A 1955 Mercedes Sold for a Record-Breaking $142 Million at Auction

Photo: RM Sotheby's | Mercedes-Benz AG

It was a normal day at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany on May 5. Well, relatively normal until a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé crossed the auction block and bidding opened at €50,000,000 (~$52,778,750) — over a half a million dollars higher than the record-holding Ferrari sold at auction back in 2018. Suddenly, the room bustled with energy.

The ‘55 Mercedes ended up selling that day through a private RM Sotheby’s auction for €135,000,000 (~$142,502,625), making it the new auto auction record holder, by far, even adjusted for inflation, and nearly doubling the previous record for the most valuable car eve sold. This also landed the SLR Mercedes on the top ten list of any items sold at auction, where it joins the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi and a​​ pearl pendant owned by Marie Antoinette.

Any rationally-minded person might inquire why it is that a car would sell for upwards of $140 million, other than the fact that it has gullwing doors. Those prices are usually reserved for prolific pieces of art or one-of-a-kind artifacts. Well, you wouldn’t be far off when it came to this special 300 SLR. This 1955 Mercedes has been long considered the most beautiful car of all time, designed by its namesake Rudolf Uhlenhaut, chief engineer at the German luxury manufacturer back in the day. At the time, it was the fastest road-going automobile ever made, topping out at around 290km/h. There were only two produced, which have been in the possession of Mercedes-Benz since. No one ever thought it possible to own this prized jewel until now.

The proceeds from the auction will go toward the Mercedes-Benz Fund, which will provide scholarships for research and education for young people in the areas of environmental science and decarbonization.

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Photo: RM Sotheby’s | Mercedes-Benz AG
Photo: RM Sotheby’s | Mercedes-Benz AG
Photo: RM Sotheby’s | Mercedes-Benz AG