Last year, Gooding & Company smashed the record for the highest amount paid for a car at auction when the 1957 Ferrari 250 TR Prototype sold for $16.39 million at Pebble Beach. Now the auction house looks to break that record with an ultra-rare 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K von Krieger Special Roadster.

Called "the most exciting pre-war Mercedes-Benz I've ever known" by David Gooding, the auction company's founder, the unique 540K Special Roadster was originally built for the royal Prussian family in 1936. In 1942 the car was shipped to Switzerland by Baroness Gisela von Krieger to avoid the perils of WWII, after which it followed her to the United States where she drove it around Greenwhich, CT. The Baroness later moved back to Switzerland and left the roadster behind, where it sat in a garage for more than forty years.

The car's current owner has restored it to concours condition, finished in black and chrome with a Cognac leather interior. While Gooding & Company won't release an official estimate, it's confident the car will break the record amount paid for a Mercedes-Benz, set last year at RM's Monterey auction, and quite possibly the overall record set at the aforementioned 2011 Gooding auction at Pebble Beach.

You can read more about the 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K von Krieger Special Roadster in Gooding's press release below, and look out for live results from all the Monterey auctions come August.
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SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Seventy-six years after leaving the factory, one of the world's most extraordinary Mercedes-Benz motor cars will be presented for public sale for the first time at Gooding & Company's prestigious Pebble Beach Auctions on August 18 & 19. With remarkable lineage, exceptional provenance and a rich international history akin to a Hollywood romance, the sensational von Krieger Special Roadster, a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K, will be the most significant Mercedes-Benz to ever come to auction when it crosses Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach stage later this summer.

"As one of Mercedes-Benz' ultra-rare 540 K Special Roadsters, the von Krieger Special Roadster is already a special car, yet it ranks superior to other examples because of its unrivalled condition, history and provenance," says David Gooding, President and founder of Gooding & Company. "Its complete restoration, beautiful story and thoroughly documented history make it absolutely extraordinary and perhaps the finest 540 K Special Roadster in existence. It is the most exciting pre-war Mercedes-Benz I've ever known."

The von Krieger Special Roadster and its Beautiful Baroness

The glamorous Special Roadster was purchased new in 1936 by an aristocratic Prussian family who owned some of the finest automobiles of the era. The Special Roadster was initially enjoyed by the von Krieger's son, Henning, before his sister, Gisela, assumed the driver's seat for her own use. A natural pairing for the stunning Hermann Ahrens-designed Special Roadster, Baroness von Krieger was widely recognized for her elegant style, and was aptly named one of the ten most fashionable women in the world. Among the very elite of international society, the beautiful Baroness enjoyed a privileged life for many years, residing at the Ritz and Hotel Le Meurice in Paris, Hotel Martinez in Cannes, and frequenting the best European destinations and social events, including the coronation of King George VI. Suitors adored and admired her, and in one account a devastated gentleman jumped out of a plane to his death after his proposal of marriage was declined.

Protected from War, the Car that Connected a Family

Unlike many supercharged Mercedes-Benz, which were often stolen or lost during the war, the von Krieger's Special Roadster remained an important possession of the family, carefully stored and accounted for even while they lived outside of Germany avoiding Third Reich orders. In 1942, at the height of the war, Baroness Gisela shipped the car to Switzerland. With her beloved Special Roadster as a comforting reminder of her carefree past, she continued traveling on her own for several years throughout Europe seeking sanctuary from the war. After the war ended and the family reunited, Henning and Gisela moved to New York, shipping the Special Roadster on the Queen Elizabeth, in an effort to start a new life. To escape the city's heat, Baroness von Krieger summered at the Homestead Inn in Greenwich, where she kept her precious Special Roadster.

An Undisturbed Time Capsule Discovered

Following the death of her brother and mother, Baroness Gisela returned to Switzerland where she lived as a recluse until her passing in 1989. Still among her impressive possessions was the Mercedes-Benz Special Roadster, tucked away in a Greenwich garage for the better part of four decades. The 540 Kremained an undisturbed time capsule, with such items as the Baroness's driving maps, lipstick-stained cigarette butts and silk gloves intact. After the estate was settled, the Special Roadster was sold to its current owner, who has generously cared for the car ever since.

Hermann Ahrens-Designed Elegance

The distinguished, high-door, long-tail Roadster is arguably the most dashing and elegant of the marque's coveted models. Under the guidance of the car's current owner, the Special Roadster was recently restored to its original grandeur by Chris Charlton, whose restorations have won Best of Show at Pebble Beach. Just as it was upon leaving the factory in 1936, the Special Roadster is finished in black and chrome over a rich, Cognac-colored leather interior and remains distinctively marked by the von Krieger family crest, hand-painted on the upper portion ofthe driver's door.

While Gooding & Company has not placed an estimate on this extraordinary Mercedes-Benz due to the car's unprecedented historical significance and provenance, the auction house is confident that this rare and exquisite car will realize a world record for the marque.

Gooding & Company's 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 & 19 at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, located at the corner of Portola Road and Stevenson Drive. Preview days will start on Wednesday, August 15 continuing through Sunday, August 19. The auctions will commence at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach Auctions catalogues are available for $100 and admit two to the viewing and the auctions. General admission tickets to the viewing and auctions may be purchased on site for $40. Auctions are broadcast live from Gooding & Company's website. Bidder registration forms, press credentials and additional auction information are also available on http://www.goodingco.com or by calling (310) 899-1960. For additional vehicle information and up-to-the-minute results, follow Gooding & Company on Facebook and Twitter @GoodingCompany.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      Visnick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pre war cars are just so much prettier than modern cars. Anyone who disagrees should see a Delage D8 120 Aerosport Coupe in person
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      At least this car LOOKS like it should go for a few million.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Regardless of its faults, this car is jus drop dead gorgeous. It's design is simply beautiful and if I had one, a million 80-yr old women who used to be drop dead gorgeous would be all up in my pants. Granted, I don't want the later, but I'd still pimp around town in this like a boss. It's b cool to pull up to ppl and say "yea this bad boy is worth as much as 50 of your houses, maybe more!"
      Shiwangi Peswani
      • 2 Years Ago
      Awesome looking car..must say and Mercedes Benz Roadster is something which will keep on breaking the records :)
        rtkewley
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Shiwangi Peswani
        At this point, it's not really a car. It's just a talisman for rich guys to signify to other rich guys just how rich they are...
          lol_ur_dumb
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rtkewley
          Yeah, because rich guys can never be car guys.
      Carbon Fibre
      • 2 Years Ago
      Jesus, it almost looks like there will never be a shortage of classics no matter how pebbles a year we go through. Where do they get these cars?
      Johnny Ng
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is ugly, slow and unreliable and completely overpriced. Cars from this era should be destroyed as they have zero driving value and are so fuel inefficient and pollute our world. This thing can barely crack 60 mph I would think. Terrible engineering. And look how nobody paid attention to aerodynamics. Terrible ugly car. I would rather have a Lexus LF-A which costs less, outhandles and outperforms this and has much more kickass styling than this thing.
        lol_ur_dumb
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Johnny Ng
        Lol, nice trolling attempt. Too bad you failed.
        IBx27
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Johnny Ng
        And that's why your last name doesn't have any vowels.
          Johnny Ng
          • 2 Years Ago
          @IBx27
          My last name is Vietnamese. Do some research before insulting me.
        Moje
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Johnny Ng
        You are such an ignorant. This is a great piece of history. For your info, since you obviously don't know, this car has 5 liter engine, 180 hp, and top speed of over 105 mph (170 km/h). Which was extraordinary for 1936. Remind me please, how powerful were 1936 Lexuses? Also by saying we should destroy old cars, is as saying we should destroy monuments and museums. Stop trolling and learn something, you ignorant troll.
        Differentberries
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Johnny Ng
        Soooo, you're a materialistic retard with no sense of class?
        Yeah yeah
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Johnny Ng
        Odd, my first reaction was just the opposite: "Now there's a nice looking car! I can see why it would go for big bucks."
          Johnny Ng
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Yeah yeah
          Buddy it is overpriced. Big time.
          Yeah yeah
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Yeah yeah
          Of course. But it's price isn't due to it's value as a mode of transportation. It's value is due to it's rarity. It's like saying the famous old airmail stamp with the upside down plane is overpriced at the $1M+ or whatever it's worth. After all, it's only a 24 cent stamp. To collectors with lots of money, both are worth a fortune, even if you and I would never spend that much.
      diffrunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder how many people fall into this "filthy rich, money to burn" class.
      fivespeeed
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you have $16m, and this is what you want, great, but they are obviously selling the social history lesson, not the car. To my detriment, I read that entire article, and I don't think I could tell you the displacement of the engine. The only reason you would ever pay more for a previous owner is to name drop and feed your own arrogance.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      bleexeo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd buy that for a dollar!
      Lab Rat
      • 2 Years Ago
      Because Hitlermobile.
      Nathan
      • 2 Years Ago
      How is the 1957 Ferrari 250 TR the record when recently the Stirling Moss 250 gto sold for $35 million. http://www.autoblog.com/2012/06/02/1962-ferrari-250-gto-made-for-stirling-moss-becomes-worlds-most/ This Mercedes is not going to break $35 million.
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