Earlier this month, an ultra-rare Mercedes-Benz race car sold for $143 million, making it the most expensive car ever sold.
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 car sold at auction by more than $95 million and surpassed the previous record for a car sold privately by more than $70 million.
Simon Kidston, a British vehicle collector, advisor, and dealer, placed the winning offer on behalf of an anonymous client. Kidston urged the Mercedes-Benz board of directors for 18 months to market the automobile.
The auction, which was originally reported by Hagerty Insider, took place on May 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, in a private and highly unique auction. Only a small number of collectors and Mercedes-Benz customers were invited.
The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was one of only two built in 1955 and is considered one of the most valuable automobiles ever made. It was created by Mercedes’ race department and named for Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the company’s chief engineer and designer.
The car was based on the W 196 R Grand Prix car, which won two World Championships with Juan Manuel Fangio as the driver. With a larger 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.
Both of the 300 SLR automobiles were held by Mercedes-Benz, and the May 5 auction caught many collectors off guard.
“No one could have predicted that this car would ever be offered for sale,” said Peter Wallman, RM Sotheby’s chairman for the United Kingdom and EMEA.
Mercedes-Benz has announced that the revenues will be used to establish a fund for environmental and decarbonization scholarships and educational research.
The most expensive car ever sold at auction was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for $48.5 million in 2018 at RM Sotheby’s. In 2018, a 1963 Ferrari GTO was sold privately for $70 million.