Missing Coupe: Mercedes-Benz 540 K Coupe Goes To Auction

Missing Coupe - Mercedes Benz 540 K
Missing Coupe - Mercedes Benz 540 K - Images RM Sotheby's

Missing Coupe: A fascinating 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Coupe which has remained in the same family’s ownership since 1969 has sold for Sold For $995,000.

The classic Mercedes-Benz was ordered new by a company that still exists to this very day, Brabender GmbH in Duisburg, Germany over eighty years previously in 1937. Delivered as a Cabriolet, the 540 K was given a coupe roof by coachbuilder Hebmüller; this is believed to be the only 540 K ever converted by the German coachbuilder.

Unique coachwork

Evident from a first look at the car, it wears desirable and unique coachwork, with a set-back radiator that adds to its sleek design. The 540 K remained in Europe for several decades, eventually appearing at auction in Denver in 1969, from which the current owner’s father purchased the Mercedes-Benz and drove it home to Nebraska, where it has remained ever since.

The car’s long-term owner enjoyed taking it out for dinner and to the local lake in the summertime over the next few years. It last left the garage in the early 1970s to compete in a local car show, where it shockingly lost Best of Show to a freshly restored John Deere tractor. Distraught by the upset, the owner vowed never to show the car again and parked it in his two-car garage for the next forty-some years.

Missing Coupe - Mercedes Benz 540 K
Missing Coupe – Mercedes Benz 540 K – Images RM Sotheby’s

Up until now, the vintage Mercedes whereabouts had been unknown and the 540 K is now available for the first time since 1969 and is offered in Arizona retaining its original chassis and drivetrain, complete with covered rear spare, and chrome wire wheels.

The car has been recommissioned by RM Auto Restoration and is in running and driving order. One of the most exciting and interesting garage-finds in recent memory, the 540 K is the ideal candidate for a full restoration and modern Concours debut (Est. $1,000,000 – $1,500,000).

Gord Duff, Global Head of Auctions, RM Sotheby’s:
“It’s always exciting when we can bring a car with such a great story and family ownership fresh to the market.

“We’ve had the opportunity to sell several significant examples of the 540 K at auction over the years, including at Arizona, but this car must be the most interesting. The 540 K Coupe is amazing to look at, and the fact that it is a highly significant model that has been hiding in a family garage for the last 50 years makes it that much more intriguing. Given it hasn’t been shown in decades, it presents a vast amount of collector car event opportunities for its new owner.”

Additional significant Mercedes-Benz icons set for RM Sotheby’s Arizona stage include a pair of 300 SLs:

  • A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, chassis no. 198.040.5500594, a spectacular example in Silver Grey over deep blue leather, beautifully restored by marque specialists in 2013 and retaining its original matching-numbers engine. The car is equipped with highly desirable Rudge wheels and belly pans and is offered with both leather and plaid cloth interiors, alongside fitted luggage (Est. $1,150,000 – $1,300,000)
  • Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing
    1955-Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing
  • A highly original 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, chassis no. 198.042.7500555, offered from just private two owners from new, including an incredible 50 years with the original family. Presented in its gorgeous original Strawberry Red Metallic colour over a tan leather interior, the roadster is complete with its original hardtop, books, tool kit, jack, and shows just 25,600 original miles (Est. $950,000 – $1,150,000)

Other standout lots can be seen here.

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