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Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938

Stuttgart. – Mercedes-Benz Classic presents the Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner to the general public – an exceptional vehicle that never ceases to amaze even the experts. Some 75 years after it was built, in 1938, the vehicle is back on the road. This is a unique vehicle, created at the time with the potential to compete in the Berlin-Rome long-distance race, which was first of all postponed to 1939 and then cancelled completely due to the outbreak of the Second World War. From mid-1938 onwards, the streamliner was used by the German branch of tyre manufacturer Dunlop for the relentless everyday testing of high-speed tyres for fast cars. Mothballed after the war, following full restoration to its original condition it is now about to be thrust into the limelight once more.

“The 540 K Streamliner is a prime example of the innovative automotive vehicle design of the 1930s, combining as it does exceptional efficiency with sophisticated, perfect aesthetics. Its emotionally appealing design idiom radiates luxury and glamour”, says Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design at Daimler AG. “As such this extraordinary vehicle provides the ideal link to vehicle design as we understand it today, emotionally appealing as well as intelligent, and synonymous with sophisticated luxury.”

To which Dr Teddy Woll, head of the Aerodynamics/Wind Tunnels department at Daimler AG, adds: “Tremendous advances were made in aerodynamics during the 1920s, and the influence of this thinking was felt more and more in vehicle development during the 1930s. The 540 K Streamliner of 1938 embodies the prevalent understanding of aerodynamics at that time in impressive style.”

The 540 K Streamliner was developed in the years 1937/38 in the special vehicle production department of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant, under the direction of Hermann Ahrens. From today’s perspective the vehicle would be described as a Gran Turismo styled coupé, although the conventions of the 1930s meant that the designers depicted this body shape as a streamlined saloon, or quite simply ‘Streamliner’. The perfection of the design as a whole and of numerous individual technical details evidenced by this trailblazing vehicle exemplifies not only the innovative strength of the Mercedes-Benz brand, but also its expertise in the development of one-off models that set a true benchmark in design, comfort, quality and customer benefit.
This special vehicle, with its powerful supercharged engine, is designed to accelerate rapidly to a high speed and then, thanks to the aerodynamic lines developed in the wind tunnel, to maintain that speed. The whole is then enveloped in a sublime, streamlined body made of lightweight aluminium. This, combined with its powerful powertrain system, makes the 540 K a truly unique vehicle.

Achieving even higher cruising speeds than the 140 to 145 km/h usually associated with a 540 K demanded numerous detailed measures. Some of the most important of these involved the car’s aerodynamics: a 540 K in the standard version, with a coupé body, achieved a Cd figure of around 0.57 – too much for higher cruising speeds. For this, a more streamlined body with an considerably improved Cd figure was required. The 540 K Streamliner met the criterion, as wind tunnel measurements undertaken by Mercedes-Benz Classic in May 2014 go to prove: it achieves the exquisite figure of Cd = 0.36. The results are cruising speeds of 165 to 170 km/h and with supercharger a top speed of 185 km/h.


Some other examples of aerodynamic developments by Daimler Benz in the 1930s

The 1920s and 1930s were characterised, in automotive terms, by the steadily increasing speed of travel. The development of fast roads ways and long-distance routes reflected this change, while the era also saw the advent of the motorway. The automotive industry took advantage of this progress. Not just with more powerful engines and redesigned suspensions: vehicle bodies, for example, grew more sophisticated in design, while streamlined vehicles also emerged.

1934 -Mercedes-Benz 500 K “Autobahn Courier” (W 29). Built in the special vehicle production unit of the Sindelfingen plant, this vehicle made its debut in 1934 at the International Motor and Motorcycle Show in Berlin, as the first variant of the new 500 K model. Its aerodynamically designed body, with gently dropping rear end, marked the starting point for the development of further powerful luxury cars with streamlined bodies Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938

Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 1935 - Mercedes-Benz 500 K “Special Streamliner” (W 29), 1935. This one-off vehicle was built in the special vehicle production unit at the Sindelfingen plant, under the leadership of Hermann Ahrens, for a customer from the Dutch East Indies (today’s Indonesia). The shape of the body represents an interim stage between the 500 K “Autobahn Courier” and the uncompromisingly aerodynamic 540 K Streamliner of 1938

1936 - Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet C (W 29), 1936. Built in the special vehicle production unit of the Sindelfingen plant, this one-off model with streamlined radiator grille offers one possible solution as to how the upright Mercedes-Benz radiator could be incorporated into an aerodynamically inspired body.

Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938

Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938

1937 - Mercedes-Benz 290 streamlined saloon (W 18), 1937. In the mid-1930s, the four-door Type 290 (W 18) streamlined saloon that became available from 1935, along with its successor the 320 (W 142), offered one of the most stylish ways to travel fast, safely and in comfort on the autobahns – although perhaps the aerodynamic design of the body was not quite as coherently and logically thought-through as on the 540 K Streamliner (W 29) of 1938


1937 - Mercedes-Benz 540 K streamlined saloon (W 29), 1937. Built in the special vehicle production unit of the Sindelfingen plant, this one-off model represents a further variant with an aerodynamically inspired body.

Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938

Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938

1938 - Mercedes-Benz 320 (W 142) streamlined saloon, 1938. In the mid-1930s, the four-door Type 320 (W 142) streamlined saloon offered one of the most stylish ways to travel fast, safely and in comfort on the autobahns – although perhaps the aerodynamic design of the body was not quite as coherently and logically thought-through as on the 540 K Streamliner (W 29) of 1938

 

wallpapers of the Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 (click on image to enlarge)

Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938
Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938
Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938
Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Streamlined W29 1938

 

 

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