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Who knew of Mercedes’ 540K Stromlinienwagen?

Who knew of Mercedes’ 540K Stromlinienwagen?

We were aware of something special Mercedes was to bring over to Pebble Beach this year. What exactly has been made public earlier this week – it’s a one-off 540K Streamliner – or Stromlinienwagen - of 1938-vintage. Thanks to its slippery shape, hammered from lightweight metals and born from windtunnel testing, plus with a supercharged eight cylinder it was supposedly quick enough to win the Berlin-Rome race of 1938. But that never happened, and the car languished for many decades.

Mercedes-Benz Classic can only be applauded to take on this job. The company says the exhaustive restoration was carried out using only techniques of the period to give the spectacular car the new lease of life its should have had much earlier. But how much of the original car was there before work started? The streamliner is said to have been owned by Dunlop in its early life, while later being used by the United States Army. Next it supposedly returned to Dunlop and to Mercedes-Benz once more. That was in 1948, when the aluminum body was scrapped. Supposedly only the chassis and running gear were kept. Don’t get us wrong, we love Mercedes for doing this. But how come we have never seen any other old pictures than the ones spread around now?

(picture courtesy Mercedes-Benz) 


#7 2014-08-13 18:12
It's designed by Paul Jaray who also did work for BMW, Maybach, Auto Union, Tatra and others at the same period. The BMW is in the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Jaray also designed Zeppelins used in during and after First World War.
#6 2014-08-13 15:47
My apologies, it was the 1937 BMW Mille Miglia coupe I had in mind, although I'm sure I have seen a very similar Veritas coupe?
#5 2014-08-13 15:40
I'd have to say there's nothing very "cutting edge" here for 1938, Tatra were building 'streamlined' production cars in the early Thirties and Veritas were building successful BMW-based racing cars too? Even Peugeot were having a go with the ugly 402??

I'd doubt there is very much of the original running gear left at all, but that will never trouble the Pebble Beach people??
#4 2014-08-13 11:52
Mercedes Benz never stopped pushing for more innovative and technical advances.Hybrid looks nothwithstandin g, this was real post-conflict design thinking. Interesting to note that curved glass was used, but that windscreen wiper technology had not yet progressed enough to clean round the curves.That was to happen only in the 1950's.
#3 2014-08-13 06:39
I have a magazine clipping from 1938 showing the car 3/4 rear view on a test track.

The restoration team was VERY happy with it after I forwarded this clipping to them!

If you see this picture again, you know the source.
#2 2014-08-13 02:21
I have seen pics of this car before. Not exactly pretty.

Honestly, I would have made it into a Cab A or something that looks less like a toaster.
#1 2014-08-13 00:55
540K or un-supercharged 540? According to some sources this car originally did not have a compressor.

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