One of just two prototypes built by the Mercedes-Benz racing department in 1955, the car is named after its creator and chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and is considered to be one of the finest examples of automotive engineering and design, often cited as being ‘the most beautiful car in the world’ by automotive experts and enthusiasts worldwide, according to the sellers.
The 300 SLR was based on the W 196 R Grand Prix car which won two World Championships in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio, but with its engine enlarged to 3.0 liters for sports car racing. The car was capable of 180 mph, making it one of the fastest road legal cars at the time.
The sale of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé took place on May 5 at an auction held at the MercedesBenz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
The winning bid on the car was $142,000,000, making it the most valuable car ever sold, RM Sotheby’s said. The bidding 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 300 SLR now sits in the top ten most valuable items ever sold at auction, the auction house said. 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 decarbonization for young people, Mercedes-Benz 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”, 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.”