Fit for a king, a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster won the ultimate concours honors: 2023 PEBBLE BEACH: BEST OF SHOW!
The winning 540 K Special Roadster was originally ordered in May 1937 for Mohammed Zahir Shah, King of Afghanistan, and delivered in September of the same year. The King opted for a Special Roadster with a Sindelfingen body, a highly elegant sculpture exuding performance and speed. It is characterized by the high side line of the doors, curved body contours with a recessed radiator and a flowing rear end with concealed spare wheel. After only five changes of ownership in seven decades, the current owner purchased the vehicle at auction during the Pebble Beach Automotive Week in 2022, for $9.9 million.
This victory is the tenth “Best of Show” title for a Mercedes-Benz vehicle since the start of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1950. This means that Mercedes-Benz is now the most successful brand in the history of this crowning event in the classic car calendar. It prevailed over a field of Best of the Best classics, winning 2023 PEBBLE BEACH: BEST OF SHOW!“The 540 K Special Roadster winning 2023 PEBBLE BEACH: BEST OF SHOW! at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance crowns the immense commitment of RM Auto Restoration and Mercedes-Benz Heritage to the restoration of this outstanding vehicle. We are proud to have contributed to this success story with the unique expertise of our Classic Center and the archives. The intensive and good cooperation with RM Auto Restoration during the past months has made this success possible”, said Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Heritage
This 540 K Special Roadster was ordered by the Afghan royal court in 1937, and delivered in the autumn of that year. Further history: in the mid-1940s, the French-educated monarch brought the vehicle to the Afghan embassy in Paris. The supercharged sports car arrived in Great Britain in 1950 as a gift for his son-in-law, and was sold to a US collector in 1953. Throughout its long and varied history, the 540 K Special Roadster has always been maintained and preserved in authentic condition. To date, the vehicle has only very few miles on the clock.The current owner of the 2023 PEBBLE BEACH: BEST OF SHOW! vehicle is Jim Patterson. The winners of the “Best of Show” at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2015 (Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Worblaufen Cabriolet, built in 1924) and 2010 (Delage D8 S de Villars Roadster, built in 1933) also come from his collection. The most recent Mercedes-Benz automobiles as winners of the “Best of Show” award were Arturo and Deborah Keller’s Mercedes-Benz 540 K Autobahnkurier in 2021 and Bruce McCaw’s Barker-bodied Mercedes-Benz Type S Touring Car in 2017.A total of 760 chassis for 500 K and 540 K models of the W-29 Series were produced at the Untertürkheim plant between February 1934 and November 1939. 354 had the five-liter engine and 406 the 5.4-liter engine used from 1936 onwards. Nine body variants were available; they were completed at the Sindelfingen plant’s special vehicle workshop. About 60 units of the variants with roadster bodywork were produced.
For more information about Mercedes-Benz Classic, please visit https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/classic/