A 1956 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut” coupé was allegedly sold to a private collector in Stuttgart | Source: Motorist
There are few cars more desirable than a Mercedes Benz, they are the pinnacle of sophistication, design and quality construction with a reputation as the most luxurious brand in the world. While most of their new models sell for over A$100,000, according to specialist insurance firm Hagerty, a classic 1956 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut” coupé has set a new record not just for a Mercedes but for no other. any car ever sold to a British billionaire. for A$290 million, becoming the most expensive car ever sold.
With a top speed of 290 km/h, it was by far the fastest car in production at the time, but only two were made. Destined to become a hardtop production version of its famous 300 SLR race car, Mercedes not only halted production but pulled out of motor racing altogether after being involved in one of the motor racing incidents. deadliest in the history of Le Mans, killing 83 spectators.
The buyer remained anonymous, but Mercedes said he was “a well-known figure in the British motor industry and a long-time collector of specialist cars”. Ten very wealthy car collectors were flown to Stuttgart for the auction and participated under strict conditions, including a guarantee that the buyer would not resell the vehicle and a willingness to continue showing the car during events.
The styling of the 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut” coupé is unique and a very influential design which would see many imitators and influenced the future Mercedes as well as other famous models such as the Jaguar E-type. Under the hood, it’s just as unique as it is on the outside. A 3.0-litre straight-eight petrol engine produced 228kW with 317Nm of torque to the rear wheels, impressive specs at the time. It has a five-speed manual transmission, allowing the car to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.7 seconds.
Although there have been reports of other cars including Ferraris and a Bugatti selling more than the Uhlenhaut, these reports have never been verified. The previous record for the sale of a car was A$70 million, paid for a blue 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in 2017.
The Third Reich played an important role in funding earlier iterations of the famous “Silver Arrows” line of racing cars and they dominated Grand Prix racing for many years until the war. Mercedes returned to what is now Formula 1 with the streamlined-bodied W196 which won 9 of 12 races in the early 1950s.
The ten most expensive cars ever sold have changed hands over the last ten years and this example is by far the most expensive. If the rumors about the sale are true, there is a gap of A$134 million between the sale of this car and the next most expensive car ever sold.
One of only two ever produced, the sale of this car represents a huge leap in the valuation of older vehicles, mainly due to the fact that it is incredibly rare. There are other rare supercars that may exceed this car’s value in the future, but if the reports are accurate, Mercedes now holds the record.