1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K

Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen
Not sold at a high bid of
Lot Number
Older restoration
Auction House
Chassis no. 408371. Two-tone red with beige cloth top over tan leather. 5,410/115-180hp supercharged inline eight, 5-speed, steeply raked vee windshield, set back radiator, chrome wire wheels, wide whitewalls, dual sidemounts, Bosch headlights, dip beam light, dual spotlights with mirrors, trafficators, chevron grille guard, fitted luggage.

Evaluation: Plain white instrument panel, older gauges, very good interior wood. Upholstery is lightly surface creased. Paint and chrome are very good. An older concours restoration by Mike Fennel in the early 1990s with an attractive and flamboyant livery and a provenance that is hard to match: James Melton, Otis Chandler, Axel Wars and General William Lyon. Pebble Beach Best of Show for the Chandlers in 1973 (when it was Green).

Bottom Line: Offered at the Tokyo Auction as an Exposition car in 1992, then by RM in its present guise at Amelia in 2016 where it was reported bid to $2.8 million without selling. It still shows the same 3835 miles that it did five years ago in 2016, and is still a rare, spectacular example of special Sindelfingen coachwork with unique features including the vee windshield and set back radiator. It deserves to find a new home, but won’t at the reported high bid here.

by Rick Carey
7 February 2021
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.