms at the front and swing axles at the rear, both fitted with hydraulic lever shock absorbers. Concentric coil springs were added to the rear suspension to pick up higher loads, and later in the 500 K series, horizontal camber compensator springs added another level of control to the swing axles.

The engine had overhead valves operated by pushrods and rocker arms from a camshaft mounted above the crankshaft on the left side of the cylinder block. The Rootes-style positive displacement supercharger mounted at the front of the engine was activated by the driver when the accelerator pedal was pressed fully to the floor, engaging a multi-disc clutch pack on the engine and forcing air through the carburetor into the cylinders. The unit cylinder block and crankcase were cast in steel with a cast iron cylinder head and an 8-10 liter capacity aluminum oil sump. With the normal-aspirated version of the engine, it produced 100 horsepower. When the supercharger was engaged, that figure rose to 160 hp at 3400 RPM.

Later, the 500 K engines were given a rotary-type 'Jumo' fuel pump built by aircraft engine manufactures Junkers, and ensured adequate fuel flow when the blower cut in and fuel requirements soared.

The 500K had a four-speed gearbox with direct (1:1) third-speed and a pre-selector type overdrive fourth with a 0.6:1 ratio engaged without using the clutch. The top three speeds were synchronized. The standard rear axle ratio of 5.11:1 of the 380 was raised to 4.9:1 or greater for the 500 K.

In standard guise, the 500K had two spare wheels and tires, safety glass, electric windshield wipers, hydraulic brakes with vacuum booster and 370mm diameter drums, central lubrication, 12-volt electrical system and a centrally mounted fog light.

Production of the 500K continued for three years, through 1936. In total, there were 342 examples built. 29 were bodied with Roadster and Special Roadster coachwork.

Chassis Number 105380
This 500 K Roadster was completed on February 6th of 1935 at Sindelfingen and immediately shipped to Berlin where it was the centerpiece of the Mercedes-Benz display from February 14th through the 24th at the Berlin Motor Show. At the time, the car was metallic green. After the show it remained in Berlin until March 22 when it was shipped to the Mercedes-Benz agency in Aachen, Germany. It was sold a month later, on April 25th of 1935, to Hans Friedrich Prym of Stolberg.

The interim history is unknown, but when it ended up in the collection of Russell Strauch in the 1970s, it was still in excellent original condition. It was acquired by Don Dickson in 1976, and remained in his collection until 1988 when it was sold to Richie Clyne for the Imperial Palace Collection which commissioned a cosmetic restoration in 1991. It was later purchased by the Lyon Family Collection.

The car is finished in red and rides on chrome wire wheels and whitewall tires. There are dual rear spares, a pair of windshield post-mounted spotlights, chrome outside exhaust headpipes and chrome body accent moldings. There is a raked vee windshield, sweeping fenders and integrated running boards. Both front and rear fenders are slightly skirted.

The interior of the car is finished in tan leather with a matching tan single layer cloth top. The top folds nearly flush with the rear deck under a matching top boot cover.
In 2011, the car was offered for sale in Monterey, Ca. presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $4,000,000-$5,000,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $3,767,500, including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2011
Special Roadster
Engine Num: 123686
With six feet of hood separating the driver from the front of the Mercedes 500K, there had to be something important under all that elegantly styled sheet metal. In this case, it was a legend - and an enormous engine. The early thirties saw Daimler-Benz begin to design high-speed touring cars, with the 500K one of the proudest accomplishments. The eight-cylinder, 5-liter big-bore engine was supercharged with the 'K' standing for Kompressor, and engaging it rewarded drivers with a distinctive C-note from the 500K's whining blower. The steering was stiff at lower speeds, but one look at the body (there were nine options) made it clear that speed would never be a problem. The car has four-wheel independent suspension, and is capable of hitting over 100 mph in top gear. This car was rebodied from a 540K to a 500K Special Roadster in 2000, and the engine and chassis numbers are matching.

After lengthy negotiations with Dr. Harald Alfers of Dusseldorf, Germany, the present owner purchased the Special K Package Mercedes, which Carrosserie Kong of Bassel, Switzerland, had started to re-body in 1992. Included in the package were a 1935 500K cabriolet B with the frame shortened, the engine repositioned, new wood body frame and a number of Special Roadster trim pieces. In 1996, Alfers moved the Special K Project from Kong to Frantz Prahl Klassische Automobile in Olendorf, Germany. The present owner purchased the project from Alfeers in 1997 and chose to have Prahl complete the project. After three years, many calls, letters and a number of trips to Germany, the project was completed and arrived in New York City in August of 2000.

The car rides on a stretched 129.5-inch wheelbase and is fitted with four-wheel independent suspension with coil springs, a 12-volt electrical system, vacuum assisted hydraulic brakes and electric windshield wipers.

Only 29 of these cars were originally built and only 20 remain in modern times.
Windovers Roadster
This Mercedes 500K with bodywork by Windovers is extremely unusual. Windovers, which began to build carriages as early as 1796 in Huntingdon, England, more often bodied Rolls-Royce and Bentleys, and many Windovers-bodied cars found their way to India. Windovers produced a small number of bodies on the 500K chassis during the thirties. The 500K was available in ten unique body styles from the factory. This Mercedes 500K Kombo is a Sedanca style cabriolet. The engine is a five-liter, straight eight supercharged M24 unit producing 160 bhp. Windovers closed in 1956 after 160 years of coachbuilding.
Cabriolet A
Chassis Num: 105384
Engine Num: 105384
Sold for $3,025,000 at 2015 RM Auctions.
The Daimler Motor Company and Benz & Company joined forces in 1926. That same year, they introduced the Mercedes-Benz brand. Ferdinand Porsche had joined Daimler in 1923 and he developed models that featured large displacement inline engines with superchargers. This was denoted in model names by adding a 'K' for kompressor. The supercharger was engaged by fully depressing the accelerator.

The 500K was introduced in 1934 at the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (commonly referred to as the Berline Motor Show). It would be offered in eight body styles. These luxury models featured safety glass, electric windshield wipers and door locks as well as custom luggage. They were considered the fastest production car of their time, capable of 100 mph.

The Mercedes-Benz 500K was produced along the 380 K until the end of 1934, when the 380 was phased out. The 500K was produced from 1934 through 1935 and of the 354 vehicles produced, only 229 were the cabriolets. It is believed that of 33 500K Cabriolet A's built only 11 remain.

It has a top speed of about 100 mph and is powered by a 160 horsepower, inline 8 cylinder, supercharged engine coupled to a 4-speed manual transmission. The 5,130 pound vehicle rides on a four-wheel independent coil-spring suspension and is stopped via hydraulic power brakes.

Records indicate that the car was commissioned by Adolf Busch, of Hamburg, Germany and was logged under kommission number 12847 and eventually given chassis 105384. This Spezial Roadster has long sweeping fenders, louvers on the top and sides of the hood, flexible exhaust, driver side spotlight, stacked spare wheels on the rear deck, and a leather bonnet strap.

In 1937 it was part of a motor pool of the German Consul to India. On October 31, 1938, the ownership of the car was reassigned to Dr. Gavin, who was reportedly a director at Mercedes-Benz. The factory further confirms it was upgraded to a 540K engine in 1938 and stamped with original engine numbers. The upgrade increased the torque and brought horsepower to 180.

During the Second World War, the car was lost until discovered in Paris in 1953 where it was purchased by a U.S. Air Force Captain named Dean Weihe. Mr. Weihe imported the car into the United States in 1961 and began performing a cosmetic restoration, which was completed around 1964. Mr. Weihe retained the car at his home in Florida until finally selling it in the late 1980s or early 1990s. It was purchased by another Floridian who took the car with him while traveling overseas.

The car was reported to be largely original, but in 1999, the purchaser commissioned restorer Francois Cointreau, of France, to perform a high-quality concours restoration. Between 2000 and 2001, Riefen-Wagner, of Landshut, Germany, performed all of the mechanical overhaul work.

The current owner purchased the car around 2006. In 2009, it was driven on a rigorous 100-mile journey through the mountain roads of the Colorado Grand.
Touren Wagon
The Mercedes-Benz 500K was first shown at the Berlin Motor Show in 1934. It had a supercharged 5-liter, 6-cylinder engine, developing 160 bhp, which was particularly suited to the new Autobahns that were being built in Germany at the time. Very few 500Ks still exist today, and this one has unusual touring style coachwork. Originally the property of the German army, it arrived in the United States after the war. It has recently been the subject of a meticulous restoration by its current owner.
The 500K's were beautiful, elegant, and exclusive models often outfitted with voluptuous coachwork and sold to wealthy clientele.

In 1904 Hans Nibel became chief engineer of Benz. When Daimler-Benz merged, he assisted Dr. Ferdinand Porsche in developing a 6.8-liter supercharged engine that would be outfitted in the 'K', SS, SSK, and SSKL series. The engine created was later enlarged to capacities such as 7.0 and 7.1 liters producing 250 horsepower. The SS was described as that fastest sports car in the world at the time. The SSK was mechanically identical to the SS but was 19-inches shorter and designed for racing. The SSK dominated the racing circuit in the early 1930's. As it began to age, Mercedes-Benz increased its capabilities by giving it a 300-hp engine and drilling holes in the frame to reduce weight. The SSKL was born. This combined was highly successful for a year but in 1932 the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 had become more agile and competitive.

Hans Nibel was tasked by Mercedes-Benz to create an automobile that was capable of high speeds. He created the 380, a limited production road car. It was introduced in early 1933 and was powered by a inline eight-cylinder engine based off the 290 models six-cylinder unit. The car could be purchased in various bodies and engine configurations. During its production lifespan only 150 examples were produced. Mercedes-Benz introduced the next evolution of the 380, the 500K model. The 500K was powered by a powerful M24 inline-eight cylinder supercharged engine capable of producing 160 horsepower. The 380 was named after the cubic-capacity of its engine, 3820 cc. The 500 followed the same tradition, inspired by its 5018 cc power plant.

The brakes were power assisted, the suspension was rear independent with swing arms, and the transmission had five gears, all of these features were innovative achievements in the automotive community. A bi-product of Nibel's ingenuity, creativity and technological genius.

The 500K was offered in ten unique body styles including the Special Roadster. The Hermann Ahrens designed Special Roadster was a limited production cabriolet that could accommodate two adults in its 209 inch frame. The coachwork was handled by Mercedes-Benz. In total less than 30 examples were produced.

The 500K continued the tradition and legacy of the oldest automobile firm in the world, Mercedes-Benz. Its graceful body hid a powerful engine and mechanical innovations that were revolutionary. The vehicle was strong and dependable assembled with superb German craftsmanship. The Special Roadster is considered one of the most beautiful automobiles ever built.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2008
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
Not unlike American manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz crafted some of its most beautiful automobiles during difficult economic times. The 500K was largely attributed to engineer Hans Nibel and was first show at the Berlin Auto Show in 1934. Designated model W29 by Mercedes-Benz, production continued through 1936. The luxurious car was blessed with four-wheel independent suspension including double wishbones and coil springs front and rear, with swing axles at the rear - an industry first. Its heart was a Roots-supercharged 5.0-liter/160 horsepower OHV inline eight-cylinder engine - thus its 500K designation.

Most 500K's were fitted with sumptuous coachwork by Mercedes-Benz in-house shop in Sindelfingen, such as this one-off example that was featured in the 1938 German movie 'Der Blaufuchs' (Blue Fox). While in Estonia in the late 1940s, it was fitted with a trailer hitch to haul firewood.

This unique roadster, built by the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen works, is the only 500K with these special louvers and unusual fenders and without doors. The 5-liter 500K was introduced in 1934 and was the fastest touring car of its day; journalists wrote about 'the sheer insolence of its great power.' With its independent suspension and supercharged engine, it set a trend that competitors were forced to try and follow. It is believed that this car was used in its early days for racing on circuits in Europe but thereafter it spent decades behind the Iron Curtain. After coming to the United States in 1987, it received a full restoration and was first shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1991.
Cabriolet A
Chassis Num: 113717
Engine Num: 113717
The Mercedes-Benz 500 was the creation of engineer Dr. Hans Nibel. It featured an advanced chassis design and a powerful 5-liter engine that was capable of carrying it to speeds of 100 mph. The 'K' models employed a form of supercharging which was used as a top-end booster. Pushing the gas pedal to the floor engaged the train of gears that drove the Roots-type blower, offering 25-percent more power.

This particular example is a Cabriolet A that was ordered on February 8th of 1935, by Mercedes-Benz Ltd. of London on behalf of Herbert Gumprecht, a German national, who conducted business in England. It was ordered with Cabriolet coachwork by Mercedes Sindelfingen workshop, and was delivered on May 6th of the same year. It is one of approximately 33 examples built.

The car was first registered under Mr. Gumprecht's company in Baden, Germany and was sold in December 1938 to K.H. Downing of Newcastle, England. It then passed in March 1946 to A.G. Jones of Shrewsbury. Jones sold the car to E.U. Casinelli Ltd. a few months later. In 1951, the Mercedes suffered a minor fire to the interior, although all mechanical elements reportedly remained intact. At the end of the year, the car was acquired by S. Hobson of Stockport, Cheshire.

Dr. R. H. Johnson of Falmouth acquired the car in October of 1958. Around this time the car was repaired and painted white. By March 1962, the Mercedes had passed to a Swedish engineer living in the United States, and 20 years later it was purchased through auction in San Francisco by a German collector. After being re-imported to Europe, the 500K was sold in mid-1984 to a Swiss banker and some restoration work was begun.

Klaus Kienle of Heimerdingen, Germany acquired the car in early 1994. It was quickly sold to Dr. Ludwig Fassbender of Düsseldorf, who commissioned a full restoration that took nearly seven years to complete.

The current Swiss owner acquired the car in August of 2012. In 2014, the car was shown at Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza. It also participated in the Royal Automobile Club's 2015 1,000-Mile Trial and in Goodwood.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2016
The Mercedes-Benz 500K was introduced in 1934 with the 'K' representing a Kompressor which is German for supercharger. In non-aspirated form, the engine produced 100 horsepower. With the adoption of the Kompressor the horsepower jumped to an impressive 160 making them one of the fastest grand touring cars of their time. The vehicles rode on a 116 inch wheelbase.

In 1936 the 540K was introduced which increased power even further. The base version produced 115 horsepower while the supercharged increased horsepower to 180. The engine bay was lengthened and the wheelbase was extended by twelve inches which allowed for more stately and elegant vehicles. Chrome accents were used throughout added to the visual appeal. The vehicles were elegant, powerful, and produced in limited numbers. Production continued until 1940 with only 419 examples being produced.

The Mercedes-Benz were among the most desirable and elegant vehicles of their day. They were constructed of the finest materials available. The craftsmanship is legendary and undeniable excellent. Most of the chassis received coachwork by the Mercedes-Benz in-house coachworks facility named the Sindelfingen Body Works. The others were sent to coachbuilders such as Erdmann & Rossi.

When completed, the vehicles carried a price tag that only few could afford. During World War II many were hidden and protected along with other priceless works-of-art.

Though the 540K models were all built to the same mechanical and chassis configurations, they varied based on their coachwork designs making many unique creations. Configurations varied such as four-seat cabriolets, long-tail roadsters, and high-door luxury styles. The vehicles were tailored to the buyer's requirements and requests.

With production low and craftsmanship at their peak, these vehicles are well sought after in modern times. They continue to win 'Best in Show' and class awards at various concourses throughout the country.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2006
Two new – and very different – Mercedes models were displayed at the Berlin Motor Show in March 1934. One was the 130, Mercedes-Benz's first production car wîth a rear-mounted four-cylinder engine which developed 26 hp from a displacement of 1.3 liters. The other was the 500 K, an imposing, elegant sports car wîth supercharged eight-cylinder engine; wîth the supercharger engaged, it developed 160 hp from a displacement of 5,018 cc.
The 500 K was the successor to the 380 presented only one year earlier, and a descendant of the tremendously powerful, supercharged S, SS, SSK and SSKL sports cars – genuine muscle cars, as we would call them today, and virtually invincible in motor sport.

The first 500 K – 'K' for Kompressor = supercharger, to distinguish it from the 500 sedan without supercharger – had been designed as an elegant two- or four-seater sports car wîth roadster and cabriolet bodies tailored at the Daimler-Benz plant in Sindelfingen. With this model, the company bid farewell to the Roaring Twenties and the Big Four mentioned earlier. The latter had still had extremely firm chassis wîth rigid axles and leaf springs, i.e. hardly any damping at all, and their bodies were plain and above all functional, not to say uncomfortable.

The new supercharged Mercedes sports car appealed to well-heeled buyers because it was not only powerful but also more elegant, more comfortable and easier to handle than its predecessors – features welcomed in particular by the growing number of lady drivers.

Daimler-Benz had laid the foundations for this type of car as early as 1933 by introducing the 380, the first Mercedes-Benz sports car wîth swing axle. It was the first car that pampered its occupants wîth independent wheel suspension; the latter featured a sensational world first, a double-wishbone front axle that combined wîth the double-joint swing axle introduced in the 170 as early as 1931.

In this ground-breaking design, wheel location, springing and damping were for the first time separated from each other, creating a new level of precision in straightline stability. In its essence, this front axle, fitted like the rear axle wîth coil springs, has remained the design model for generations of automobiles throughout the world to this day, and it also featured in the 500 K, of course.

It was the customers' craving for power, however, that prompted the replacement of the 380, not exactly a lame duck wîth its supercharged 140 hp, by the 500 K only one year later. The newcomer's engine generated 160 hp wîth the supercharger engaged; even without the supercharger in action, it still had an impressive output of 100 hp at 3400 rpm. Depending on fuel quality, which varied greatly in those days, the compression ratio was between 1:5.5 and 1:6.5. The fuel was apportioned to the cylinders by a Mercedes-Benz double updraught carburetor. The driver engaged the double-vane Roots supercharger by depressing the accelerator pedal beyond a pressure point.

With the exception of first gear, both the standard four-speed and the optional five-speed transmissions were synchronized. A single-plate dry clutch linked the engine wîth the powertrain which transmitted engine power to the rear wheels. The car rolled along on wire-spoke wheels which were as elegant as they were robust.

All these features combined to permit a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour – a dream for sports cars in that day and age. The penalty was paid in the form of fuel consumption: between 27 and 30 liters were blown through the carburetor on 100 kilometers. The 110-liter tank in the rear gave the car a decent radius of action.

To meet the individual wishes of the demanding customers, three chassis variants were available for the 500 K: two long versions wîth a 3,290 millimeter wheelbase, differing in terms of powertrain and bodywork layout, and a short version wîth 2,980 millimeters.

The long variant, the so-called normal chassis wîth the radiator directly above the front axle, served as the backbone for the four-seater cabriolets 'B' (with four side windows) and 'C' (with two side windows) and, at a later stage, also for touring cars and sedans.

The roadsters, the two-seater cabriolet 'A' (with two side windows) and the ultra-modern, streamlined Motorway Courier, the first car wîth curved side windows and classified by the manufacturer as a sports sedan, were set up on a chassis on which radiator, engine, cockpit and all rearward modules were moved 185 millimeters back from the front axle. This configuration was a concession to the zeitgeist, a small trick that created the visual impression of a particularly long front-end and, therefore, the desired sporting appeal.

The most ravishing model of this species was the two-seater 500 K special roadster launched in 1936, a masterpiece in terms of its styling, wîth inimitably powerful and elegant lines. It has been filling onlookers wîth enthusiasm to this day, reflecting, as it does, the spirit of its day and age as well as the design perfection of the 500 K models. Its price tag – 28,000 Reichsmark – was 6,000 marks above the average price of 'simpler' models. People were able to buy a generously furnished house for that money.

The short-wheelbase chassis was used only for a few two-seaters wîth special bodies. On these models, the radiator was back right above the front axle, and the models carried the designations 500 K sports roadster, sports cabriolet and sports coupe.

The 500 K's chassis complete wîth helical-spindle §teering had been adopted – though in further refined form – from the preceding 380: the new double-wishbone axle wîth coil springs at the front and the double-joint swing axle - complemented by double coil springs and additional transverse balancing spring – at the rear. The vacuum-boosted service brake acted hydraulically on all four wheels, the mechanical parking brake on the rear wheels. The chassis weighed as much as 1,700 kilograms; the complete car tipped the scales at 2,300 kilograms and the permissible gross weight was around 2,700 kilograms.

No matter what version of the 500 K you look at, the elegance of its body sends people into raptures even today: every single one had been given its own, unparalleled personality by the ingenious coachbuilders in Sindelfingen. Only few customers opted for bodywork tailored by independent bodybuilders to their own wishes (the price lists quoted the chassis as individual items), especially since the Sindelfingers rose above themselves in accommodating the customers' special wishes, for instance for individual fender versions, rear-end designs or interior appointments. Within two years, 342 units of the 500 K were produced.

In response to the virtually insatiable craving for performance on the part of well-heeled customers all over the world, the 500 K was replaced in 1936 by the 540 K wîth supercharged 180 hp engine. This model was sold to 319 motoring enthusiasts.

The history of supercharged Mercedes-Benz cars goes back to World War II and has its roots in aeroengine production. Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft had introduced mechanical air compressors which supercharged the engines and thereby compensated for the power loss of aeroengines at higher altitudes, ensuring their stable performance.

The first Mercedes models wîth supercharged engines were displayed at the Berlin Motor Show in 1921 – between bicycles wîth auxiliary engines and mini-cars. They caused quite a stir among automotive experts. With the supercharger, an engine booster had been introduced which, from 1926, catapulted Mercedes passenger, sports and racing cars into a new dimension of performance.

Source - Mercedes-Benz
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