1937 Mercedes-Benz Pre-War


  • Year of manufacture 
  • Car type 
    Convertible / Roadster
  • Lot number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Number of seats 
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
  • Drivetrain 
  • Fuel type 


German title
Chassis number 154072
Engine number 154072
Body number 837604
Order number 257308 Beautifully restored
One of the most iconic Mercedes
Matching numbers

The Mercedes 540 K, presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1936, derived from two models that effectively served as its forerunners: the 380 and the 500 K. The 380, unveiled in 1933, was created by the gifted engineer Hans Nibel, a man responsible for several superb racing cars. This new Mercedes boasted an advanced suspension system, with triangular wishbones to the front and swing-axles at the rear, all supported by coil springs. This made it extremely safe and comfortable to drive, even on poor surfaces - a feat warmly saluted by the press at the time.
The 380 had an eight-cylinder engine with a supercharger as option, but was slightly lacking in power when compared to the famous S and SS it was meant to replace. So, in 1934, Mercedes launched the sturdier 500 K, whose eight-cylinder in-line engine came with a clutch-operated supercharger: pushing the accelerator to the floor engaged a train of gears that drove the booster and fuel enrichment, and enabled the driver to command sudden bursts of power. The same system was used two years later on the even more powerful 540 K, whose 5.4-litre engine delivered 180hp at 3,400rpm when the compressor was engaged - enabling this enormous car with its four-speed gearbox to top a remarkable 170 km/h, with the comfort and safety that were already Mercedes hallmarks. The car's finish was suitably magnificent. Various body styles were available - Cabriolet, Roadster, Coupé and, most impressive of all, the Spezial Roadster. As the most prestigious embodiment of the Golden Age of classic car-making, the 540 K is extremely rare: barely more than 400 were produced (between 1936-39).

This Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet B was ordered by the British Mercedes importer and was the order number (order number) 257308.
According to the Mercedes factory archives it was ordered for an "exhibition", the 1937 London Motor Show. It was displayed on the Mercedes stand, fitted with a factory Sindelfingen body, painted dark brown with a dark red leather interior.
It arrived at the London docks on October 1st, 1937. It appears to have found a new owner very soon after the London motor show, a certain Sir Leonard Lyle. It was then registered under number JT8180. Sir Lyle was a very successful businessman who came from a shipping family who had diversified into sugar refining in the 1920s. He then founded the famous company Tate&Lyle in 1921. Member of the Parliament in the 1920's Baron Leonard Lyle was also an athlete as he participated in the 1921, 1922 and 1923 Wimbledon Championships, became the Chairman of the Professional Golfers association and was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. This 540K Cabriolet was subsenquently sold by Sir Lyle but we don't when exactly. Years later, this 540K surfaced in Spain where it was for sale in the late 2000s. A very high quality restoration was carried out, probably by a German restorer.
Splendidly finished in black with red leather interior this magnificent 540K Cabriolet B with a Sindelfingen body is a rare opportunity to acquire one of the most beautiful pre-war designs.