We're all familiar with some of the great rare cars of the past 100 years—the Tucker Torpedo, the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, the Wagon Queen Family Truckster—but at this point we can safely say that the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut takes the absolute top spot, at least in terms of eye-watering financials:
A 1955 Mercedes-Benz, one of only two of its kind, was auctioned off earlier this month for a whopping 135 million euros ($143 million), making it the most expensive car ever sold, RM Sotheby's announced Thursday.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut was sold to a private collector, the classic car auction company said in a statement, fetching almost triple the previous record price for a car, which was set in 2018 by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that went for over $48 million.
The invitation-only auction took place on May 5 at the MercedesBenz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, the auction house said, adding that the vehicle's high price places it in the "top 10 most valuable items ever sold at auction in any collecting category".
Sooo let me get this straight: Not only did this thing set a world record for cost, it nearly tripled the previous record, and managed to be among the "top 10 most valuable items ever sold at auction?"
Gotta admit, the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut has a pretty sweet profile:
The spirited lines of the body, with its elongated bonnet, were complemented by the striking proportions of the side-mounted exhaust pipes, the air vents and the wire-spoke wheels. The cockpit, with its curved wraparound windscreen, was elegantly sculptured. Rudolf Uhlenhaut referred to his latest automotive work of art as a ‘hot-heeled touring car', and the 300 SLR Coup© lived up to its billing. Weighing only 1117 kilograms yet developing 310 horsepower, the Uhlenhaut Coup© accelerated to a maximum speed approaching 290 km/h in testing (the manufacturer's data showed a top speed of 284 km/h). This made the two-seater the fastest car of its time to be registered for use on public roads, as well as ‘one of the most exciting cars that Mercedes-Benz has ever built,' as motorsport guru Karl Ludvigsen later observed.
However, the lightning-fast SLR Coup© never made it into series production. The Stuttgart-based car maker felt that the mid-1950s was not the right time to bring out a powerful sports tourer of this kind, leaving the road version of the SLR to fall into oblivion. As Mercedes pulled out of motorsport in 1955, the SLR Coup© project was put on ice. Only two prototypes of this masterpiece of power and elegance were ever built and yet this wonderful car had still become a legend in its own right.
Here's some footage of this bad boy going round a track:
I still can't get over the price. $143 MILLION ... for a car.
Something tells me the buyer won't be driving this thing much!
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