A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut Coupé” has smashed the record for most expensive car sold at auction, selling for an astonishing €135 million or nearly US$142.9 million. While higher-priced deals may have taken place privately, the sale by the car company crushed the previous public record of $48.4 million paid in 2018 for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO at an RM Sotheby’s auction.
Mercedes is putting the proceeds from the sale to good use. The company will launch the Mercedes-Benz Fund, a global scholarship program that will support students at schools and universities engaged in environmental studies.
“With the “Mercedes-Benz Fund” we would like to encourage a new generation to follow in Rudolf Uhlenhaut’s innovative footsteps and develop amazing new technologies, particularly those that support the critical goal of decarbonization and resource preservation,” said Mercedes-Benz Group CEO Ola Källenius.
The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is one of only two created in 1955 and is regarded as one of the most prized cars in auto history. Based on the W 196 R Grand Prix car, which won several world championships at the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio, the 300 SLR was designed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut and carries his name.
The 300 SLR had a larger, 3.0-liter engine and was able to reach 180 mph, making it one of the fastest road-legal cars at the time.
Oliver Barker, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said in a separate statement that the car “now stands shoulder to shoulder with the greatest works of art ever sold.”