Engines

540K Special Roadster

RECALLING PAST OPULENCE

The Mercedes-Benz 540K was a flagship car produced by Daimler-Benz between 1936 and 1939. It is now regarded as one of the German car company’s most fascinating and prestigious vehicles. Of the many versions made, the magnificent 540K Special Roadster has become one of the most sought-after vehicles in the world of vintage collectors.

Only some thirty of the Special Roadster version were ever built. The car was designed by Hermann Ahrens and was adapted at Sindelfingen, where Mercedes-Benz ‘specials’ were produced.

The model caught the eye from the beginning on account of its elegant and tapered rear half, a feature not only distinguishing it from other similar vehicles but also putting it amongst the Stuttgart-based company’s most beautiful automobiles.

The 5.4-litre V8 engine with supercharger (the K in the name stands for Kompressor, German for supercharger) produced 180 HP and enabled the car to reach speeds of 170kph. A quite exceptional achievement, especially considering the period of the car’s manufacture, its size and its weight (c.2.5 tonnes).

Nowadays, the few remaining 540K Special Roadsters are sought by the world’s most avid vintage car collectors. Their irresistible fascination has continued to bring them numerous awards in international vintage car competitions.

The Mercedes-Benz 540K SpecialĀ Roadster shown in the photographic gallery was sold in Sotherby’s Monterey auction. The car came from Sam and Emily Mann’s collection.