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This The 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SLR “Silver Arrow” might be the most expensive car in the world, as it was reportedly sold recently for US$142 million (equivalent to NZ$227.32).

The car was reportedly sold by Mercedes from its in-house historic vehicle collection at a private auction.

A small number of heavily vetted collectors who agreed not to resell the vehicles were flown to Stuttgart for the private auction earlier this month. This is where the Silver Arrow sold for the exorbitant sum.

The name Silver Arrow is used for a variety of Mercedes racing cars built before and after World War II. This specific Silver Arrow is believed to be one of nine road-legal W196 300 SLR coupes, hailing from the days when Mercedes dominated sports car racing.

The W196 is one of the automaker’s most successful cars, with racing versions winning almost every race they entered in 1955. Stirling Moss paved the way to victory in the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio, which eventually picked up Mercedes. a victory in the world sports car championship.

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There were only nine road versions of the car built, two of which were gull-wing hardtops known as Uhlenhaut cupsnamed after the lead designer, Rudolph Uhlenhaut, who drove one daily throughout the 1950s.

Both road versions of the coupé had essentially 300 SL Gullwing bodies which were heavily modified to fit the SLR chassis. These were intended for competition in later seasons, but were never modified for racing after 1956.

Fun fact: The W196 is also known as the car that ended Mercedes’ 30-year racing program, temporarily banning motorsports across Europe.

It happened at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans. Pierre Levegh was driving a 300 SLR and hit another driver’s back. He then took off from the car in which he crashed, flew over the barriers at 200 km / h and landed in the crowd before bursting into flames.

Because the vehicle’s body was constructed of magnesium alloy, which cannot be extinguished with water when on fire, attempts to extinguish the fire made the flames worse. Eighty-four people died, making it the deadliest racing accident in motorsport history.

For this reason, Mercedes never built more W196S examples, and the automaker kept the two gullwing-door slicktops in its possession. Having the opportunity to buy one of these cars now makes the $142,000,000 price step almost understandable.

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