German auto maker Mercedes-Benz confirmed on Thursday that it sold a 1955 Mercedes-Benz SLR coupe for a record €135 million, equivalent of $142 million.
The sale, first reported by Hagerty Insider, happened on May 5 at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany, during an auction event secretly attended by some of the world’s richest car collectors.
The winning bid was made by British car collector, advisor and dealer Simon Kidston on behalf of an unnamed client.
The sale of the ultra-rare historic car has now set a new all-time record price paid for a car, eclipsing both the $70 million that WeatherTech founder David MacNeil reportedly paid in a private sale for a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO in 2018 and the $48.4 million that a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO went for at an RM Sotheby’s auction the same year.
Named after its creator and chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the 67-year-old car is considered to be one of the finest examples of automotive engineering and design by automotive experts. It reportedly has a top speed of 186 mph.
Mercedes-Benz said in a statement that the money from the sale will be used to establish the Mercedes-Benz Fund – a global scholarship fund.
“The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes are milestones in sports car development and key historical elements that have shaped our brand. The decision to sell one of these two unique sports cars was taken with very sound reasoning – to benefit a good cause. The proceeds from the auction will fund a global scholarship program. 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,” says Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Group AG. “At the same time, achieving the highest price ever paid for a vehicle is extraordinary and humbling: A Mercedes-Benz is by far the most valuable car in the world.”
“As a global company and as a luxury brand we bear a great level of responsibility towards society,” says Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG for Integrity and Legal Affairs, who is responsible for the governance of the “Mercedes-Benz Fund”. “The proceeds from the sale of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe provide us with a unique opportunity to strengthen our commitment with a long-term flagship project: We will establish the global scholarship program “Mercedes-Benz Fund” supporting young people in their studies, commitment and actions towards a more sustainable future. We are convinced that access to education in these areas will be crucial in encountering the great challenges of our time and contribute to greater stability, prosperity and social cohesion.”
The auto giant said that the other Uhlenhaut Coupe will remain in the Museum’s collection.
“Their racing cars from the 1930s and 1950s are rare, and most are still owned by the factory, so any that come to market are highly sought after,” said Brian Rabold, vice president for automotive intelligence at Hagerty.