One of the two 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes sold for 135 million euros ($ 143 million at current exchange rates), making it the most expensive car of all time, Mercedes said in a press release Thursday.
The “seagull wing” coupe came from Mercedes ’own collection and was purchased by an unnamed collector at an auction held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum on May 5th. The sale was organized through RM Sotheby’s auction house. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Mercedes-Benz Foundation, which will provide educational and research fellowships in environmental science and decarbonisation, the automaker said.
The coupe is named after its creator Rudolf Uhlenhaut, head of the Mercedes racing division in the years just before and after World War II. In addition to the coupe that bears his name, Uhlengaut is credited with the W196 Grand Prix and the 300 SLR sports car, which is known to have won the Mille Miglia Stirling Moss.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe 1955 release
The Uhlenhaut Coupe was conceived as a successor to the 300 SLR without a Moss roof. It had a boring version of the straight-8 W196 and was clad in a streamlined body with seagull wing doors that had already appeared on Road car 300 SL so far.
However, the Uhlenhaut Coupe never got a chance to race. Shortly after it was completed, Mercedes withdrew from racing after the catastrophic 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1955. In addition to a handful of rallies and by the efforts of a private individualMercedes will not officially return to racing until the 1980s.
Two prototypes of the Uhlenhaut Coupe have been sent to the non-public classic Mercedes collection, where the second prototype will remain. One of the conditions of the sale is that the car “will remain available for public display and special occasions,” – said in a statement Marcus Breitschwerdt, head of Mercedes-Benz Heritage. So now Uhlenhaut’s private coupe can actually see the world more often than when it belonged to Mercedes.