Heroshot

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K

Special Roadster in the style of Sindelfingen
RM Sotheby's Munich 2022
Saturday, 26 November 2022
€2,007,500 ($2,088,202)
Sale Price
€1,200,000 - €1,600,000
Est. Range
Yes
Reserve
26 November 2022
Sold Date
137
Lot Number
#2+
Older restoration
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis no. 169394; Engine no. 1693694. Silver over black leather. 5401/180hp supercharged straight-eight, 4-speed, wire wheels, dual chrome horns, single driving light, dual spotlights, rumble seat, dash clock.

Evaluation: This car was originally a 540K Cabriolet B in 1938, and although it retains its matching numbers drivetrain, its original Sindelfingen body was likely destroyed by munitions during the war. There is little known history until restoration from 2004-06 with a new Special Roadster body recreated and fitted. It has incredible paint finish and bright silver coachwork that is smooth and perfect on every panel and you’d spot any mark in this light but there’s none. Incredible chrome work, wheels, and trim. The interior looks brand new with amazing materials.

But then it strikes you, it’s not an original and your heart sinks a little. It has also been on static display for an extended period of time and would require at least a thorough inspection before hitting the road.

Bottom Line: Authenticity counts for a lot in this hobby. To any casual observer and even most car people, this looks just like any other Sindelfingen Special Roadster, one of which sold for $9.9M in Monterey this year. But the people with the pocketbooks know that this otherwise gorgeous car’s body is from the 2000s, and that will always be a knock against it. All that said, it defied expectations, significantly exceeded its presale estimate, and became the second most expensive car of this auction.

by Andrew Newton
2 December 2022

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