Chassis 196.110-00008/55 was the second of only two examples of the ‘Uhlenhaut Coupé’ ever made and it has been retained by Mercedes-Benz since the first time it left the factory on June 29th of 1956. In the earliest years of its existence, the car served to fulfil demonstration drives around Europe with dignitaries such as the Duke of Kent and Lord Brabazon, and is known to have been used by the company in the U.S.A. between 1961 and 1963. From the mid-1960s onwards, the 300 SLR was exhibited by Mercedes-Benz at numerous events.
Between January to July 1986, the car was given a restoration, and after the work was completed, it attended the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in August 1986, before appearing in a feature article in Road & Track magazine, later appearing at the Geneva International Motor Show in 1988. It was further displayed at a number of noteworthy museums, along with the occasional appearance at high-level motorsport and concours d’elegance events, including outings at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the 1999 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2001, as well as appearing in the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren brochure when launched in 2003.
The Mercedes-Benz remains a significant milestone in its history, and at the forefront of the marque’s global marketing campaigns.
The sale of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé took place on May 5th at an auction held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, with RM Sotheby’s working in close cooperation with Mercedes-Benz throughout the entire process to ensure the sale was concluded to the highest possible standard. Among the invitees were selected Mercedes customers and international collectors of cars and art who share the corporate values of Mercedes-Benz.
The winning bid on the car was an incredible €135,000,000, making it the most valuable car ever sold and a price which exceeds the existing record by more the €90,000,000. In what felt like a surreal experience, the bidding opened at a price higher than the selling price of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold by RM Sotheby’s in 2018, the car which previously ranked as the most valuable ever sold at auction. The 300 SLR now sits in the top ten most valuable items ever sold at auction. The proceeds will be used to establish a worldwide ‘Mercedes-Benz Fund’ that will provide educational and research scholarships in the areas of environmental science and decarbonisation for young people.
‘We are proud that we can contribute with our historical collection to this initiative connecting the past with the future of engineering and decarbonisation technology’, says Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Heritage. ‘The private buyer has agreed that the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé will remain accessible for public display on special occasions, while the second original 300 SLR Coupé remains in company ownership and will continue to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.’
Speaking on behalf of RM Sotheby’s, Peter Wallman, Chairman, UK & EMEA, said: ‘Words can’t really do justice to the importance and significance of this sale. It’s reasonable to say that nobody ever imagined that this car would ever be offered for sale, so for Mercedes-Benz to ask RM Sotheby’s to conduct the auction was an absolute honour.’
Oliver Barker, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said ‘What an absolute thrill to bring the hammer down on this masterpiece of design and engineering, which now stands shoulder to shoulder with the greatest works of art ever sold. Few ever dreamt that this great jewel of motoring history would ever come for sale, and how fitting that it should happen now, just as we embark on a new and exciting chapter with our partners at RM Sotheby’s.