The Mercedes sold was one of only two 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé prototypes. The 67-year-old cars were named after then-Mercedes chief engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and are said to have a top speed of 186 mph. It was sold at a closed, invitation-only auction at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart on May 5. The auction was organized in cooperation with 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 1930s and 1950s race cars are rare, and most are still factory-owned, so any that come to market are highly sought after,” said Brian Rabold, vice president of automotive intelligence at Hagerty.
Mercedes’ The “Gullwing” SLRs – so called because of the doors that stick up like curved wings – are considered one of the most desirable cars in the world. And various rare and racing versions are particularly valuable.
The SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was essentially a hardtop version of Mercedes’ famous open-top SLR race car, powered by a 300 horsepower eight-cylinder engine. The idea was that a closed car would better protect drivers from wind and weather at high speeds, while the closed roof would also improve aerodynamics.
Soon after the development of these cars, Mercedes stopped their involvement in motorsport, so the cars were never used in competition.
While the identity of the car’s new owners remains unknown, British classic car dealer Simon Kidston claimed in a press release that they placed the winning bid on behalf of a customer.