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I also had in mind that a car could be too rare. How can you assess the value of a car if there is literally no market for it because none have ever been sold? Take the second most valuable car sold at auction, the Ferrari 250GTO. It qualifies in every way and because nearly 40 have been built it is rare but not unheard of that they come up for sale. So there is a precedent, something that can be measured and therefore a current value estimated. But how to estimate the value of a Uhlenhaut coupé, the two examples of which have been kept by the factory that built them? I guess you gather enough interested prospects – or their proxies – under one roof and let nature take its course.

I think there might be another reason why a car might become more valuable than any other, and that’s simply because it’s more important than any other. If, for example, the original Benz Patent Motorwagen were to come in unmistakably original condition – the very first example of the very first car, surely that would have a claim? But I don’t believe it exists in any state at all.

But what if a car existed, whose provenance was undisputed and whose influence was so great that it was the name of the company that built it? What if this name becomes one of the most revered and recognizable names, not just among automotive brands, but in the world? Would it compete with a Uhlenhaut coupé?

Such a car exists and has, very recently, been sold. I’m talking about the 12th Rolls-Royce 40/50hp to be built, equipped with a Roi-des-Belges bodywork by Barker and intended to be a company demonstrator. Until then, Claude Johnson – the oft-forgotten, self-styled Rolls-Royce hyphen – decided to screw a rectangular plaque onto his porthole bearing the name “The Silver Ghost” and created a legend.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost AX201 – once considered the most valuable car in the world

As you know, this car, AX201, put Rolls-Royce on the map, prompted Coach to call it “the best car in the world”, a title the brand dines on today, 115 years after it was built. It too was beautiful, rare, wonderful to drive (yes, I have), potentially usable, significant and even successful in competition, wiping the record for reliability by driving over 15,000 miles nonstop without any faults of any significance. it would be.

It was recently purchased from Bentley Motors, where it had remained invisible to the public for over 20 years. Now in private hands and still in the UK – can you imagine the fuss someone is trying to export it? – its owner is not only ready to let it be seen, he considers it important that it is. And absolutely right too. What he paid for it, I have no idea, but if any car that was sold was going to come anywhere near the Uhlenhaut coupe money, I can’t think of any more likely than this. Do I think so? Probably not.

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