1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A
Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2013
Hmm, three maroon cars in a row. I didn’t plan that. We’ll need something more colorful for tomorrow. But color isn’t a big issue here because this is a Mercedes-Benz 540K. One of the most desirable cars on earth.
The 540K was, essentially, an updated 500K with a bigger engine. Introduced in 1936, the 540K used a supercharged 5.4-liter straight eight making 180 horsepower with the supercharger engaged. How it worked was, the engine made 115 horsepower as is, but when you floored the accelerator, the compressor kicked in and bumped the power up considerably – allowing the car to attain speeds up to 110 mph.
But what really catches everyone’s attention is that body by Sindelfingen, Mercedes’ in-house coachbuilder. Their cars are gorgeous, this Cabriolet A-style body being no exception. The 540K lasted until 1940, with a total of 83 Cabriolet As built. This car was originally delivered to Paris, but was brought home with a U.S. soldier after the war (what a war prize!). He kept it until 1970 when it was purchased by famed car rescuer Paul Karassik, who painted it the burgundy color you see, replaced the top, and refurbished the leather on the seats. Other than that, this car is original.
Mercedes 540K Cabriolet A’s have an average sale price over the past few years of about $2.5 million. The fact that this car is pretty much original is a wild card – but look for it to bring in the neighborhood of that amount, as Bonhams declined to publish an estimate. You can read more here and check out more from this sale here.
Update: Sold $1,312,500.