GREENWICH, Conn. – It didn't break the all-time auction record, but a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster that was hidden in a Greenwich barn for more than 30 years still brought in a hefty sum.
Thought to be one of about a dozen such cars left in the world, the Mercedes sold for $11.77 million Sunday at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance auto show and auction in Pebble Beach, Calif., according to the Los Angeles Times. The final bid fell short of the all-time auction record of $16.4 million set last year on a 1957 Ferrari Testarossa, which event promoters had expected the Mercedes to break.
The Mercedes was owned by Prussian Baroness Gisela von Krieger, who lived in Greenwich from around the end of World War II until 1958, when she returned to be with her family in Switzerland. The car stayed behind, hidden in a barn on her family's estate until it was discovered in 1989 upon von Krieger's death.
Ownership of the car was tied up in a legal battle until it finally was sold by von Krieger's family in 1994. It was owned by New Hampshire businessman Lee Herrington at the time of the auction. Herrington reportedly sold the car to focus on his Ferrari collection.
A 1968 Ford GT40 once owned by film star Steve McQueen became the highest-selling American-made car at the auction, going for an even $11 million.