Robb Design Portfolio: Special K

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The Mercedes-Benz 500k was among the most desirable cars built during the 1930s. Its 5-liter straight-8 engine produced 160 hp with its supercharger engaged and could power the 500K to 100 mph where roads permitted. (The “K” in the car’s designation stands for “kompressor.”) However, the car’s avoirdupois (nearly 5,000 pounds) raised its zero-to-60 time to about 16 seconds. The 500K exhibited a number of technological advances, including a 4-speed transmission and power-assisted brakes. Nine body styles were available from the Sindelfingen coachworks. This car is one of only 29 Special Roadsters built to a Hermann Ahrens design notable for its sweeping fenders. It remains some of the most handsome sheet metal ever to grace an automobile, which is one of the reasons Special Roadsters now command millions of dollars at auction.

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