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1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster Goes for $7.5 million

The Mercedes-Benz 540K was built in just 419 units from 1935 to 1939. Of those chassis, only 25 were Spezial Roadster. Even less Spezial Roadsters where one-offs built on the more desirable later chassis, in 1939.
1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster 30 photos
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The following 540K is one of those final cars, if not the final Spezial Roadster that was ever built, which is probably why it fetched $7,480,000 at the Monterey Classic Car Auction this weekend.

The long-hood of one of the most exclusive pre-war Mercs hid a gigantic supercharged inline-eight cylinder engine with a displacement of 5,410 cc, offering no less than 180 horsepower.

The example below was fitted with the rare five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent coil-spring suspension and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. The “one-off” criteria matches perfectly with the car, since it was owner-commissioned for the Horn brothers, who at the time had some of the most exclusive boutiques in Berlin.

Winner of the Second in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2012, the car has a rather interesting history about some of its original 26,000 kilometers (16,155 miles).

Well after World War II had ended, the car was discovered in the Soviet Union by a Swedish reporter called Alf Johansson, and the beautiful Roadster was in the hands of a Soviet general. After the general passed away, Johansson bought the car from the general's sone after two whole months of negotiation.

Getting the valuable car out of Soviet Russia was no easier feat though, as the reporter actually drove it over the border into Sweden, his daring escape preserving this piece of automotive history for future generations.

 
 
 
 
 

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