It is no secret that legendary vintage race cars have sold for exorbitant amounts of money in recent auctions. However, most recently, a world record has been broken by the sale of one of these old classic automobiles. The iconic Canadian auction house RM Sotheby’s announced that they have hammered down the sale of the world’s most expensive car sold in an auction. The car that RM Sotheby’s auctioned off for a whopping €135,000,000 or $143 million earlier this month, is an ultra-rare Mercedes-Benz race car – It is a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe. Only two prototypes of this car were ever built by the Mercedes-Benz racing department.
The 1955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé was auctioned off on May 5th at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, with RM Sotheby’s working closely with Mercedes-Benz throughout the process to ensure that the sale was completed to the highest possible standards. The auction was an invite-only auction and a select few individuals who have been the most prominent Mercedes customers and worldwide collectors of vehicles and art were invited.
A private automotive collector which has chosen to remain anonymous placed the winning bid of €135 million ($143 million). This has now made the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé the world’s most expensive car to be ever sold at an auction. RM Sotheby’s in its announcement revealed that the bidding for the Mercedes race car opened at a price higher than the selling price of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold by RM Sotheby’s in 2018, the car which previously ranked as the most valuable ever sold at auction.
The Mercedes prototype race car broke the existing record by more than €90 million ($95 million). The proceeds from the sale will be used to establish a global “Mercedes-Benz Fund” that will provide educational and research scholarships to young people in the fields of environmental science and decarbonisation said, RM Sotheby’s.
The astounding 300 SLR was based on the highly celebrated and successful W 196 R Grand Prix vehicle, which won two World Championships in Juan Manuel Fangio’s hands, although this particular prototype came with a 3.0-litre engine for sports car racing. The car had a top speed of 180 mph, making it one of the fastest road-legal vehicles ever manufactured at the time.
Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Heritage on the sale of the iconic Mercedes said, 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” He further added, “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.”
Meanwhile, Speaking on behalf of RM Sotheby’s, Peter Wallman, Chairman, UK & EMEA, said, “Words can’t really do justice to the importance and significance of this sale. It’s reasonable to say that nobody ever imagined that this car would ever be offered for sale, so for Mercedes-Benz to ask RM Sotheby’s to conduct the auction was an absolute honour.”