The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe became the world’s most expensive car, selling for a staggering € 135 million, or about US $ 142.9 million, breaking the old record set by the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which is believed to have sold for $ 78 million. 2018 by a total of $ 64.9 million.
One of the two ultra-rare 300 SLR Wohlenhaut coupes in the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection, the special model was sold by Mercedes itself to an unnamed personal collector in collaboration with RM Sotherby, represented by British expert Simon Kidston.
Based on the W 196 R Grand Prix car, which won several world championships at the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio, the 300 SLR was designed by Rudolf Uhlenhat and bears his name. Powered by a 3.0-liter straight-eight engine that produces 302 horsepower, which was good enough to rocket the machine from 0-60mph in just 6.9 seconds at a maximum speed of 176.47mph as tested by Autocar in 1956.
Seven SLR examples were created but only two feature enclosed cockpits for endurance racing use, however, the car was never actually raced but was used for rehearsal and as a personal transport to the event.
Two examples were the nicknames red and blue for their interior color. It is “red” and features only 6,045 km on the odometer. Both Mercedes-Benz have new cars in their collection, this sale was available for purchase for the first time.
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Only a handful of people were invited to the auction at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, where the car has been for 67 years.
Bidding began at an incredible 50 million euros, more than the final price of the most expensive car ever sold at auction: a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. With the hammer down, the Mercedes-Benz number was € 135 million (c. 2 142 million), making it one of the most expensive cars in the world, as well as one of the most expensive items to be auctioned.
Simon Kidston placed the winning bid on behalf of an unnamed client after lobbying Mercedes-Benz to sell the race car for about 18 months. He had previously described the Uhlenhaut Coupe as his “favorite car”, and was one of the very few to test drive it. Kidston himself showed up at the auction on May 5, 2022 for the 300SL Glowing that his father bought new in 1955.
The car will not be locked in some collectors’ private garages and will be accessible for special occasions. The second car, the “Blue”, will be on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
Proceeds from the sale will go to a charitable fund set up to provide education and research scholarships for young people in the fields of environmental science and decarbonization.
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