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Mercedes-Benz History

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K

Chassis number : 232697

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The K series Mercedes of the 1930s were not for the faint of heart. In the wrong hands, they could be considered downright dangerous. Powered by engines that eventually rose to over seven liters of displacement producing over 250 horsepower they were formidable and fierce vehicles. Descendents of the SSK series included both the 500K and, later, the 540K series.

The 540K debuted in 1936. Touting state-of-the-art independent coil spring suspension, the 5.4-liter straight eight-cylinder engine made 115 horsepower normally and 180 with the supercharger engaged. Today, the 540K remains an awe-inspiring machine capable of speeds exceeding 100 mph.

The Berglass brothers, two Berlin bankers, purchased this car in 1936. The coachwork is by Erdmann & Rossi, with a number of special features such as the lengthened hood, a unique hinged V windshield and twin rear-mounted spares. The vehicle was shipped to the UK in 1938, just prior to the start of WWII. The car's subsequent history remains unknown, until the Goodman family of San Francisco, purchased it in mid 1970s. It was sold in unrestored condition at an estate sale in 1993.

In 1997 it was awarded a First Prize at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, a class award at pebble Beach, and both a First in Class as well as the Most Significant Mercedes award at the 1998 Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance.

In 2001 the car was privately sold to collector Thomas Taffett. Mr. Taffett kept the car for two years before selling it to the current owner. In 2009, this 540 K Sport Cabriolet was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The car was estimated to sell for $1,000,000 - $1,500,000. The lot was sold for a high bid of $946,000, including buyer's premium.

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No auction information available for this vehicle at this time.

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 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  

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1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  
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1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K vehicle thumbnail image  

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