- All time record: One of two ultra-rare original 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupés from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Collection has been auctioned for 135 million EUR to a private collector, making it the most valuable car of all time.
- Using this value to drive change: The proceeds will be used to establish a worldwide “Mercedes Benz Fund” that will provide educational and research scholarships in the areas of environmental science and decarbonisation for young people.
A private collector purchased a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé at auction for a record price of 135 million EUR. One of just two prototypes created at the time, this automotive legend is a true rarity. It is regarded as one of the best examples of automotive engineering and design by automotive professionals and fans worldwide, and is named for its founder and main engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut.
The Mercedes that was sold was one of just two prototypes of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe. The 67-year-old automobiles are said to have a peak speed of 186 mph and were named after Mercedes’ chief engineer at the time, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. On May 5, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart held a restricted invitation-only auction. The sale was organised in collaboration with RM Sotheby’s, a car auction business. The SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, powered by a 300 horsepower eight-cylinder engine, was essentially a hard-top variant of Mercedes’ legendary open-top SLR racing vehicle. The theory was that a closed automobile would provide better protection from wind and rain at high speeds, while simultaneously improving aerodynamics.
The 1955 Mercedes-Benz SLR coupe sells for €135 million, the equivalent of $142 million. It is the most expensive car known to ever have been sold, according to Hagerty, a company that tracks collector car values. The car was one of only two 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe prototypes. The 67-year-old cars are claimed to have a top speed of 186 mph.
The Mercedes that was sold was one of just two prototypes of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe. The 67-year-old automobiles are said to have a peak speed of 186 mph and were named after Mercedes’ chief engineer at the time, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. On May 5, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart held a restricted invitation-only auction. The sale was organised in collaboration with RM Sotheby’s, a car auction business.
While the name of the automobile’s new owners is unclear, British classic car dealer Simon Kidston claimed to have put the winning bid on behalf of a customer in a press statement. A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe sold for 135 million euros ($143 million) at RM Sotheby’s auction. The deal shattered the previous record for the most expensive automobile sold at auction by more than $95 million and surpassed the previous record for a car sold privately by more than $70 million. “No one could have predicted that this automobile would ever be offered for sale,” said Peter Wallman, RM Sotheby’s chairman for the United Kingdom and EMEA. The most expensive automobile ever sold at auction was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for $48.5 million in 2018 at RM Sotheby’s. A Ferrari GTO from 1963.
The automobile was based on the W 196 R Grand Prix car, which won two World Championships with Juan Manuel Fangio as the driver. With a bigger 3.0-liter engine and a top speed of 180 mph, the 300 SLR was one of the quickest road-legal cars at the time.
History and auction of 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé
The sale of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé took place on May 5th at an auction held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in cooperation with renowned auctioneer RM Sotheby’s. The invitees were among selected Mercedes-Benz customers and international collectors of cars and art, who share the corporate values of Mercedes-Benz. The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé sold at auction was part of the non-public vehicle collection belonging to Mercedes-Benz Classic, comprising more than 1100 automobiles from the invention of the automobile in 1886 until today.
“We are proud that we can contribute with our historical collection to this initiative connecting the past with the future of engineering and decarbonisation technology”, says Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes Benz Heritage. “The private buyer has agreed that the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé will remain accessible for public display on special occasions, while the second original 300 SLR Coupé remains in company ownership and will continue to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.“
The special circumstances behind its creation, its unique design and its innovative technology have endowed the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé with a remarkable level of mystique that endures to this day. The design of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé set benchmarks that put it among the world’s most significant automotive icons – not least on account of its distinctive “gullwing” doors. Added to this is the outstanding performance delivered by its thoroughbred racing technology. Together, both have secured the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé its acclaimed position in sports car mythology and a very special place in the hearts of Mercedes fans around the world.