Mercedes-Benz W 29 540K Cabriolet B

  • Original 540K B Cabriolet
  • Unique unrestored example
  • Stunning history
Year:1939
Paintwork:Black
Interior:Leather darkblue
Gearing Type:Manual
Mileage:23.930 KM
Power:180 HP
Fuel*:Petrol
Price:Up on request

* Fuel consumption: (DIN 70030) 17,3 L Super determined at 3/4 of maximum speed, maximum of 110 km / h below surcharge of 10% (factory specification)

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The Mercedes-Benz W 29 540K Cabriolet B

There is always an aura of history surrounding classic vehicles, but this Mercedes-Benz 540 K cabriolet B has enough stories to tell for several Hollywood blockbusters. The history including war, escape and life in the new world all directly touched its original condition.

But let’s start at the beginning: Mercedes presented the Mercedes-Benz 500 K, a touring and representative car, with the standard Roots compressor in 1934 to replace the Mercedes-Benz 380 (W 22). The 540 K, the special roadster that is now famous the world over, followed in 1936 at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris. The straight 8 cylinder engine was increased to 5.4 litres and the power to 115 hp - with the supercharger this even increased to 180 hp. Mercedes thus gave the representative cabriolet more than enough power to create a sporty top speed of up to 170 km/h. Having built just under 419 vehicles with a wide range of car bodies, Sindelfingen factory stopped production in 1939.

This is when the very eventful history, that has been painstakingly noted, of this special Mercedes-Benz 540 K began. The vehicle was delivered to the Berlin Mercedes-Benz branch on 23 September 1939, where it served as the representative and demonstration car. The famous racing driver, Manfred von Brauchitsch, was allowed to borrow the vehicle as a kind of special honour. Finally it was sold to none other than the Army Recruitment Inspectorate in Berlin - it couldn’t have been anything else in those dark times - and the car was in service there for 5 years until the end of the war. The Mercedes-Benz 540 K’s last journey as a Nazi vehicle was to West Germany when the vehicle served its passengers as an escape vehicle away from the Red Army. What a bizarrely decadent way to escape in view of the situation in May 1945!

There is no information as to what happened to the passengers - whether they escaped from the Russians or were put on trial by the Americans; but it is known that the vehicle was confiscated by the US army. In the following years, the vehicle remained in the possession of the army before it was sold on behalf of the famous American trade company Zumbach Sports Cars to the private collector John Strauss in 1952. Strauss’ collection was not very large, but every single one of the few vehicles he did own were precious, the 540 K fitted in well. He tended to the Mercedes-Benz 540 K in his garage until a few years before he passed away. After owning the vehicle for 53 years, the family decided to sell it unrestored, in its original condition. The lucky new owner was a salesman from “The Stable Ltd” in New Jersey, who didn’t intend to keep the car for long, he put it up for auction to sell it to the highest bidder. In the time between the expert opinion on the car’s originality by Mercedes-Benz and the auction starting, Mechatronik realised that a treasure was on sale in the US and bought it.

And so, the Mercedes-Benz 540 K is back on sale in its old homeland. With enough stories to last several car lives. And when you look at this beauty, you can feel every single anecdote. Of course, there are wonderful restorations, but there are fantastic vehicles in original condition. And this Mercedes-Benz 540 K is an example of how patina and lived history can enrich a technical witness of time, without the need of new paint or chrome. The person who can count his pennies and is able to call this treasure his own will again be faced with the question of what degree of originality does he/she want to keep and how much restoration should be undertaken. Looking back to the starting point, we can say without a doubt that there will hardly be another Mercedes-Benz 540 K on the market with as much originality and historical patina as this very special treasure.