The spectacular Mercedes-Benz 540K represented the zenith of pre-war accomplishments by the Stuttgart-based firm in the pre-war era. It is considered by many to be both a technical marvel and a styling masterpiece. An evolution of the brilliantly engineered 500K, whose independently suspended chassis it shared, the 540K was powered by a 5.4-liter, supercharged, straight-eight engine. The 540K was one of the first models developed under Mercedes-Benz’s new chief engineer, ex-racing driver Max Sailer, successor to Hans Nibel, who had passed away in November 1934 at the early age of 54. Mercedes-Benz’s new flagship model featured the company’s famous Roots-type supercharger system in which pressing the accelerator pedal to the end of its travel would simultaneously engage the compressor and close off the alternative atmospheric intake to the carburetor. This system had been thoroughly vetted on the preceding series of the Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s conceived S cars that had dominated racing during the 1920s, and in effect the 540K was the last supercharged production Mercedes until relatively recent times.