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RM Sotheby’s Could Break Arizona Auction Record with a 1937 Mercedes 540 K Special Roadster

Regarded as one of the most prestigious and most beautiful automobiles of the interwar years, the Mercedes-Benz 540 K rapidly made itself noticed in that period thanks to its combination of power, lightweight, and sheer beauty. Now, those with a lot of money in their bank accounts can own one of just 6 LHD units built in this specification, as a pristine 540 K Special Roadster by Sindelfingen is going to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s.
1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster 13 photos
1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster
The Special Roadster is the ultimate 540 K and was created by the Sindelfingen designers to efficiently accommodate only two passengers. Originally priced at 28,000 Reichsmark, or about $12,000 at the prevailing exchange rate, when it arrived in the States, the car was quoted at about $14,000, 40 percent more than the most expensive catalogue-bodied Cadillac V-16. As America wasn’t doing so well in that period, economically speaking, only a few Special Roadsters landed in the US.

Among them was chassis number 130894, this piece of automotive history auctioned by RM Sotheby’s. The car was delivered to New York City through Mitropa Motors on April 24, 1937, and its uniqueness also comes from the fact that it is powered by a 5.4-liter engine, as only 13 examples were built carrying this power unit. The inline eight-cylinder with driver-activated Roots-type supercharger and two-barrel updraft pressurized carburetor is linked to a four-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on third and a dog clutch on fourth.

The original owner is believed to be Reginald Sinclair, the heir of Henry Purdon Sinclaire, one of the founders of Corning Glass.

In 1957, the Special Roadster appeared at an exhibition of antique automobiles in Denver, and it was shown by James S. Harrison, vice president of Import Motors. It is likely that Harrison bought the car directly from Sinclaire.

After being sold to some other people, the 540 K Special Edition has been maintained in the collection of its current owner since 1989. The car is described as being in wonderful condition, with only 10,277 miles on the odometer and all its original drivetrain components, including engine number 130894 and numerous original wood parts bearing body number 200335, as an RM Sotheby’s specialist indicated.

There are only a few Special Roadsters built in this specification, with high doors, a long tail, and factory left-hand drive. It is believed that only six left-hand-drive longtail roadsters exist today.

As the price reflects its uniqueness, the 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster by Sindelfingen is expected to fetch somewhere between $10,000,000 and $13,000,000. If the car sells for that sum, RM Sotheby’s will break the Arizona auto auction record, also set by them with a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM sold for $9.6 million.

 
 
 
 
 

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