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540 K Tourenwagen
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  Mercedes-Benz 540 K Tourenwagen

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Country of origin:Germany
Produced from:1937 - 1939
Numbers built:319 (all 540 Ks)
Internal name:W29
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 23, 2008
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe 500 K was ready in time for the 1934 Berlin Motorshow and it was in the German capital that the lavish Mercedes-Benz found a fair share of customers. Many of the senior government officials used the eight cylinder during parades, but it was also very popular with the rich and famous. It still was by no means a sportscar as the 160 bhp available needed to move a car that weighed in excess of 2000 kg, regardless of the body fitted. It took nearly 20 seconds for the Teutonic beast to reach 60 mph and considering that, the top speed of 100 mph does not sound too bad.

Production of the 500 K lasted over two years and then it was replaced by the larger engined 540 K, which was first shown during the Paris Salon in the fall of 1936. Again the type number immediately gave away the car's displacement figure. The 400 cc gain was good for an additional 15 hp without and 20 hp with the Supercharger engaged. Not much changed to the line-up of open and closed body styles available, although an armoured version did become available, clearly anticipating the War. Right before WWII a second evolution was introduced with a 5.8 litre engine, but only handful of these 580 Ks were constructed.

Although the 500 K and 540 K were more popular than their predecessor only 342 and 319 respectively were constructed during the six years they were in production. Despite being very heavy to drive and rather slow, the eight cylinder cruisers are very highly regarded today. Especially in the concours d'elegance scene, where of course the show outweighs the go. Considered the quintessential 1930s production Mercedes-Benz, the 500 K and 540 K are very expensive and especially a Spezial Roadster will today easily command seven- or even eight-figure prices at auction.

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  Article Image gallery (5) ? Specifications