A Vintage 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR was sold at an auction, becoming the most expensive car ever sold at an auction. It was sold at $143 million (around Rs. 1,100 crores), breaking the earlier record of $95 million sold at an auction. The winner of the bid was an unknown client of a British car collector, dealer, and advisor Simon Kidston. Mercedes Benz board had Kidston being lobbied around for 18 months, to consider selling the car.
Canada-based RM Sotheby was the owner of the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe before selling it at the auction. The sales were on May 5 in a highly unusual and secretive auction at Mercedes-Benz Museum located in Stuttgart, Germany. Mercedes-Benz customers and selected collectors were only invited to attend.
One of the only two created in 1955 is the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe. Making it one of the most prized cars in auto history, built by the Mercedes race department. It was named after Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the chief engineer and designer. The vehicle is based on the success of the W 196 R Grand Prix car, which was able to reach 180 mph and had a 3.0-liter engine. It was one of the fastest road-legal cars in those days when it was built.
The story behind
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR just happened to be one of a kind as Mercedes retired from racing in 1955. No more such cars were intended to be built. Two of these models were built in the 1950s. After Rudolf Uhlenhaut began driving the one as his car company, these were given the name moniker Uhlenhaut coupe. He was the head of the automaker’s test department. The car was being taken care of by Mercedes Benz since then.
The other car, on which the 300 SLR is based, won world championships as it was being driven by Juan Manuel Fangio†. The 300 SLR’s buyer is known to be a private collector. It is said that the car will be made available for public display on special occasions. The vehicle’s prototype remains with the Mercedes-Benz racing department. The proceeds from the sales will be used to establish the “Mercedes-Benz Fund” that will be used to provide scholarships globally for the study of environmental science and decarbonization. The chairman of Mercedes-Benz Group’s board, Ola Källenius said in a statement, “The decision to sell one of these two unique sports cars was taken with very sound reasoning – to benefit a good cause. At the same time, achieving the highest price ever paid for a vehicle is extraordinary and humbling.”
Also, the chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, Oliver Barker said in another statement saying that the car “now stands shoulder to shoulder with the greatest works of art ever sold. Few ever dreamt that this great jewel of motoring history would ever come for sale.”