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PreWar Mercedes Benz


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The metal covers on the spares are rarely seen on these cars.

This will be a very nice example once the colors are toned down quite a bit, the red interior is just nasty.

When this car was restored (mid 80s) there was a law in the US that required red on red for all 540k's :). It did not originally have the metal covers but are the correct ones you could order from MB as an option. As pictured below in all it's original 20k mile glory.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Here is a 540K second series Cab A that is for sale in the U.S.A. Brought over from France in the 1950s and restored in the 1970s. Note the rare factory radio. They seem to have put a small seat in the back. I think it is supposed to be a small single seat facing sideways or luggage.

Now in a German dealer's hands and for sale again:

Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A 1938 for sale - PreWarCar

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  • 3 weeks later...

WOW, what a great thread in which to burrow, on an extended holiday break. I happen to be listening to some '30s American and German jazz on CBC Radio 2, which sets the darkening scene for these cars perfectly.

A few comments pop out from various points in this conversation:

Dave Mitchell, "The lines are great even on the big 770s and the sedans". Oh, puleeeze... those lumpy limos were generally hideous! Of course, most of them were burdened - esthetically and gravitationally - with armour plating, as was deemed essential to their owners' survival. Maybe the biggest Packards and Cadillacs of the same era would have been equally homely, if America had been in the midst of conquering Canada and Mexico.

We now need a law, akin to the Resale Red rule of the '80s (since thankfully revoked): "No More Whitewalls On Pre-War German Cars". Let's call it the AJ/West P Statute. "Perhaps I'm still trying to get over my dad putting them on everything including the lawnmower back in the 60s and 70s." Hehehehe.

The flower garland on that 500K in India is charming. Compared to the rear suspension on a 540K, a Rolls-Royce PIII looks the picture of simplicity. Must Google the Byrd Estate Auction.

The somewhat mongrelized James Melton cabriolet must have been a jaw-dropper on the streets of Late-Depression New York. Cutest little opera window ever.

Painted spokes, chrome weights, black tires. I like it.

How much fun could it have been, driving "Blue Goose" with the top down and all those bullet-proof shields deployed? Such sad times.

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Here are some pictures of the first version of 500k Special Roadster. These pictures were found in a trash bin and posted on the Hamb. They were taken before WWII.

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I have also enjoyed reading through this thread, an area where I have no knowledge whatsoever, except that I remember a 500/540K roadster that was bought into Australia in pieces in the 80s and then seized by customs for evasion of duty. It was also painted retail red, I dont know where it is now.

The reason for this post, though, is that I was struck by the similarity between this car and indeed the early roadsters with the de Sakhnoffsky L29 Cord. If you veed the Cord windscreen, changed the grille and put flow through fenders on it it could be mistaken for an early special roadster.

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Apparently, there were exceptions to the Ugly Sedan rule at Daimler Benz in the late '30s. This one is achingly beautiful.

I agree that some of the 770 Sedans are ugly as can be, especially the armored ones but in general the factory bodies, sedan and otherwise are pleasing. I have a friend who got to drive the 320 Streamliner you posted. I agree, a very attractive car. The 320 chassis was big enough for pretty bodies and sophisticated with fully independent suspension all around, plus a 4 or 5 speed transmission. The drawback was the pedestrian 6 banger that powered it.

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The reason for this post, though, is that I was struck by the similarity between this car and indeed the early roadsters with the de Sakhnoffsky L29 Cord. If you veed the Cord windscreen, changed the grille and put flow through fenders on it it could be mistaken for an early special roadster.

I had never thought of that but I do agree. The L29 did come first.

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Gentleman- searching to buy any MB500K or 540K project car.If somebody can help me locate, please let me know.Many thanks

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There are a few unrestored cars left but not many. I know of a 500k Cab B that was unrestored but went back to Europe a couple of years ago. It is probably cheaper to buy a restored car in the long run. Rebuilding and rechroming the radiator is 50k job on it's own - not to mention the rest of the car :).

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In case you haven't seen it, Speed network is replaying an hour show on the 2011 Pebble Beach classic Mercedes auction, interspersed with the 125-year history of Mercedes-Benz. Very slickly produced.

Eastern times:

Tonight (Sunday) the 15th 11 pm, and Monday morning 3 am.

Friday the 20th at 1 pm

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This question relates specifically to the Caracciola 500K Roadster Limousine (coupe) and similar. Does anyone know if the large headlight lens is clear or if it had a pattern? These seem to show a flat/ clear outer lens with a separate lens housing inside.

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This question relates specifically to the Caracciola 500K Roadster Limousine (coupe) and similar. Does anyone know if the large headlight lens is clear or if it had a pattern? These seem to show a flat/ clear outer lens with a separate lens housing inside.

Skip, I've never paid a lot of attention the glass in the Bosch lights. I've assumed that any deviation from the "factory" pattern was due to later replacement. I'm assuming they all got the same lights, but perhaps that is not true?

A.J.

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Gentleman,

here is armored 1942 Mercedes Benz 540K Action P coupe.Very rare car, only 20 cars built, just 3 as I know survive.

3 survivors? One is in a museum in Prague, another one was offered by a dealer a couple years ago in Germany. Where's the third one?

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5 years ago sounds about right, it was offered by Thiesen in Hamburg, Germany who is one of the best known German classic dealers and has sold lots of supercharged MB over the years. No info about that car's history though. Never heard of a third car as of now.

The Aktion P cars were all armored AFAIK. I think Melin mentions a virtually identical car that survived WWII in Sweden, but was scrapped in the '50ies. That was when the more attractively styled versions already became collectibles.

Edited by tilomagnet (see edit history)
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There is a 370K or 380K in Brisbane, Australia that was restored, but went through the floods in 2011 and has still not been pulled out of storage or any attempt made to clean it up. When and if that happens, it will need another 250K spent on it.

If it needs the works then 250k will not be enough. My understanding is that full professional restorations these cars is 700k or more. I have a friend who I believe spent 700 between 3 shops. I know of another that spent 200k cleaning up a nice car. The bottom line is that the are tremendously expensive to work on.

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Here is a 500K Cab C that was for sale in Florida late in 2004. It was eventually sold to a dealer who resold it to Germany. I do not know where the car is now. It was very nice with the exception of the roof which was improperly done. Here is the description:

Quoting the owner: "I am not too certain of this car's history, except that I bought it from a museum in Florida, and it formerly was owned and restored by people in Pennsylvania. From an old registration, I determined that the previous owner had died, so it probably was an estate sale.

"It came with an old khaki binder with a typed translation of the owner's manual, which looks military.

"I bought the car on a whim, and have never shown it, which is a shame for it is indeed a pretty thing. The paint and chrome were brought up to scratch about a year ago after some minor transport damage when I brought the car back from France, where I lived for several years. The only flaw of which I am aware, is a small pinch mark in the fabric of the top, which can be repaired by reweaving. I am selling the 500K because my factory is being sold and I will be losing my place of storage; it needs to go to somebody who can use it."

Writer's comment: I have not seen the car personally, but I am quite familiar with the make and model, having owned one some time ago. The photographs show it to be in excellent condition, which may be confirmed through inspection by a serious buyer. This machine is identical to mine, and to one that was featured in a full-page Mercedes-Benz advertisement in a mid-1980's Wall Street Journal, wherein it was stated that Christie's had just auctioned it for $1,000,000. While today's prices have not rebounded to the rarefied atmosphere of that decade, it is only a matter of time before they do, making an automobile of this caliber an excellent long-term investment.

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I didn't think the factory wires were strong enough for the weight of the armor. Is the car on the left really armored?

Btw, I like the styling as far as 2 door sedans go.

Good point re: tyres. But yes, when it was offered they did claim it was armored, though it still might be possible that some of the plating was removed during restoration for the benefit of driveability?! Actually the whole point of "Aktion P" was to provide high ranking officials with armored cars after Heydrich had been assasinated in an 320 Cabriolet B or D in Prague in 1942. I think those cars all had the same "Innenlenker" (2 door sedan) body style and originally they all had been armored at least to some extent.

You did mention you had photos of another car offered in CA, so does it look the same as what I posted? Maybe you could find those pics. Would definately be interesting.

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A very nice 540k Cab B for sale. This car illustrates the lack of hard and fast rules with regard to 500k/540k bodies. Delivered in late 1938 it sure looks like a 500k body. I really like the colors.

Scott Grundfor Co | Image Gallery: 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B

Of course impossible to say what engine is under the bonnet, but this is totally a 500K body, maybe they put an unsold or used body on a new chassis or updated a 500 K with the bigger engine?! I definately don't think the whole car was build up new in 1938.

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You did mention you had photos of another car offered in CA, so does it look the same as what I posted? Maybe you could find those pics. Would definately be interesting.

I went through all my stuff last night and could not find it. I've got a lot and it's possible it will turn up. I recall talking to the seller and just thinking, WOW, that's a lot of money. I guess there is a premium for the historical significance, because although attractive certainly not a special roadster!

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Of course impossible to say what engine is under the bonnet, but this is totally a 500K body, maybe they put an unsold or used body on a new chassis or updated a 500 K with the bigger engine?! I definately don't think the whole car was build up new in 1938.

If you read the advertisement, it was practically delivered in 1939. Now, as I recall, the MB car's year was determined by when it was sold, not when it was built - is that correct? There are other differences besides the bigger engine although not huge, but I wonder if this car has them. I know of 36 500ks that have 540k bumpers and here we have a later 540k with 500k bumpers!

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Another interesting car, this is supposed to be a late 540K chassis with Voll und Ruhrbeck body (corresponding to a Sindelfingen Cab. C more or less), but with a 600 K engine. Now how a prototype engine found it's way into a chassis that was even delivered to another coachbuilder, this I have not seen properly explained anywhere. But stranger things have happened I guess.

Opinions?

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The michelin 750-17 radials never look right on a 540k. Other than that I really like it. The v12 engine was discovered running a water pump in England while the car itself was liberated eastern Europe or the Soviet Union, I forget which. I would like someone to explain why they belong together.

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