The Mercedes-Benz 540 K stood out as one of the most prestigious and, to many, the most aesthetically pleasing European cars of the interwar period. With its supercharged eight-cylinder engine generating 180 horsepower when the blower was engaged, coupled with its lightweight construction and striking beauty, it claimed supremacy on German roads, showcasing the remarkable skills of its visionary engineers. Its exclusivity was further underscored by the breathtaking cost of all its coachbuilt variations. Only 419 chassis were manufactured, the majority featuring one of the eleven factory body styles crafted by the renowned Sindelfingen Werk.
Among the limited editions, the second-generation Cabriolet A, comprising just thirty-two examples, epitomized beauty. Distinguished by fuller front fenders gracefully flowing towards a rounded tail housing dual spare tires, this design showcased the powerful supercharged engine and its external exhausts. A notable feature, colloquially known as the “set-back radiator” or officially termed “chassis with setback motor,” positioned the radiator and entire drivetrain 185 mm farther back on the chassis than standard. This unique arrangement gave the car a distinct character, featuring a longer, more aggressive front end reminiscent of the legendary Spezialroadster.
In its entirety, this model stands as a paragon of elegant and graceful German coachwork from its era, highly coveted by enthusiasts today. The surviving examples are cherished, and those with truly distinctive histories, absent from the collector’s world for decades, are exceptionally rare.