The Missing Coupe: Mercedes-Benz 540 K Offered from 50 Years of Family Ownership Set for RM Sotheby’s Arizona Sale

191212 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Coupe (Darin Schnabel © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s) [678]



  • RM Sotheby’s releases latest star cars for 2020 Arizona sale, led by trio of iconic Mercedes-Benz models
  • Fascinating Mercedes-Benz 540 K Coupe stored in family two-car garage for the last 50 years leads the group
  • Joined by stunningly restored 300 SL Gullwing and highly original Roadster pair
  • Updated list of entries and additional information on the Arizona auction available at

BLENHEIM, ONTARIO, CANADA – December 12, 2019 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) –  RM Sotheby’s has announced additional featured entries for the auction house’s 21st annual Arizona sale, set for 16-17 January at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. The latest list of cars is led by a fascinating 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Coupe, chassis no. 154143, which has remained in the same family’s care since 1969.

Ordered new in 1937 by Brabender GmbH in Duisburg, Germany – a company that still exists today – the 540 K was delivered as a Cabriolet A with the striking coupe roof added in period by coachbuilder Hebmüller. It is believed to be the only such 540 K converted by the German coachbuilder. 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. With its whereabouts having been largely unknown, 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.

191212 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Coupe (Darin Schnabel © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s) [2]
1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Coupe
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).

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

191212 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (Jasen Delgado © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

191212 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (Robin Adams © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

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);
  • 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 color over a tan leather interior, the roadster is complete with its original hard top, books, tool kit, jack, and shows just 25,600 original miles (Est. $950,000 – $1,150,000).

A long-established event, kicking off the collector car auction calendar each year, RM Sotheby’s 2020 Arizona sale is set to present more than 150 blue-chip motor cars spanning the spectrum of the market alongside a selection of memorabilia, hand-picked by the company’s expert team of nearly 30 car specialists.

The complete Arizona digital catalogue will be available next week. For more information on RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction, please visit Interesting bidders are invited to speak with a car specialist by calling RM Sotheby’s Blenheim Headquarters at +1 519 352 4575.



About RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s is the world’s largest collector car auction house by total sales. With 40 years of proven results in the collector car industry, RM’s vertically integrated range of services, from auctions and private sales to estate planning and financial services, coupled with an expert team of car specialists and an international footprint, provide an unsurpassed level of service to the global collector car market. RM Sotheby’s is currently responsible for six of the top ten most valuable motor cars ever sold at auction. In February 2015, RM formed a strategic partnership with Sotheby’s, uniting the two companies for the full calendar of future automobile auctions. For further information, visit

Source: RM Sotheby’s

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