A Century of Cars: 51. Solido 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K
Think back to the dynamic sports cars of
the early thirties and you’re likely to conjure up an image of
elegant roadsters or convertibles with bonnets stretching into the
distance; plus powerful six or eight-cylinder engines eating up the
Enter the Mercedes-Benz 540 K at the Paris Motor Show of 1936: at last, the icing on the cake for the golden era of pre-War supercharged Mercedes-Benz sports cars. The new 5.4-litre 540 K took the market by force, helped by the range of flamboyant body styles (though considered by some to be vulgar!). Each was given its own "personality", with the Sindelfingen staff tailoring the car's body and interior to customers' individual desires. It was rare for customers to look elsewhere for their coachwork and, with the vast range of bodies on offer at Sindelfingen, it’s hardly surprising. There were two-,2+2, three- and four-seater cabriolets, "classic" two- or four-seater coupés, streamlined coupés, combination coupés with two interchangeable roofs, two- and four-door saloons, two-door touring cars, a state-of-the-art and aerodynamically efficient motorway cruiser and a fastback sports saloon with as a matter of curiosity - the first-ever curved side windows.
A masterpiece of design, the world-renowned 540 K two-seater special roadster boasted an inimitable synthesis of power and elegance. It embodied the spirit of the time and represented the final stylistic element in the 540 K jigsaw