Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Will the Von Krieger Mercedes-Benz 540K Break the Auction Record?

Posted June 20, 2012 9:00 AM by dstrohl

Sale prices of top-end collector cars have risen dramatically over the last year or so as investors continue to look for hard assets in which to sink their money, so all eyes will naturally turn to the Monterey auctions in August expecting to see more multi-million dollar cars cross the block and more auction records break. Gooding and Company will thus enter Monterey this year with a car expected to fetch northward of eight figures: the Von Krieger Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster.

Described in a Gooding press release as "the most significant Mercedes-Benz to ever come to auction," the 540K comes with no pre-auction estimate "due to the car's unprecedented historical significance and provenance." Yet the auction house believes it will set marque records, and David Gooding himself told the New York Times Magazine this week that it wouldn't surprise him if it bid as high as the first-ever 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa that Gooding sold last year for $16.39 million, setting the current record for a car sold at public auction.

One of 26 540K Special Roadsters built to special order before World War II, the high-door, long-tail, exposed-spare car, chassis number 130949, was purchased new in 1936 by the aristocratic Von Krieger family for son Henning to use, but the Baroness Gisela Josephine Von Krieger - "a dead ringer for Marlene Dietrich," as the New York Times Magazine described her; "one of the 10 most fashionable women in the world," according to Gooding - eventually made it her own. Stories abound of how the Baroness removed it from potential destruction in Germany during World War II, first shipping it to Switzerland in 1942 and then to the United States after the end of the war. Though she lived in Manhattan, she kept the 540K at the Homestead Inn in Greenwich, even after she moved back to Switzerland in the early 1960s.

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