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Will the Von Krieger Mercedes-Benz 540K break the record for cars sold at public auction? - Resurrectedrestorations.com » Resurrectedrestorations.com

Won't be cheap I guess. :D

1935 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Roadster confiscated in Germany from a car collector

Have not seen this posted here yet.....this may get interesting in the future. Considering so many of these cars were originally delivered in Germany and then "got away" in the early post war years either to the US or the SU, some present owners in Germany that have acquired repatriated cars might get a little nervous.

What will happen if the Krupp heirs decide they want Alfried`s Special Roadster back?!

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I'm not sure what record they are referring to with the Von Krieger 540k. I'm sure it could set a record for Special Roadsters which I think is 8.5 but I don't see it setting any all time records. Perhaps I'm naive :). It was nice to see it returned to it's original colors. If the new owner drops the whitewalls then it will be looking very fine indeed.

As for the mess in Germany. If the car was reported as stolen in 1945/46 that is one situation, but heirs "discovering" their grandads car was a 540k and then wanting it back is another. This is what I posted in another forum:

Most prewar MB production was sold to European owners new - which is what you would expect. New MB sales in the U.S for the period of 1936 to 1940 was approx 30 cars of all models and maybe 10 500k/540ks. A U.S. delivered car would be safe from this. However, a large number of 500k/540K Mercedes, as well as Horch and other desirable European cars were purchased by GI's and brought back to the U.S.. I doubt many of these (if any) have any paperwork from that transaction. Of course, the cars coming back from the USSR and eastern Europe could have an even more murky history.

The problem is at this point there is no reasonable way to tell if a car was stolen/confiscated or legally purchased. Basically a mess. I think it's critical that the claim the car was stolen was made in period and documented and not conjured about by someone's great grandchildren.

I don't know the whole story on this car. I do feel bad for the current owner who has done nothing wrong. Hopefully the whole thing will be sorted out in a reasonable way.

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One other anecdote on this, I noticed a 540k that has been for sale by a dealer in the U.S. for some time just updated his ad to emphasis the car was bought at auction directly after WWII.

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Very nice late Cab A. Love the patina and the "used" look. Cosmetically this could be turned into a real stunner with just a couple days of work. Just get rid of all the bling bling. But will probably need costly mechanical revision if it sat unused for a longer time.

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  • 3 weeks later...
That would be interesting. I don't think I would bet against it.

Unfortunately, I have recently heard from a contact who is involved in the negotiations, and they have basically given up. He doesn't think that car will ever see the light of day again.

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Unfortunately, I have recently heard from a contact who is involved in the negotiations, and they have basically given up. He doesn't think that car will ever see the light of day again.

It will, just maybe not for 20 or 30 years. Eventually everything comes out.

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It will, just maybe not for 20 or 30 years. Eventually everything comes out.

I think it will either rust away before then, or go up in flames. Have you seen the pictures of the salvage yard in South Central L.A. where it's stored? That place looks like a tinderbox.

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I had a discussion with a friend recently and said that for the 500K and 540K, plus others, that chrome wire wheels were not standard and were available only by special order. He replied that he thought these cars were ONLY special order, with no standard production models and no real dealership or showroom network. I had to admit I didn't know. I just assumed there were standard catalog versions, with options and special orders available, and the cars could be purchased through authorized agents.

Road & Track said they were "often" purchased by special order. Does anyone know about the distribution process, or have any numbers about production sales vs. special orders?

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I can speak for the authorized agent in the United States which was Mytropia Motors located on Park Ave in NY city. All MB cars could be special ordered, however the lesser models 320 and below tended to be standard catalog versions that Mytropia would have in stock. That stock was not large and I doubt there were ever more than 4 or 5 cars of all models on hand at the dealership at any one time. Mytropia could perform some minor customizations in house. Any and all of the range of models could be custom ordered and i would say probably 1/3 were. As for the 500k/540k models, many were custom ordered. Considering the fact that the cars had to be sent my steamship from Europe in the U.S. this was a lengthy affair. Customers would specify a number of custom touches and order sheets could indicate chromium plated wheel spokes. If you thumb through either Melin Volume I would guess 30% of the 500k/540k cars had them from the factory. That is just off the top of my head from memory.

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I had a discussion with a friend recently and said that for the 500K and 540K, plus others, that chrome wire wheels were not standard and were available only by special order. He replied that he thought these cars were ONLY special order, with no standard production models and no real dealership or showroom network. I had to admit I didn't know. I just assumed there were standard catalog versions, with options and special orders available, and the cars could be purchased through authorized agents.

Road & Track said they were "often" purchased by special order. Does anyone know about the distribution process, or have any numbers about production sales vs. special orders?

Well, there were of course 'standard' configurations (Cab. A-C, Innenlenker, open tourers etc.), but if one could afford it, Sindelfingen would also build one-offs that had no resemblance to any catalog version. The fact that there are relatively few one off bodies speaks for the quality and beauty of the standard body styles. There were also demo cars that were shown on various car shows throughout Europe and I would assume the agencies in larger cities each had at least one Kompressor demo car. I think in Melin II there's a photo of one being on display at a Berlin dealer's showroom.

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A 1933 380 Roadster for sale. Note the difference in the dash from the 500/540k. A 380 is basically the same as a 500k but 25% smaller all around. The biggest external difference is the absence of the pipes coming out of the hood.

Greetings Everyone, New member here. Im a car nut searching for just the right vintage red and the mid 30's benz's have got it!. Like the 500k roadster from this yrs amelia island show and this little beauty.

How do I get the name and code of it? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Prescott.

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What are you going to paint red? The 380 is more of a Burgundy than a red. Mercedes did paint a very few cars red in the 1930s. I've seen the invoice for at least 1 500k Cab A that was painted red top and bottom. For me, I couldn't ever imagine painting a prewar car red. Just not appropriate for my tastes.

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What are you going to paint red? The 380 is more of a Burgundy than a red. Mercedes did paint a very few cars red in the 1930s. I've seen the invoice for at least 1 500k Cab A that was painted red top and bottom. For me, I couldn't ever imagine painting a prewar car red. Just not appropriate for my tastes.

Hi . Well I dont own a mega million dollar prewar Benz. That 380 and the 500K that was at the Amelia island Concourse appear to be the same color, But one could not be certain til it pulls out of the shade and into direct sunlight --when some orange undertone happens, like in the u tube video of the 500k.

Anyway Im really hoping someone can help with the name it was called then. I do drive a classic 25 yr old benz thats burgendy-- Burgendy has blue undertones going on. Any help would be greatly appreciated , Im doubting that the EXACT same shade lived on into the w191 era, which I think is the next big upward collectable possibility for benz enthusiests ( im crazy about most anything from the era when cars-- And trucks had fenders that look like giant frito corn chips). The adulaner--

I mean this chassis has got a nice shade but I dont know if its the same, 1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Images. Photo: 52-Mercedes-220A_Cabrio_DV-07-RMM_01.jpg

I couldn't imagine there being some prewar autos with those curvy fenders NOT being painted --The classic dark red and black two tone paint schemes, or solid burgendy.

The 39 ford/ mercury dark red is nice but I haven't got the chance to see it in the shade and then in the sunlight like the 500k.

Anyway -Any help would be greatly appreciated , Thanks

Edited by Prescott (see edit history)
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AJ, I have to admit I like the flashy red paint jobs of the 80's and 90's on the 540's. Just add white walls and you can't beat them. If memory serves me, one was done in Mass about that time. I saw it at a New England Grand Classic. I thought it looked real nice. I belonged to a very nice couple who have been active in the hobby more than 50 years. Both the car and it's owners were 100 points. Ed

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Ed, way back when I thought every MB should be red too. I've since reformed my ways. Like I said in the previous post a few came that way from the factory. A few might have had the wide whites but most 500k/540k had black walls originally. Even that 540 owned by that nice couple you are referring to had black walls.

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AJ, I have to admit I like the flashy red paint jobs of the 80's and 90's on the 540's. Just add white walls and you can't beat them. If memory serves me, one was done in Mass about that time. I saw it at a New England Grand Classic. I thought it looked real nice. I belonged to a very nice couple who have been active in the hobby more than 50 years. Both the car and it's owners were 100 points. Ed

Greetings Edinmass, Are you saying a classic prewar benz like these was painted with a modern two stage metalflake "plastic System" paintjob and got 100 points with a concourse judge??

That--I could not imagine

IIkes! I just searched and saw a 540!! I didn't know benz made an art deco dream as streamlined as a bugatti atlantic!! This has to be the coolest fixed roof prewar benz ther is.

I see prewar anything in color-not black and white,

I was just wondering--when they digitally coler old photos, Is it subjective to the guy doing the job-- or can the scanner actually tell what colers something was??

I guess when someone lives on such hallowd ground-- even they could put down a current typw paintjob- even though it would be pretty controversial.-- Was it two toned with black or dark graphite!

Edited by Prescott (see edit history)
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Took dad to lunch today in the common garden 560SL (which he liked, despite not being a foreign car guy! :D ) and he produces today's edition of the Hartford Courant, where the Von Krieger car is prominently displayed on the front page, along with a full story on it, which by now all know pretty well. Obviously the CT connection made for a good story, but it actually got 2/3 of the front page!

Jay is shortchanging himself by not having one of these in his collection. The subject of that obvious hole has come up before but I didn't know until you posted that, Skip, that the reason was a perceived connection to the Nazi-era. These were cars, not war machines...

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I don't have a dog in this fight, and this is so obvious to say, but Daimler/Mercedes as a company was certainly part of the Nazi war machine, along with other auto manufacturers and many famous brands today, and Uhlenhaut, Porsche, et al, spent a brief time in prison after the war. It is also claimed that many car manufacturers like VW carried on wartime production with Nazi-provided slave labor. But personally, I think it's not productive to carry such observations further.

In any case, there's still a lot of choice among pre-Nazi and postwar German cars.

The sad fact is, if everybody decided to boycott products from any nation with a past of dastardly deeds (including the U.S.), nobody would buy anything from anybody, and commerce would cease to exist. Want a Ming vase? Those Mingies really knew how to kill people.

Edited by Skip Jordan (see edit history)
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Skip, agree with your comments. I understand MB, like all manufacturers capable of supporting the war effort were comandeered to do so, to clarify, my view is that the passion that went into the design and build of the prewar MB was no different than any other Classic. Any of you guys more knowledgeable on the history of the prewar Classic MBs can correct me, but my understanding is that while likely popular with the Nazi upper echelon, these cars were not made specifically for that group? It seems to me the K cars get linked to the Third Riech a little more closely than reality? I guess that was the observation I was looking to put forth.

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Except for a couple of special cars the MB cars used by the German government were standard production. The 770k were especially targeted at heads of state and a good percentage of those were in some sort of government hands.

However, over the years many MB were associated with higher ups Nazis in an attempt to boost the price. Most of the time it was made up.

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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Fascinating discussion despite the fact that I'm quite late to the party. My only connection to prewar MB's is the fact that my dad worked with Roy Jaffe at Grumman and when I was a kid, Mr. Jaffe was restoring this car, which is apparently a pretty significant example of the breed

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet

I recall seeing it several times and I suspect that it may be the source of my dad's (current) position that his '38 BMW 327 is pretty much just a used car. Cheers!

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Christopher,

The Jaffe car is a great example of an custom built MB with body by Sindelfingen. There were actually 2 of these built, the other having the traditional radiator shell. I believe the original owner Mr Burden was in France and that would explain some of the "French" influences.. There are other unique features on this car besides the body & radiator shell. Additional instruments to the left of the steering wheel being one. After your dad's friend owned it for 50 years it has gone through a number of owners in the last 10.

post-31305-143139138072_thumb.jpg

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I do recall that before the car was restored, my dad showed me a book on MB history that mentioned the other one as the only one extant and him stating the claim was incorrect because he and I had actually sat in this one. I recall Mr. Jaffe as having been a pretty nice guy who had a number of other interesting cars as well. I believe that he used a Buick Apollo as a good weather commuter and also may have had an old Bentley of some sort. Grumman at the time was hotbed of gearhead activity.

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1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet C

Order # 219611

Engine # 130913

Body # 200338

This 540K Special Cabriolet C is a custom-built and one-off design by Sindelfingen, the Daimler factory coachbuilder, expressly commissioned for Mr. William A.M Burden, a great, great grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Mr. Burden was an American financier and automobile enthusiast.

He was Assistant Secretary of Commerce for air 1943-47, US Ambassador to Belgium 1959-61, and Chairman of the New York Museum of Modern Art.

The second owner, a reporter for the Long Island Press drove the car for many years. Upon his death, his widow met with Mr Jaffe and sold him the car in 1963.

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1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet C

Order # 219611

Engine # 130913

Body # 200338

This 540K Special Cabriolet C is a custom-built and one-off design by Sindelfingen, the Daimler factory coachbuilder, expressly commissioned for Mr. William A.M Burden, a great, great grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Mr. Burden was an American financier and automobile enthusiast.

He was Assistant Secretary of Commerce for air 1943-47, US Ambassador to Belgium 1959-61, and Chairman of the New York Museum of Modern Art.

The second owner, a reporter for the Long Island Press drove the car for many years. Upon his death, his widow met with Mr Jaffe and sold him the car in 1963.

Mr. Burden seems so interesting that I looked him up online and came across this 2010 memoir about the family by Wendy Burden, which looks like a witty and fascinating read. It's called "Dead End Gene Pool," and I've got to buy it.

3.10.10: Dead End Gene Pool | New York Social Diary

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