Ultra-Rare Mercedes-Benz Race Car Gets $143 Million at Auction.
It seems that in the wake of hiccups to the stock market and crypto, investors are flocking to hard assets. In under four minutes, the art market saw the $195 million sale of Warhol’s ‘Marilyn’ and now the luxury car market has shattered its most expensive sale ever.
In a move that shocked the auto collecting world, RM Sotheby’s announced it auctioned off a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe for 135 million euros, or about $143 million. The secretive auction happened on May 5th at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Only selected Mercedes-Benz customers and collectors were invited.
The winning bid was made by British car collector, advisor and dealer Simon Kidston on behalf of an unnamed client. Kidston had spent over a year of lobbying the Mercedes-Benz board to sell. While the successful bidder will keep the car in his or her private collection, he or she will also make the car available for public viewing.
Named after Mercedes’ chief engineer and designer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is one of only two created in 1955 and is regarded as one of the most prized cars in auto history. The car was based on the company’s successful W 196 R Grand Prix car, which won two World Championships with legendary Argentinian F1 driver Juan Manuel Fangio. The 300 SLR had a larger, 3.0-liter engine and was able to reach 180 mph, making it one of the fastest road-legal cars at the time.
Lest you think the sale frivolous, the good news is that the proceeds are going to something very NOT frivolous. Mercedes will donate the earnings to create a fund for scholarships and educational research into the environment and decarbonization.
Lastly, a little bit of trivia: Prior to this sale, Ferrari was in pole position and P2 for the most expensive automobile sales in history with a 1962 GTO the sold for $48.5 million at RM Sotheby’s in 2018. A 1963 Ferrari GTO sold privately in 2018 for $70 million.
What makes those GTOs so special? Hmmm, maybe an article for another time. For now, I’d avoid the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut if you happen to see it on the road. Any ding and my guess is your insurance premium may skyrocket.