Mercedes-Benz confirmed this Thursday the sale of the most expensive car in the world. It is a very rare Mercedes-Benz SLR coupé from 1955 that had remained in the collection of the German car manufacturer.
The car was sold to a private owner for €135 million, the equivalent of $142 million. This makes it the most expensive car on record, according to Hagerty, a company that tracks the value of collector cars.
The money from the sale will be used to create the Mercedes-Benz Fund, a global scholarship fund, Mercedes announced.
Mercedes just sold the world’s most expensive car, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, for $142 million.
Previously, the record for the highest selling price was held by a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for $70 million in 2018.
The Mercedes that was sold was one of only two 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe prototypes. The 67-year-old cars were named after Mercedes’ chief engineer at the time, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and are claimed to have a top speed of 186mph or 299km/h.
The car in question was sold at a closed invitational auction at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart on May 5. The auction was held in collaboration with the car auction company RM Sotheby’s.
The other Uhlenhaut Coupe will remain in the Museum’s collection, according to a statement from Mercedes-Benz.
“Their race cars from the ’30s and ’50s are rare, and most are still factory-owned, so the ones that come to market are highly coveted,” said Brian Rabold, Hagerty’s vice president of automotive intelligence.
Mercedes’ “gullwing” SLRs, named for the doors that rise like curved wings, are considered one of the most coveted cars in the world. And there are several rare and competition versions that are especially valuable.
The SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was essentially a hardtop version of Mercedes’ famous open-top racing SLR, with a 300-horsepower eight-cylinder engine. The idea was that a closed car could better protect drivers from wind and inclement weather at high speeds, while the closed roof would also improve aerodynamics.
Shortly after the development of these cars, Mercedes stopped participating in the competitions, so these cars never got to compete.
Although the identity of the car’s new owners is unknown, British classic car dealer Simon Kidston claimed in a press release to have placed the winning bid on behalf of a customer.