1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Streamliner

---- Specifications ----
Price -- Production --
Engine 5.4 liter inline-8 Weight --
Aspiration supercharger Torque --
HP 180 hp HP/Weight --
HP/Liter 33.3 hp per liter 1/4 mile --
0-62 mph -- Top Speed --

(from Daimler Press Release) Unique one-off model takes center stage at Pebble Beach: Unique one-off model takes center stage at Pebble Beach: the 540 K Streamliner from Mercedes-Benz Classic

Public premiere for this trendsetting one-of-a-kind model dating from 1938

Mercedes-Benz Classic will showcase the 540 K Streamliner at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance. Following extensive restoration and reconstruction, this extraordinary vehicle dating from 1938 will celebrate its international public premiere on the west coast of America. The 540 K will also participate in the Tour d’Elégance on Thursday 14 August, and exhibited at the Concours d’Elégance on Sunday 17 August.

"The 540 K Streamliner represents the embodiment of perfection in its purest form", says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic and Customer Center. "The integrity of its overall design as well as numerous technical details do not only epitomise the innovative power of the Mercedes-Benz brand but also its expertise in the development of one-off vehicles to meet the very highest expectations in terms of design, comfort and customer benefit."

This exceptional vehicle was built with a powerful supercharged engine for high-speed, long distance motoring. Thanks to its lightweight aluminium bodyshell developed in the wind tunnel, the 540 K Streamliner is an object lesson in efficiency for its size class. In addition to its lightweight construction and sophisticated aerodynamics, it is the car's outstanding exterior and interior design, elegant appointments and spaciousness that make the 540 K Streamliner such a very special vehicle.

The Mercedes-Benz 540 K streamlined saloon was developed in 1937/38 in the special vehicle production unit at the company's Sindelfingen plant in the style of a Gran Turismo, although the conventions of the 1930s meant that the designers described this body shape as a streamlined saloon, or quite simply 'Streamliner.' Based on a chassis from the standard-production 540 K model, a powerful supercharged engine would accelerate rapidly for sustained high-speed travel over long distances. Thanks to its lightweight aluminium bodyshell, developed in the wind tunnel, this unique vehicle is an object lesson in efficiency for its performance category. In addition to its lightweight construction and sophisticated aerodynamics, the car's outstanding exterior and interior design, elegant appointments and spaciousness distinguish the 540 K Streamliner as a very special vehicle. It was originally designed to take part in the long-distance Berlin-Rome race, planned for the autumn of 1938. This was initially postponed until 1939 and then ultimately cancelled completely due to the outbreak of the Second World War. From mid-1938 onwards, the streamlined model was used by the German branch of tire manufacturer Dunlop for the relentless everyday testing of high-speed tyres for fast cars. Mothballed after the war, 2014 sees it thrust into the limelight once more following a full restoration to its original condition.

As part of a complex and time-consuming project, Mercedes-Benz Classic has restored and rebuilt the vehicle to its absolute original condition, and has done so using only the technical skills, methods and materials of the period from which the vehicle originates. The search for information in the archives produced important documentary evidence, with the end result culminating in a spectacular one-off vehicle. The Streamliner thus stands today as it was when first seen in 1938: a herald of the future, whose stunning bodyshell makes high driving speeds and exceptional performance seem perfectly credible, even before it moves an inch.

Technical data
Year of construction: 1938
Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 5401 cubic centimetres
Output: 85 kW (115 hp), with supercharger 132 kW (180 hp)
Top speed: 185 km/h