Mercedes 540 K Cabriolet A 1937 – SPRZEDANY

Wspaniały Mercedes 500 K i jego następca, model 540 K, były prawdopodobnie najbardziej godnymi uwagi modelami oferowanymi przez firmę ze Stuttgartu w latach trzydziestych. 540 K był jednym z pierwszych modeli opracowanych przez nowego głównego inżyniera Mercedesa, byłego kierowcę wyścigowego Maxa Sailera. Mercedes 540 K opierał się na modelu 500 i z nim dzielił niezależne zawieszenie podwozia. Silnik tego modelu wyposażony był w słynny układ doładowania Roots’a. Doładowanie to działało po naciśnięciu pedału gazu do końca, uruchomiając sprężarkę i zamykając alternatywny wlot powietrza do gaźnika. 540 K był ostatnią doładowaną produkcją Mercedesa do stosunkowo niedawnych czasów. Mercedes 540 K debiutował na Salonie Paryskim w październiku 1936 roku, wyposażony w dwa silniki, pierwszy o mocy 115 KM bez doładowania i drugi o mocy 180 KM ze sprężarką mechaniczną. Skrzynia była czterobiegowa, ale z najwyższym biegiem bezpośrednim, a nie nadbiegiem stosowanym we wcześniejszych modelach. Mercedes 540 K wyposażony w sprężarkę osiągał prędkość 177 km/h, a wytracać ją mógł przez hydraulicznie wspomagane hamulce.

Numer 154078, wystawiony na sprzedaż, zamówiony został przez Page Motors Ltd. w Londynie, gdzie trafił 12 grudnia 1936 roku. Jest to Cabriolet A, w sportowym stylu, ze zintegrowanym bagażnikiem i kołem zapasowym ułożonym w zagłębieniu w elegancko opadającej tylnej klapie. Jest to jeden z zaledwie 32 okazów zbudowanych przez fabrykę Mercedesa w Sindelfingen, i jeden z zaledwie 18 istniejących do dziś. Samochód do roku 1964 pozostawał w Wielkiej Brytanii, potem prawdopodobnie został eksportowany do Francji, by w 1992 roku trafić na ojczystą ziemię, na której pozostał do dziś. Od 2010 roku samochód przechodził szereg prac naprawczych, w tym inspekcję w Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. Tam również 540 K otrzymał opinię ekspertów, która potwierdziła wysoką oryginalność podzespołów mechanicznych i zaakceptowała prace poczynione przy samochodzie jako zgodne ze sztuką, a wszystkie numery znalezione na samochodzie pasują do arkusza konstrukcyjnego. Ten niezwykły Mercedes 540 K Cabriolet A wylicytowany został za 2,255 miliona euro, czyli około 9,66 miliona złotych. To najdroższe auto tej aukcji.

Tim Scott ©2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Link: https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/es19/essen/lots/r0007-1937-mercedes-benz-540-k-cabriolet-a-by-sindelfingen/732206

Lot Number 134

1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen
€2.000.000 – €2.400.000
Sold For €2.255.000
RM | Sotheby’s – ESSEN 11 – 12 APRIL 2019 – Offered on Thursday

Chassis No. 154078
Engine No. 154078
Gearbox No. 45786

Offered from a Private Swiss Collection
Outstandingly handsome example of Sindelfingen coachwork
Retains its original chassis, engine, gearbox and bodywork
Extraordinary level of originality and authenticity
High-quality restoration that presents well
Legendary supercharged pre-war Mercedes-Benz chassis

The magnificent Mercedes-Benz 500 K and its successor, the 540 K, were arguably the most noteworthy production models offered by the Stuttgart firm during the 1930s. The 540 K was developed from the 500 K and shared its independently suspended chassis, while the 540 K was bored up to 5.4 litres of supercharged straight-eight power.

The 540 K was one of the first models developed under Mercedes’ new chief engineer, ex-racing driver Max Sailer, successor to Hans Nibel, who had died in November 1934 at the age of only 54. The model featured the company’s famous Roots-type supercharger system in which pressing the accelerator pedal to the end of its travel would simultaneously engage the compressor and close off the alternative atmospheric intake to the carburettor. This system had been thoroughly proven on the preceding series of Dr Porsche-conceived S-Type cars, and in effect the 540 K was the last supercharged production Mercedes-Benz until relatively recent times.

The 540 K was launched at the Paris Salon in October 1936 with an engine that developed 115 bhp un-supercharged or 180 bhp with the compressor engaged. The gearbox was a four-speed, but with a direct top gear rather than the overdrive ratio used on the earlier 500 K. With the supercharger engaged, the 540 K’s blown straight-eight gave it a top speed approaching 110 mph (177 km/h) easily controlled by servo-assisted hydraulic braking.

Its performance potential was such that Mercedes-Benz in the UK retained racing driver Goffredo ‘Freddy’ Zehender as technical advisor and demonstration driver, since the supercharged Mercedes was one of the few genuine 100-mph road cars available in the 1930s.

Tested by Britain’s Motor magazine, the 540 K was deemed to have lighter steering and handling than its 500 K predecessor, plus an even more comfortable ride, even though the same all-round independent suspension layout with parallel links and coil springs at the front and swing axles at the rear was retained. Motor’s test car returned 102 mph over the timed quarter-mile with the supercharger engaged and 85 mph with it disengaged. Such performance was achieved at the cost of 11 mpg petrol consumption, but the servo-assisted brakes came in for fulsome praise, the blower was found to be relatively quiet and the steering and handling also compared favourably with the 500 K.

The 540 K chassis no. 154078 was ordered on 4 August 1936 by British Mercedes-Benz in London on behalf of Page Motors Ltd. in Epsom, Surrey, a few miles southwest of London. On 7 December 1936, the finished car was delivered by Sindelfingen to be shipped by rail to London where it arrived on 12 December, resplendent in light green paint set off by a pale-yellow top, brown headliner and seats upholstered in the finest pig skin. Being an export to England, the chassis was right-hand drive and in the sporty Cabriolet A style with an integrated trunk and the spare wheel carried in an indentation in the elegantly sloping rear deck. Sindelfingen built 32 of these opulent cars, and only 18 are believed to exist today.

The first owner was a Mr Paine who likely lived in Warwickshire, as the transport archive of the Kithead Trust shows that the car passed from an owner in Warwickshire to a second owner in London in December 1937 with license plate no. EPK 402. A photo of this car from the 1960s is pictured in Volume 2 of Jan Melin’s book Mercedes-Benz 8. In addition, the Kithead Trust states that the car was likely last licensed in the UK sometime around 1960 and that it was possibly exported in 1964, likely to France. The next owner was a Jean-Paul La Fuge who lived on Avenue Rapp in Paris. From 1992 to 2009, the car was in the ownership of Eduard Bollmeyer of Bünde, Germany, and in 2009, he sold it to Eric van Lammeren of Munich.

Van Lammeren kept chassis no. 154078 until 2015, and from 2010 to 2014, he had important mechanical repair and fettling work carried out that totalled more than €50.000. In addition, approximately €40.000 were spent at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in 2015 and 2016, all of which can be inspected in the very comprehensive file that accompanies the car.

In 2015, a Manufacturer’s Expert Assessment of chassis no. 154078 was commissioned from Mercedes-Benz Classic. The conclusion of this very thorough and complete investigation into the details of the car was that while the restoration displays a different livery compared to when it was new, it is correct and numbers matching. Not only are major mechanical components such as the engine block, gear box, rear axle and steering assembly the original pieces manufactured by Mercedes-Benz for chassis no. 154078 in the fall of 1936, the body is also the original body that was first mounted on the chassis and all numbers found on the car match the Kommission paper, or build sheet. Even the composition of the steel of the chassis members was analysed, leading to the conclusion that the steel is the correct metal used by Mercedes-Benz as chassis steel for supercharged cars in the 1930s.

The Mercedes-Benz 540 K remains one of the best-known and iconic models of the immediate pre-war years and was a technological yardstick by which the power and performance of lesser cars were measured. A number of body styles were offered, designed and constructed by Sindelfingen. All shared the powerful 540 K chassis and high-quality body construction. But while most of the sold cars were practical and roomy closed cars or four-seat Cabriolet B or C styles, few were bodied to the highly desirable and sporting Cabriolet A configuration. With its close-coupled two-seat body, set-back radiator, sweeping fenders and integrated trunk, it cut a dashing figure indeed. The 540 K Cabriolet A is a scarce model in itself. The extraordinary level of originality and authenticity offered by chassis 154078 makes it a very rare automobile indeed.