For sheer beauty combined with outstanding performance, nothing compares with the Mercedes-Benz 500K and 540K supercars of the 1930s. Chief among these, certainly, is the 540K Special Roadster. This car was originally built as a 540K Cabriolet B. The current owner purchased it from a collector and broker of high-quality European cars in Los Angeles. As purchased, the car was in considerable disrepair, particularly the body, which needed to be rebuilt. As the Cabriolet B shared the chassis, drivetrain, lights, wire wheels and instruments of the Special Roadster, the new owner decided to rebody it as in that manner.
For this, he selected Cass Nawrocki of Moose Lake, Minnesota, who is well-known for outstanding coachwork and metalworking. Nawrocki had completely rebodied an original 540K Special Roadster and had patterns and jigs to create another body. He also had the rusted original fenders, doors and body parts from that rebodied Special Roadster to use for reference.
The new body was then taken to Jim Friswold, the well-known Mercedes restorer in Portland, Oregon. Friswold had completed a superb Cabriolet A that had scored 100 points at Pebble Beach. No expense was spared in recreating this masterpiece, which took another three years. On its first time out, the car was rewarded with Best of Show at the Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance in Portland, Oregon. During the past year, it won the Most Glamorous Car award at the Niello Concours at Serrano in El Dorado Hills, California.
Painted in a metallic wine red that replicates Mercedes’ color of the period, this car is nothing less than stunning. Its condition, of course, is virtually new. Thus all brightwork is of the highest quality, as is the luscious tan leather interior. A brown canvas top snaps into place, like an original, should bad weather force the occupants to take cover. The foregoing list of awards speaks to the overall quality.
Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadsters seldom appear on the market in any form. This car thus represents a very special opportunity. The car will be offered on Saturday, July 18, 2015 by Auctions America’s California Sale.