The auction industry is back and better than ever after a lull caused by the pandemic. In fact, 2022 was a standout year for auctions, with numerous records being set. One of the most impressive sales of the year took place in May 2022 at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. A one-of-two 1955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé was sold for a staggering €135 million (around US$143.1 million), breaking the previous record for a car at auction, which stood at $78 million for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.
The invitation-only auction was a closely guarded secret, and only a select group of Mercedes customers and collectors were allowed to attend. RM Sotheby’s and Mercedes-Benz kept the news of the sale under wraps until the end of the month. Leading the auction was star auctioneer Oliver Barker.
The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé is widely considered the ‘Mona Lisa of Cars’ and is a true masterpiece of engineering. Over the years, Mercedes-Benz has kept the only two examples of this car in its company collection, with one on display at its museum and the other in its garage. So, it was a surprise to many when the company decided to sell this ultra-rare vehicle.
British car collector and dealer Simon Kidston reportedly took 18 months to convince the board of the company to consider selling the car. His efforts paid off as he secured the car for an unnamed client with a winning bid of €135 million (around US$143.1 million). This exceeded the existing record by more than €90,000,000.
The proceeds of the sale will be used to establish a worldwide “Mercedes-Benz Fund” that will provide educational and research scholarships in the areas of environmental science and decarbonisation for young people. This is a fitting tribute to this iconic car as it will not only provide funding for young people to pursue their education and research but also aligns with Mercedes-Benz’s dedication to sustainable practices.
The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé is an engineering marvel and a true piece of automotive history. It’s not just a car, it’s a masterpiece that will go down in history as the most valuable car ever sold at a public auction. It’s a car that was thought to never be offered for sale and it’s a privilege for car enthusiasts to see it on display and for one lucky buyer to own it.