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|Mercedes-Benz Pre-War 540K Sport Cabriolet A|
Coys of Kensington
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|One of the curious aspects of the great supercharged Mercedes of the 1920s and 1930s is that, though of course they were available in chassis-only form for the great coachbuilders to unleash their imagination bounded only by the limits of the client's chequebook, very few indeed ever looked better than the factory's own in-house efforts. This is particularly true of the great 500k and 540k roadsters and cabriolets of the late 1930s, which managed to be graceful and truly imposing at the same time, and it is one of the most handsome of this series which we are pleased to be offering today.|
Only some eighty-three Cabriolet 'A' cars were built, and it has always been readily accepted in the market that, with their superb proportions and neat hoodline when raised, they figure in the pecking order of Mercedes coachwork only just below the showstopping Roadsters and Special Roadsters, with the notable difference that roadsters are now between five and ten million dollars! Of course in an era when the word 'bespoke' meant exactly that, the good men at Sindelfingen would expect to have to accommodate the customers' special wishes, for instance for individual fender versions, rear-end designs or interior appointments.
According to the built sheet from Daimler Benz, chassis 154146 was delivered to Sindelfinger Karosserie on 16th November 1936 by the works in chassis form and is one of only ten cars built in this body style, Series 826200, with longer front and rear wings and a boot mounted spare wheel as found on Special Roadsters.
Ordered by Miss Martha Jordans of Paris, the car was delivered on the 12th February 1937 to her German home on Albertusstrasse in Mönchengladbach via Daimler Benz Düsseldorf according to the commission sheet. We are told that Miss Jordans was apparently a friend of Mr. Alfried Krupp, the German steel magnate, and on the inside of the hood frame there is indeed a plaque with his name. Miss Jordans later emigrated via Paris to the USA and so she exported her beloved Sport cabriolet with her.
154146 is a well known car as it features in the books by Jan Melin, the Swedish authority on Mercedes Benz Supercharged Cars, including in photographs. Volume 2 on page 220 shows the car in 1965 with Jan Melin`s wife in New Jersey, and then again in 2002. There are additional pictures available of 154146 taken by Jan Melin in 1958 and 1968 in the USA and one later and undated, showing him and another person with the car. In 1989 the 540K was featured in the US magazine 'Car Collector' while in the ownership of noted American Mercedes-Benz expert Tom Kreid, who had purchased the car in 1981. In 1996 154146 returned to Germany, having been exported by David Clark of San Diego and purchased by a Dr. Stoffel of Straubing in Germany, who in turn sold it in 1997 to the current owner.
While in his ownership the vendor has undertaken a comprehensive programme of improvement work on the car, including the refurbishment of its original engine by noted pre-war engine specialists Wagner of Landshut, refinishing of the paintwork in silver grey, reupholstering the interior in dark blue leather, fitting a new hood and hood cover and the restoration of all interior woodwork. The car is still complete with its original Telefunken radio and fitted luggage and is supplied with a reprint of the owner's manual, parts list and wireless manual.
The Mercedes-Benz 540K is the ultimate example of pre-war German engineering and as such is an extremely valuable and collectible motor car. This extremely rare sport cabriolet is a particularly desirable variant because of its rare and beautiful coachwork, lovely condition and unusually complete history and provenance. Ready to use or to show, this 540K will be the centrepiece of any significant collection of rare and collectible motor cars.
Sold on the 23.07.2012
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