Sotheby’s auction house has confirmed that one of two Mercedes 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe has sold for €135 million, making it the most expensive car ever sold at auction.
The example sold has chassis number 196.110-00008/55 and is the second of two examples produced. The car was built in December 1955 and was ready to be driven on 29 June 1956. The car was kept by Mercedes who used it for demonstration events with Duke of Kent and Lord Brabazon and between 1961 and 1963 it went to Mercedes USA for other events. After 1965 it was exhibited by Mercedes at various company events.
Between January and July 1986 the car was sent for restoration to specialist Tony Merrick and all the invoices issued for the restoration exist in original form as well as an official Technical Condition Report.After restoration, the car participated in the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in August 1986, then appeared in an article in the American magazine Road&Track and was exhibited in 1988 at the Geneva Motor Show.
Subsequently, Mercedes 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was exhibited at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the 1999 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2001 before appearing in the Mercedes SLR McLaren launch brochure in 2003.
The auctioning of this car is a major event as there are only two examples in the world and neither has ever been privately owned. It is probably the first and last case in which a car that belonged to a manufacturer for decades is sold to a private individual. Mercedes will certainly not sell the second example.
For understandable reasons, Sotheby’s and Mercedes have not revealed the name of the buyer. The car was sold for 135 million euros and the Sotheby’s press release was not sent to the press until 19 May 2022, although the press release has the date of 5 May on it. The sale was conducted in the utmost secrecy.