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Mercedes-Benz 540 K  2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance – Best in Class

Mercedes-Benz 540 K Service & Restoration

This body style first appeared in 1933 as the W22, Mercedes-Benz 380. The styling and first ever fully independent suspension of the 380 proved popular, however the 3820cc engine was under powered and production ended with only 154 built. The look alike W29 was first introduced at the 1934 Berlin Motor Show as the Mercedes-Benz 500 K. The long elegant lines and larger supercharged engine made it a popular car among affluent buyers.

The 540 K introduced in 1936 built on the success of the 500 K with a larger more powerful engine. The 5.4 liter, straight 8 cylinder engine produced 115 hp when fed by the dual updraft carburetor. An additional 65hp was added when the gas pedal was fully depressed, engaging the Mercedes-Benz 540 K ServiceKompressor.

The W29 chassis was produced with a variety of body types; 3 types of cabriolets, a sedan, a touring car, a coupe and the special roadster. A total of 406, 540s were produced on this chassis from 1936-1940.

The most popular were the powerful, elegant roadster and cabriolet bodies which were hand made at the Daimler-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, Germany. Only 319, 540 K roadsters and cabriolets were produced in a variety of configurations, many had rare factory options requested by the wealthiest motorists of the time. Still others were sent to custom coach builders for additional Mercedes-Benz 540 K Serviceone-off modifications.

With the Supercharged 180 hp engine and a top speed of 160 kph, the 540 K was true a “muscle car” of the times.

Here are some of the specs;180bhp 5,401cc overhead valve inline eight cylinder engine with driver activated and gear driven Rootes type supercharger, twin updraft pressurized carburetors, four-speed transmission with synchromesh on third and a dog clutch on fourth, independent wishbone coil front suspension, independent swing arm rear suspension, and four-wheel servo-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 128”

Original price $ 7,500--the average American car at that time cost about $750.

The dark blue 1937 540 K Cabriolet A pictured here is one of 83 produced from 1936-39 and has undergone a total frame off Concours quality restoration here at Oldtimer Restoration Center. At it's first showing at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance the car won Best in Class.

The car was originally delivered to Mercedes-Benz dealer Carlo Saporiti of Milan, Italy in October of 1937 where it remained until the mid-fifties. The car was purchased by Hugh Pierce and shipped to New York. In 1958 Pierce sold the car to his friend Arthur K. Watson, board chairman of the IBM World Trade Corporation, and U.S. Ambassador to France and an avid car collector. The car Mercedes-Benz 540 Kbecame the center- piece of Watson’s forty-car collection.

After Watson’s death in the seventies the car went on display at The Owl’s Head Museum of Transportation in Rockland, Maine, where it remained until 1999. Famed racing school owner Skip Barber purchased the car in 2001 and auctioned the car in 2004 to the current owner. In 2006 the 540 was delivered to Oldtimer Restoration Center for a total restoration/remanufacture in preparation for showing at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours.

 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance – Best in Class
Mercedes-Benz 540 K Restoration
Mercedes-Benz 540 K Restoration
Mercedes-Benz 540 K Restoration
Mercedes-Benz 540 K engine restoration

Mercedes-Benz 540 K Service
All the 540s pictured here are cars we have worked on or restored here in our shop.