Most Expensive Car Ever Sold Is From 1955, Auctioned For $143 Million

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A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut became the most expensive car ever sold after fetching 135 million euros at auction
A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut became the most expensive car ever sold after fetching 135 million euros at auction

A rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz race car has been sold at auction for a record price of $143 million, making it the most expensive car ever sold.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe sold for 135 million euros, or about $143 million, during an invitation-only auction that took place on May 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, according to RM Sotheby’s. The sale was first reported by Hagerty Insider.

British car collector, advisor and dealer Simon Kidston made the winning bid on behalf of a client, whose name was not disclosed, CNBC reported.

Kidston reportedly lobbied the Mercedes-Benz board for nearly two years to consider selling the car.

The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is one of just two built by Mercedes-Benz in 1955, according to reports. Prior to the auction, the Mercedes-Benz company owned both cars.

The car was based on the company’s successful W 196 R Grand Prix car, which won two World Championships with driver Juan Manuel Fangio.

The 300 SLR had a larger, 3.0-liter engine and was able to reach 180 miles per hour, making it one of the fastest cars in 1955. 

The sale of the race car, named after its designer and chief engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, beat the previous record for the most expensive car sold at auction by more than $95 million. The record was previously held by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for $48.5 million in 2018.

The sale of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe also topped the record for the most expensive car sold privately, which was previously held by a 1963 Ferrari GTO that sold for $70 million in 2018.

“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 honor,” said Peter Wallman, RM Sotheby’s chairman for the U.K. and EMEA.

The proceeds of the sale will be used to start the global Mercedes-Benz Fund, which will fund research and education scholarships focused around sustainability.

The luxury vehicle company said the fund will be jointly managed by an as-yet-unnamed partner, with the roll-out plan to be disclosed later this year.




Photo: Mercedes-Benz AG via AFP

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