PEBBLE BEACH -- A rare Mercedes, hidden for decades in a Connecticut barn, has become true buried treasure, fetching millions but falling short of a record as the most expensive car ever sold at auction.
Late Sunday, an unidentified bidder agreed to pay $10.7 million for the 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster, which was on the block at this weekend's Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance car week.
Dave Kinney, publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide, a bible of classic car pricing, said hundreds gathered around the auction as the bidding unfolded. It is believed to be a record amount paid for that model car, considered the auto equivalent of a rare painting. However, it was short of the $16.4 million overall record paid last year for a Ferrari.
Known as the "Von Krieger Special Roadster," named for its onetime owners, the Mercedes was owned by Leigh Harrington, a New Hampshire businessman. But the roadster traveled a long and winding road to the record book.
Believed to be just one of about a dozen of its kind in the world, the car was tucked away in the Connecticut barn for about 30 years. It was discovered in 1989 as part of the estate of Gisela von Krieger, a baroness whose brother originally paid $7,000 for the German sports car.
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz