Last Surviving Mercedes-Benz Autobahn Kurier Wins Best of Show

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience2021 Best of Show at Pebble Beach
On a classically overcast but typical beautiful August day at Pebble Beach, the 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier from The Keller Collection at The Pyramids in Petaluma, California, took top honors as Best of Show at the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Overlooking Carmel Bay, the 70th Pebble Beach Concours concluded Sunday August 15 at the Pebble Beach Golf Links on the Monterey Peninsula — a year after the 2020 event had to be canceled due to the worldwide pandemic.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceSensational Winner
“This Best of Show winner embodies so many sensational features — styling, speed, and performance. Unveiled at the Berlin Auto Show and built to rule the new German Autobahn in 1938, this rare automobile is truly an example of beautiful German design,” said Concours Chairman Sandra Button.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceThree Wins
The win today marks the third Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Best of Show win for owners Arturo and Deborah Keller, whose cars previously won top honors in 1986 and 2001 — all three wins with Mercedes-Benz prewar models. Said Keller, “My dream was to win it again with this car. This car is very special to us.” The Mercedes-Benz Autobahn Kurier debuted at the 1938 Berlin Auto Show, and Mercedes-Benz made a total of four 500K and two 540K Autobahn Kuriers, but this is the only one still in existence.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceTriple Crown
“It’s my triple crown,” noted Keller of this year’s Best of Show honoree. “This is the only remaining car of its kind, and I am the second owner from new. It’s a very special car, and we are very happy,” said the three-time winner. The car was last restored in 2006, and has continued to be shown, rallied, and toured since then. In addition to Best of Show honors, the Kellers also go home with the Elegance in Motion Trophy, an annual special award given in addition to the various class winners.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceAutobahn Kurier
The Mercedes-Benz Autobahn Kurier attracted a lot of attention when it debuted in Berlin, thanks to its long, sweeping hood and an aerodynamic teardrop design drawing on the success of the Silver Arrow Grand Prix cars dominated racing in prewar Germany. It was also recognized for its advanced engineering and superior performance to excel at high cruising speeds on the newly constructed Autobahn.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperiencePrevious Best of Show Winners
The 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance also featured a special class for former Pebble Beach Best of Show winners including both of the Kellers’ previous cars. The 1986 Pebble Beach Concours celebrated the centennial anniversary of Mercedes-Benz and the Kellers took Best of Show honors with a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience2001 Winner
Fifteen years later, the Kellers once again earned Best of Show honors with another spectacular Mercedes-Benz model, a 1930 Mercedes-Benz SS Erdmann & Rossi Roadster that was rebodied in its early years by combining the SS chassis with a unique Erdmann & Rossi special sport roadster body.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceOther Finalists
Of the four finalists for 2021 Best of Show honors, two of the cars were post-war cars, raising speculation that a post-war car might win again. (The first win by a post-war car in nearly four decades was the 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe in 2014.) The other 2021 finalists were the 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Corsica Drophead Coupe owned by Joanie and Scott Kriens of Saratoga, California; a 1966 Ferrari 365 P Pininfarina Berlinetta Speciale owned by RQ Collections, The Woodlands, Texas; and a 1956 Maserati A6G Zagato Coupe owned by Jonathan and Wendy Segal of San Diego, California.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperiencePebble Beach Concours Best of Show
1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier

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