conceptcarz.com
Mercedes-Benz History

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K

Share on:

The early thirties saw Daimler-Benz begin to design high-speed touring cars, culminating in 1935 in the construction of the 540K. The eight-cylinder, 5.4-liter, big-bore engine was supercharged, the designation 'K' stands for 'Kompressor' - and engaging; it rewarded drivers with a distinctive C-note from the 540K's whining blower. The 180 horsepower engine can propel this 5,720 pound car from 0-60 mph in 16.4 seconds and has a top speed of 105 mph. The transmission is a manual unsynchronized four-speed.

The 540K was the fastest production automobile of its era.

The vehicle was ordered in April of 1936 by W.A.M. Burden of New York. He took delivery in Paris and drove it for several summers before brining it home to the U.S.

The custom body was by Sindelfingen. The false grille were built to his order and he specified the chrome to be painted out. Anything that was metal plated, such as the wheel hubs and other minor trim, is done in brass.

The vehicle is powered by an in-line, eight-cylinder, 5.4-liter, big-bore engine that is supercharged - the designation 'K' stands for Kompressor - and engaging; it rewarded drivers with a distinctive C-note from the 540 K's whining blower. The 180-horsepower engine is coupled to a 4-speed manual transmission to move the 5,720 pound vehicle. The car has a top speed of 105 mph and the 0-60 mph performance is 16.4 seconds.

The fastest production automobile of its era, the 540 K was also the last supercharged production automobile that Mercedes built.

This 540K Special Cabriolet C is a custom-built and one-off design by Sindelfingen, the Daimler factory coachbuilder.

The elegant coachwork created for the Mercedes-Benz 500K and 540K at the renowned Sindelfingen Werk, is considered among the most important of the classic era, and perhaps of any era.

In 1932, design and custom bodies became functions of the Sindelfingen factory, among others.

Mercedes-Benz 540KThe 540K chassis was designed with coachbuilders in mind, providing a platform for a wide variety of body styles.

The 540K was described by a journalist in the thirties as having - aggressive styling, - and that image may have been the reason that this car was expressly commissioned for Mr. William A.M. Burden, a great, great grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

He was interested in building a special car that was avant-garde.

Mr. Burden was an American financier and an automobile enthusiast. He was Assistant Secretary of Commerce for air 1943-47, ÚS Ambassador to Belgium 1959-61, and Chairman of the New York Museum of Modern Art. In the year 1936, Mr. Burden had this car built to his personal specifications.

As an avid Mercedes-Benz enthusiast, Burden wanted a design, which called for more style, and included pontoon fenders, the elimination of running boards, and a rear mounted spare with a provision for a second one.

Its most striking feature was the unique slanted grille shell over the radiator, and no exposed radiator cap or mascot.

His goal was apparently to emulate the racing Mercedes-Benz of that era.

Mercedes-Benz 540K
It was thought that the end result had a distinctively sleek, French look, resembling late model Delage and Delahaye designs by Chapron or Letourneur et Marchand.


Of the 32 Cabriolet C that were produced, only this Special has all of these unique ingredients, including two, narrow height side windows, similar to the A, producing a sort of chopped look.

Similar to the Special Roadsters, this 540K has a disappearing top when retracted, with a tidy cover, that smoothes out the whole look of the deck area.

This cabriolet C is unlike any other ever built.

All of these not so subtle changes are what set the look of this car apart from the much more commonly produced variety.

Mercedes-Benz 540KThe supercharged straight eight engine produces 180 horsepower and working through a four speed manual transmission, is capable of moving this automobile at over 100 miles an hour.

In its day, that gave it legendary status.

The ride is compliant due to the four-wheel independent suspension.

Following the ownership by Burden, the second proprietor, a reporter for the Long Island Press, drove the car for many years. Úpon his death, his widow met with the current owners and sold them the car in 1963.


Since it was almost completely intact, LaVine restoration in Nappanee Indiana was commissioned to perform and complete the restoration to match the factory photographs.

It was a time-consuming and very costly project, but the end result was magic.

The car is stunning, and is worthy of the accolades that followed its completion.

The engine and transmission function perfectly and were never taken apart.

After its 100-point restoration, the car was first shown at Hershey in 1993, where it received a first.

Other awards have followed, some of which are listed postscript, and it has been kept in show-worthy condition, to this day.

Mercedes-Benz 540K The importance of this fine automobile can not be overstated. It is a worthy gem, for any collection.

It comes with comprehensive and extensive documentation, including factory photographs and order sheet.

Source - Vehicle Owner

View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image
View image

No auction information available for this vehicle at this time.

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Mercedes-Benz 540K

(Data based on Model Year 1936 sales)
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen
Chassis#: 130941
Sold for USD$1,875,000
  2022 RM Sothebys : Monterey
 
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet B by Sindelfingen
Chassis#: 130921
Sold for USD$698,500
  2017 RM Auctions : Amelia Island
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Cabriolet by Sindelfingen
Chassis#: 130913
Sold for USD$1,540,000
  2014 RM Auctions at Monterey
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster
Chassis#: 130949
Sold for USD$11,770,000
  2012 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auction
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Sport Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen
Chassis#: 130945
Sold for USD$3,002,390
  2012 RM Auctions at Monaco
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Spezial Coupe by Sindelfingen
Chassis#: 130944
Sold for USD$3,080,000
  2011 RM Auctions at Monterey
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Sport Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen
Chassis#: 130945
Sold for USD$2,970,000
  2011 RM Auctions at Monterey
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet
Chassis#: 130913
Sold for USD$913,000
  2010 RM Auctions - Sports & Classics of Monterey
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet
Chassis#: 130945
Sold for USD$2,035,000
  2008 RM Auctions - Automobiles of Arizona
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 MERCEDES 540 K REPLICA
Chassis#: 1185135
Sold for USD$20,000
  2007 Palm Springs Exotic Car Auctions - November 18, 2007
 
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Replica Convertible
Sold for USD$11,880
  2007 Toronto International Spring Classic Car Auction
 
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet
Chassis#: 130913
Sold for USD$1,028,500
  2007 Vintage Motor Cars in Arizona
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sindelfigen
Sold for USD$836,000
  2006 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet C
Chassis#: 169387
Sold for USD$1,178,591
  2006 Coys Auction - Legende et Passion
 

Mercedes-Benz 540Ks That Failed To Sell At Auction

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sport Cabriolet1309452014 Rick Cole Auctions : Monterey$3,246,100  
1936 MERCEDES BENZ 540 K REPLICA 2009 Silver Auction Salt Lake City$19,000  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Cabriolet1309452004 The Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction$1,100,000$1,400,000$1,800,000

Vehicles With Comparable Market Values

Similar sales to the $2,211,347 range.
1965 Ferrari 275 GTS by Pininfarina
Chassis#:07427
Sold for $2,260,000
2022 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1990 Ferrari F40
Chassis#:ZFFMN34A8L0087031
Sold for $2,310,000
2022 Mecum : Monterey
1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso by Scaglietti
Chassis#:5141
Sold for $2,205,000
2022 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  
1968 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Prototype by Scaglietti
Chassis#:11001
Sold for $2,315,000
2022 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB By Scaglietti
Chassis#:06691
Sold for $2,113,672
2022 RM Sothebys : Monaco Grimaldi Forum
1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II
Chassis#:70140
Sold for $2,113,672
2022 RM Sothebys : Monaco Grimaldi Forum
1965 Brawner Hawk Ford 'Dean Van Lines Special' Indy Car
Sold for $2,200,000
2022 Mecum Indy
2005 Porsche Carrera GT
Sold for $2,200,000
2022 Mecum : Glendale
1959 BMW 507 SERIES II
Chassis#:70228
Sold for $2,150,000
2022 Gooding & Company : Amelia Island Auction
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  
1965 PORSCHE 904/6
Chassis#:906-011
Sold for $2,205,000
2022 Gooding & Company : Amelia Island Auction
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  
1964 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
Chassis#:198.042.10.003207
Sold for $2,315,000
2022 RM Sothebys : Arizona
1929 Duesenberg Model J Berline
Chassis#:2143
Sold for $2,260,000
2022 Worldwide Auctioneers : Scottsdale Arizona
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  
2016 Pagani Huayra
Sold for $2,117,500
2022 Mecum : Kissimmee
1951 Hirohata Mercury Custom
Sold for $2,145,000
2022 Mecum : Kissimmee
1981 Ferrari 512 BB/LM
Chassis#:35529
Sold for $2,233,469
2021 RM Sothebys : The Guikas Collection
2000 FERRARI 550 GT1
Chassis#:115811
Sold for $2,187,958
2021 RM Sothebys : Milan 2021
1955 FERRARI 250 EUROPA GT
Chassis#:0413 GT
Sold for $2,222,000
2021 Gooding & Co : May : Geared Online
1957 BMW 507 SERIES II
Chassis#:70073
Sold for $2,200,000
2021 Gooding & Co : May : Geared Online
1963 FERRARI 250GT BERLINETTA LUSSO
Chassis#:5017 GT
Sold for $2,103,169
2020 Bonhams : The Zoute Sale
1935 Aston Martin Ulster
Chassis#:G5/588/U
Sold for $2,101,914
2020 Gooding & Company : Passion of a Lifetime

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Profiles

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Cabriolet C Special
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Special Roadster
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
Chassis #: 113659
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Special Cabriolet
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Cabriolet A Special
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Cabriolet A Special
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Special Cabriolet
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
Chassis #: 130913
Engine #: 130913
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Special Roadster
Coachwork: Mayfair Carriage Company Ltd.
Chassis #: 154080
Engine #: 154080
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Spezial Coupe
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
Chassis #: 130944
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Sport Cabriolet A
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
Chassis #: 130945
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Special Roadster
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
Chassis #: 130949
Engine #: 130949
Cabriolet B
Chassis #: 130921
Engine #: 130921
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Sport Cabriolet A
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Special Cabriolet
Coachwork: Erdmann & Rossi