Introduced at the 1936 Paris Motor Show, the car designed by Friedrich Geiger was a development of the 500K, itself a development of the SSK. Available as a two-seater cabriolet, four-seater coupé or seven-seater limo (with armored sides and armored glass), it was one of the biggest cars of its time.

The 500K's in-line 8-cylinder engine has been displaced to 5,401 cubic centimeters (329.6 in.). [2] It was powered by two pressurized updraft carburetors, developing 115 hp (86 kW). In addition, a Roots supercharger was attached, which could be attached manually for short periods, or automatically when the throttle was pushed all the way to the ground. This increased power to 180 hp (130 kW), allowing a top speed of 170 kilometers per hour (110 mph).


Power was sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual or five-speed manual that included timing in the first three gears. Vacuum-assisted hydraulic brakes kept the car under the driver's control.

The 540K had the same layout as the 500K chassis, but was significantly relieved by replacing the 500K tube chassis with oval tubes - an influence of the Silver Arrows racing campaign.

To meet individual customer wishes, three chassis variants were available, as for the 500K: two long versions with a wheelbase of 3,290 mm (130 in), differing in terms of powertrain and bodywork layout; and a short version with 2,980 mm (117 in). The long variant, called the normal chassis with the radiator directly above the front axle, served as the basis for the four-seat convertibles, the 'B' (with four side windows) and the 'C' (with two side windows), and for touring cars and sedans. The shortest chassis was for the two-seater 'A' cabriolet, mounted on a chassis in which the radiator, engine, cab and all rear modules [clarification needed] were moved 185 mm (7.3 in.) The front axle. ]

The Sindelfingen plant employed 1,500 people to create the 540K, and allowed for a great deal of customization by the owner, meaning that only 70 chassis were built by independent manufacturers. Owners included Jack L. Warner, from Warner Brothers film studios.

With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the engine's additional propulsion to 5,800 cubic centimeters (5.8 l) for a 580K was aborted, probably after only one of these cars was manufactured. Chassis production ceased in 1940, with the last two being completed that year, and the previous chassis were still being maintained at a constant rate during 1940, with smaller numbers being completed in the period from 1941 to 1943. Regular replacement bodies were ordered in 1944 for some cars.

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