These wheels of fortune are turning in favor of Mercedes-Benz.
The German car brand has confirmed it has sold a luxury car for a staggering $142 million (€135 million), shattering the previous record for the most expensive vehicle ever sold.
“We [wanted], with a single gesture, to demonstrate the power of the Mercedes brand,” their chairman, Ola Källenius, said in a statement after the May 5 closed-door auction at the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart. reported BNN Bloomberg. The event was organized in conjunction with car auction company RM Sotheby’s.
The automobile in question was an ultra-rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé, one of only two ever made. Mercedes did not disclose the identity of the buyer; however, the auction reportedly featured a dozen bidders, with several Swiss-Italian, English and American Mercedes-Benz collectors being offered as potential buyers.
With this sale, the automaker surpassed – almost three times – the previous public record of $70 million, disbursed in 2018 for a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO. Proceeds from the sale will go towards the creation of the Mercedes-Benz Fund , a global scholarship fund aimed at helping cash-strapped students achieve their career dreams, according to a press release from Mercedes.
The price may seem steep, but auto enthusiasts say the figure is appropriate given the caliber of the car, which can go up to 186 mph.
“This car is 100% worth what it sold for,” said rare auto broker Stephen Serio. “No one ever thought Mercedes would sell him.”
Indeed, the value of the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR is due, in part, to the fact that the vehicle is extremely rare. Of the nine 300 SLR cars made, there were only two SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé prototypes, named after the famous head of Mercedes’ test department, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, according to the BNN Bloomberg report. He used one of the models as a company car, while the second high rod is safely stored in the company safe.
“Their 1930s and 1950s race cars are rare, and most are still factory owned, so any that come on the market are highly sought after,” Hagerty’s Brian Rabold told CNN.
Thankfully, the recent purchase isn’t stopping rear-seat car enthusiasts from revisiting this automotive holy grail. Under the terms of the sale, the Uhlenhaut will remain on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, alongside the second SLR coupe, while the anonymous owner will get the occasional and very careful ride with his vintage whip.