An unnamed collector has paid €135 million for this car, nearly triple the previous record price for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. It is also one of the most expensive items ever auctioned.
Mercedes-Benz has said goodbye to one of its most precious treasures, but for a good cause. Only seven units of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, of which two were coupés. One of them, with blue upholstery, will remain in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
The one that has been sold is its twin, with the interior in red, with just over 6,000 kilometers. This fabulous vehicle has never had a particular owner, Mercedes-Benz Classic has been hoarding it for 67 years. It was built in 1955 and its numbers are still respectable today: 302 hp for a 3-litre six-cylinder engine.
The mysterious buyer had been interested in a 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe for a year and a half, until he managed to convince those responsible for the classic. They found a good excuse, allocating the profits from the auction to a fund that will finance initiatives by young inventors and scholarships to carry out their environmental science and decarbonization projects.
Rudolf Uhlenhaut (1906-1989)
This model is based on the Grand Prix car with which Juan Manuel Fangio competed and which won seven world championships, the W196R. However, this specimen never officially raced. The British magazine Autocar was able to test it in 1956, as it was one of the fastest cars of the time.
But Who was Rudolf Uhlenhaut? An engineer and driver who worked for Mercedes-Benz for a whopping 40 years. He joined the company in 1931 to develop the Mercedes 170V. His contribution in the 1930s was invaluable to the dominance of the Silver Arrows in Grand Prix racing until the outbreak of the war.
Rudolf Uhlenhaut had the privilege of working for Mercedes-Benz almost all his life, from the age of 25 to 66.
After being away for a time due to the cancellation of the racing program, he rejoined in 1948. He designed the well-known Merecede-Benz 300SL and the 300SL Gullwing. The Uhlenhaut Coupé are his most special creations. He retired in 1972 and, mind you, never owned a car. This unit was driven personally.
A certain “legend” tells that, Uhlenhaut being in a hurry to get to a meeting, managed to get to Stuttgart from Munich in just over an hour, when the normal thing is to make that journey in two and a half hours with the usual traffic, since they are far 220 km one city from the other. He must have found the Autobahn very clear. According to Coach, the car reached 284 km / h.
And it is not surprising that speed, because it was practically a racing car. In fact, the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé literally looks like a W196R with fully faired wheels, a two-seater and a trunk, even the exhaust pipes and air intake seem to be in the same place. The closed configuration was better suited for drag racing.
Well, those are the credentials that have made this special car fetching such an astronomically high value. The mystery buyer has agreed that the car can be seen in public from time to time, it will not be in a window, although it will be pampered because it is the most expensive car in the world.
It was not difficult to beat the price of the Ferrari 250 GTO, since the starting price of the auction was already higher, more than 50 million euros
The auction has been carried out by the prestigious house of RM Sotheby’s, being the mysterious buyer by the expert in automobiles Simon Kidston -who will have taken his commission-. In fact, Kidston arrived at the auction driving a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing that his father bought in 1955. He already drives another careful jewel.
In recent years, very high prices have been seen at auctions for very special models, especially with a certain pedigree in competition, but 135 million euros are big words. This vehicle even had a personal mechanic assigned to keep it in perfect condition, Gert Straub, although he is probably not part of the deal.
At Mercedes-Benz they are satisfied with the auction and fundraising for a noble purpose. The company took advantage of the occasion to reveal part of its medium-term strategy, in which they are going to raise margins and reduce models in their compact access range. They will sell less, but they will earn more.