The Mercedes Benz 540K Roadster came onto the market in 1936, and only a few were made after 1940.
These cars were available as a cabriolet, coupe or limo, powered by a 329 cub in twin carb straight 8 engine putting out 115hp, or 180hp with the kompressor [supercharger] manually engaged.
The “K” is to confirm engine is fitted with the kompressor. Top speed was 110mph with the kompressor engaged. I understand there was a limit on how long the kompressor could be engaged at any one time, but would engage automatically if the accelerator pushed right to the floor.
The ‘540K was built onto a modified lighter but stronger version ‘500 chassis.
Sales were good with many buyers having their own input into the body work. As this car became popular with the Nazi chiefs a longer chassis was made to accept a 6 seater convertible saloon.
Armour plating and glass was added which increased its weight considerably reducing top speed to not much more than 85mph with the kompressor going full noise.
The kompressor was a Roots, and there was a choice of either 4 speed or 5 speed gearboxes with syncromesh on all gears except 1st.
This video is a mix of racing filmed around the 1920’s going by the cars, some original Mercedes advertizing and a close look at the cabriolet car.
All round a very interesting and informative video to watch, and although the speech is in German it isn’t overly difficult to understand some of the dialog.
The Mercedes Benz 540K is a fine looking machine and became popular as a fibreglass, and in some cases steel body, kit car, as did the Jaguar SS100. The better kit car manufacturers really stretched themselves in producing exact replicas of many of the body fittings etc and selling as new old parts that are hard to tell apart from the originals.
The 540 Roadster is a popular kit car, some of the full size kits are truly remarkable.