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Mercedes-Benz History

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K

Chassis number : 169333

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Sold for $900,205 (€672,750) at 2013 Bonhams - Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais.
The Mercedes-Benz 540K Series automobiles were purchased by the elite in society - the leaders of industry, the rich and famous, the highest class citizen, the powerful and accomplished, the privileged, and the most demanding customers. Each vehicle took over 6000 man hours to complete and it utilized the finest materials available built in the most advanced facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, tools, and machinery. Under the bonnet was an eight-cylinder engine that produced 115 horsepower and 180 horsepower with the help of a supercharger. The driver had control of the supercharger and could apply the boost which gave the engine about 60% in short bursts. When the driver pushed the accelerator pedal to the floor, the supercharger was engaged automatically. The supercharger would let the occupants know that it was working by making a loud noise which was caused by the compressed, supercharger rotors, and the drive gears. This power was sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox that featured synchromesh on the top three gears. The vacuum-assisted hydraulic brakes kept the car under the drivers control. Top speed was over 105 mph with comfortable cruising speeds of 90 mph easily sustained. With style, performance, and status, these were the ultimate super-car of the 1930's. During the four years of production, less than 400 examples were created.

The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet finished in two-tone Grey livery with Burgundy wire wheels and matching interior was offered for sale at the 2006 Worldwide Group Auction held on Hilton Head Island. It was expected to fetch between $800,000-$950,000. It has had only three owners from new and is has a beautiful, one-of-a-kind body courtesy of Vanden Plas. The commission number is 271790. The semi-skirted rear wheels are a unique feature that adds ambiance to the vehicle. The sloping rear deck carefully guards a spare tire and provides cargo room for its occupants.

The first owner was Mr. Randolph Hearst who was the son of the publisher, William Randolph Hearst. The grandfather, George Hearst, had established the family's wealth through the California goldmines and a newspaper business. Randolph Hearst grew that wealth by expanding the newspaper business into a media and industrial empire.

Though there was interest in the vehicle at the auction, the highest bid failed to meet the reserve and the vehicle was left unsold.


By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006

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2013 Bonhams - Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais

Sale Price :
USD $900,205 (€672,750.00)

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Mercedes-Benz 540K

(Data based on Model Year 1938 sales)
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster in the style of Singelfingen
Chassis#: 169394
Sold for USD$2,089,949
  2022 RM Sothebys : Munich
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Drophead Coupe by Lancefield
Chassis#: 169317
Sold for USD$1,050,000
  2022 RM Sothebys : Monterey
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen
Chassis#: 189391
Sold for USD$1,132,500
  2022 RM Sothebys : Monterey
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B
Chassis#: 130903
Sold for USD$836,000
  2016 Worldwide Auctions - The Houston Classic
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster by Nawrocki
Sold for USD$1,870,000
  2015 Auctions America - California
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet B
Chassis#: 169367
Sold for USD$1,289,033
  2013 RM Auction - London
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Cabriolet A
Chassis#: 154133
Sold for USD$2,200,788
  2013 RM Auction - London
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K cabriolet
Chassis#: 169333
Sold for USD$900,205
  2013 Bonhams - Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet 'A'
Chassis#: 169396
Sold for USD$1,312,500
  2013 Bonhams - The Scottsdale Auction
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K image  
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K
Sold for USD$946,000
  2009 The Scottsdale Auction : Gooding & Company
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A
Chassis#: 169397
Sold for USD$1,035,868
  2005 Bonhams - Important Collectors' Motor Cars
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
Chassis#: 189387
Sold for USD$1,017,500
  2005 The Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction
 
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sport Cabriolet
Sold for USD$973,500
  2003 Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction
 

Mercedes-Benz 540Ks That Failed To Sell At Auction

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1938 MERCEDES-BENZ 540K ROADSTER1693172016 Bonhams The MercedesBenz Sale $2,100,000$2,700,000
1938 MERCEDES-BENZ 540 K SPEICAL PHAETON111025100048132003 Kruse Auctions Las Vegas, NV$0  

Vehicles With Comparable Market Values

Similar sales to the $1,281,065 range.
1976 PORSCHE 934
Chassis#:930 670 0155
Sold for $1,275,000
2022 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  
1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Normal Roadster by Sindelfingen
Chassis#:130857
Sold for $1,270,000
2022 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1991 Jaguar XJR-15
Chassis#:018
Sold for $1,270,000
2022 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet by Pinin Farina
Chassis#:1941GT
Sold for $1,290,183
2022 RM Sothebys : Paris
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Chassis#:198.040.5500716
Sold for $1,277,558
2021 RM Sothebys : St. Moritz, Switzerland
1957 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL ROADSTER
Chassis#:198.042.7500178
Sold for $1,274,289
2021 RM Sothebys : Milan 2021
1963 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL ROADSTER
Chassis#:198.042.10.003243
Sold for $1,282,264
2021 Gooding & Company : European Sporting & Historic Collection
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Chassis#:198.040.5500594
Sold for $1,270,000
2020 RM Sothebys : Scottsdale Arizona
2014 McLaren P1 Coupé
Chassis#:SBM12ABB5EW000056
Sold for $1,269,898
2019 Bonhams : The Bonmont Sale
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Chassis#:198.040.5500695
Sold for $1,270,000
2018 RM Sothebys : The Petersen Automotive Museum
1962 Aston Martin DB4 'Series V' Vantage Sports Saloon
Chassis#:DB4/1133/L
Sold for $1,282,149
2018 Bonhams : Zoute Sale
1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Boattail Cabriolet by Castagna
Chassis#:1581
Sold for $1,270,000
2018 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  
1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8
Chassis#:WP0ZZZ96ZPS496080
Sold for $1,270,000
2018 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island
1955 Alfa Romeo 1900C SS Speciale by Boano
Chassis#:AR 1900C 01846
Sold for $1,270,000
2018 RM Sothebys : Scottsdale, Az.
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  
2015 Porsche 918 Spyder
Chassis#:WPOCA2A19FS800290
Sold for $1,292,500
2018 Bonhams : Scottsdale
1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Cabriolet by Touring
Chassis#:915.019
Sold for $1,275,680
2016 RM Sotheby's : London Sale
1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series V Convertible
Chassis#:DB4C/1102/R
Sold for $1,275,680
2016 RM Sotheby's : London Sale
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Chassis#:198.040.5500272
Sold for $1,287,708
2016 RM Sotheby's : Paris
1975 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR
Chassis#:911 560 9120
Sold for $1,292,500
2015 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  
1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
Chassis#:198.042.10.003123
Sold for $1,275,000
2015 Gooding & Company : Amelia Island

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Profiles

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Chassis #: 169333
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Sport Cabriolet
Coachwork: Erdmann & Rossi
Chassis #: 232697
Engine #: 154099
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Special Tourer
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Roadster
Designer: Friedrich Geiger
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Cabriolet A
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
Chassis #: 169316
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Cabriolet A
Coachwork: Sindelfingen
Chassis #: 169396
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle information
Cabriolet
Coachwork: Norrmalm
Chassis #: 169389