By Lee Bullen
A rare Mercedes Uhlenhaut Coupe from 1955 – one of only two ever made – has been sold at auction for a record-breaking $144 million.
The auction took place at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in the German city of Stuttgart on May 5.
The company’s CEO Ola Kallenius said the classic car “achieved the highest price ever paid for a vehicle.”
In a statement obtained by Zenger News, the German automobile company said on May 19: “A Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe from 1955 has been sold at auction for a record price of 135 million euros [$144 million] to a private collector.
“This icon of automotive history is an absolute rarity – one of just two prototypes built at the time. Named after its creator and chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, it is considered to be one of the finest examples of automotive engineering and design by automotive experts and enthusiasts worldwide.”
The statement by Mercedes-Benz continued: “The sale of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe took place on May 5 at an auction held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in cooperation with renowned auctioneer RM Sotheby’s.
“The invitees were among selected Mercedes-Benz customers and international collectors of cars and art, who share the corporate values of Mercedes-Benz.
“The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe sold at auction was part of the non-public vehicle collection belonging to Mercedes-Benz Classic, comprising more than 1,100 automobiles from the invention of the automobile in 1886 until today.
“The special circumstances behind its creation, its unique design and its innovative technology have endowed the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe with a remarkable level of mystique that endures to this day.
“The design of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe set benchmarks that put it among the world’s most significant automotive icons – not least on account of its distinctive “gullwing” doors. Added to this is the outstanding performance delivered by its thoroughbred racing technology.”
Ola Kallenius, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, said: “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.
“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.”
Marcus Breitschwerdt, head of Mercedes Benz Heritage, said. “The private buyer has agreed that the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe will remain accessible for public display on special occasions, while the second original 300 SLR Coupe remains in company ownership and will continue to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.”
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