Mercedes-Benz had a vision of a vehicle that was opulent in all aspects, long before the iconic supercars that grace the covers of automotive magazines came into being. This car would be breathtakingly exquisite from the exterior, and under the hood, it would harness immense power. Equal parts beauty and beast, the Mercedes Benz 500k was born.
Built between 1934 and 1936, the automotive manufacturer produced a mere 342 units. Included in this figure were just 30 Special Edition roadster models. While Mercedes built each of the standard 500K vehicles with maximum power and performance in mind, buyers could choose among body style and chassis options. The 500K was made in 4-seater and 2-seater body styles. The 2-seater versions, the Roadster and the Motorway Courier, offered drivers faster speeds and better performance than their 4-seater counterparts. Because of this, the 2-seater models are more valuable to Mercedes-Benz collectors today. Many of the features incorporated into the 500K models eventually carried over to the Mercedes-Benz 540K, which took the place of the 500K after its short two-year production run.
The “K” included in this vehicle’s name was to highlight its status as an elite and powerful car. Representing the German word Kompressor, the “K” referred to its supercharged engine. As a successor of the Mercedes-Benz 380, the 5.018 liter, inline-8 engine was specifically designed to be larger and more potent than any before. The automaker successfully altered the independent suspension featured in the 380, by introducing coil springs and dampening that was innovative for the time period. The new Mercedes-Benz was much more powerful yet easier to handle than its predecessors.
Engine: 5.018 Liter Inline-8
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Horsepower: 160 @ 3400 RPM
Top Speed: 100MPH
0-60 mph in: 16 seconds
Torque: 318 lb-ft
Other Notable Features
Mechanically, the Mercedes-Benz 500K garnered considerable positive attention for its innovations. During the mid-1930s, advanced features such as double-wishbone suspension and a supercharged engine were rare. While collectors relish the impressive advancements made with this model, they also love its lavish nature. In a time where most automotive designs focused purely on functionality, the 500K was spacious and opulent. It contained notable features such as a hydraulic braking system, electric windshield wipers, turn signals and door locks.
Pricing the Mercedes-Benz 500K
Considering the limited production run and the fact that these automobiles were produced over 85 years ago, 500K models remain desirable for Mercedes-Benz collectors. The most expensive 500K was sold at auction in 2016 for $5,921,097. This 1935 roadster model was one of 35 produced in the pre-war era. Beyond this, the typical cost of a 1930’s-era Mercedes 500K is around $2.5 million.
Discover today’s Mercedes-Benz models.