A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé has become the most expensive car ever sold for a record €135 million (approx. $142.9 million) in a private auction run by RM Sotheby’s at the Mercedes-Benz Museum on 5 May. Named after its creator and chief engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut this icon of automotive history is one of two prototypes built by the Mercedes-Benz racing department; The second prototype remains in the ownership of Mercedes-Benz and will continue to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Bearing chassis 196.110-00008/55 the car was based on the company’s successful W 196 R Grand Prix car, that took Fangio to two F1 world titles. The 300 SLR had a larger, 3.0-litre straight-eight petrol engine and was able to reach 180 mph (290 km/h), making it one of the fastest road-legal cars to have ever been created at the time. According to a press release, all the proceeds will go to a new Mercedes charity that will, “provide educational and research scholarships in the areas of environmental science and decarbonization for young people.”
“The decision to sell one of these two unique sports cars was taken with very sound reasoning—to benefit a good cause . . . With the Mercedes-Benz Fund we would like to encourage a new generation to follow in Rudolf Uhlenhaut’s innovative footsteps and develop amazing new technologies, particularly those that support the critical goal of decarbonization and resource preservation. At the same time, achieving the highest price ever paid for a vehicle is extraordinary and humbling.”
This icon of automotive history is the most valuable car in the world and within the top 10 most valuable items ever sold at auction. The former record price for a car was held by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which was auctioned for around $45 million in 2018. Take that, Ferrari!
Check out the full history of this legend on Mercedes-Benz’s website.