On January 20 in Phoenix, RM Sotheby's sells a Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster. Completed in August 1939 on a special order and delivered to its owner in Berlin, this car appears as the ultimate car of the most prestigious pre-war lineage.
It is equipped with the latest developments offered by Mercedes-Benz including the new five-speed transmission. Its one-off bodywork made in Sindelfingen marks the culmination of the aesthetic research aiming to bring to this massive two-seater roadster the same elegance as a sports car.
After the war it was used for a few years in East Berlin by Soviet diplomats and then transferred to Russia. It had become old-fashioned and was likely to be abandoned when an amateur managed to smuggle it into Sweden in 1967. After these adventures, its condition remains remarkably authentic with its original body and equipment including chassis and engine in matching numbers.
This car has already been discussed twice in this column.
On August 20, 2011, RM Auctions had gathered five Mercedes-Benz demonstrating masterfully the evolution of the high-end of this brand from 1935 to 1939. In the shadow of the dazzling 540K Spezial Roadster of 1937 from the Mann collection that fetched $ 9.7M including premium, the 1939 car was sold for $ 4.6M including premium over a lower estimate of $ 3.5M. The pre sale release shared by Sports Car Digest illustrates these five wonders.
Its specific importance was further enhanced later. Sold for $ 7.5M including premium by RM Auctions on August 16, 2013, it then began a prestigious career in the concours d'elegance. It is estimated $ 7.4M in the next sale, lot 258.
SOLD for $ 6.6M including premium