The Auto-motor-und-sport German car magazine went on the highway for a top speed test with a 1938 restored Mercedes-Benz 540K Stromlinienwagen.
Mercedes-Benz Classic Center restored a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Stromlinienwagen. The restoration of the Mercedes-Benz 540K Stromlinienwagen lasted over 2 years. The original car was made by Daimler-Benz in 1938 for the planned race Berlin-Rome.
In 2011, employees from Mercedes Classic discovered the frame, the rear axle and some components of the 540K in a field near the Unterturkheim factory. Two and a half years were spent on the restoration of the Mercedes-Benz 540K Stromlinienwagen and some components must have been rebuilt.
Michael Bock, director Mercedes-Benz Classic and Customer Center declared: “This is our mission exactly, to fascinate, to show our qualification and our innovation skills”.
The race Berlin-Rome should take place in 1938, but in the end, it never started due to the fact that Germany annexed Czechoslovakia and one year later, in 1939, the Second World War brought black clouds over Europe.
An important part of the Berlin-Rome race should have taken place on the new German autobahn from Berlin to Munchen: a full throttle 535 km in which cars could collect points. The point system used a predetermined average time as reference. If, for example, a car reached the final line one minute earlier, it got one point.
The restored car uses the original chassis and the 8-inline engine supercharged with a compressor. But the body was completely rebuilt of aluminium, which helped reducing the kerbweight by 400 kg from 2.5 tons. Also the final drive was made longer to achieve a higher maximum speed: from 2.9:1 to 3.08.
The Cw-value of the restored Mercedes 540K Stromlinienwagen is 0.36, a good value even for the present. In the ’30s, the Cw-value was not measured, but the Mercedes-Benz engineers registered the value for the restored car on a test done in the wind tunnel in Unterturkheim. By comparison, the normal 540K Coupe has a Cx value of 0.66.
Ralph Hettich, project technics leader at Mercedes-Benz Classic, said: “We have already been driving with the chassis on the test track in Untertuerkheim and achieved speeds well over 100 km/h (over 60 mph). But today we are going for the top speed.”
By the help of the compressor, the car could reach a maximum speed of 185 km/h. The 5.4 liter 8 in-line engine has a maximum output of 185 HP.
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