$143 Million – Most Expensive Car Ever Sold

Imagine paying $143 million for one car. That’s exactly what one very rich private car collector paid for this 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé. It is the most expensive car ever sold.

RM Sotheby’s announced it auctioned off this 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe for 135 million euros, or $143 million USD at the current exchange rate. This is the highest price ever paid for a car, beating the previous auction record holder, a Ferrari 250 GTO, by over $95 million and topped the $70 million price for a car sold privately (also a Ferrari GTO).

The sale, first reported by Hagerty Insider, took place May 5 in a secretive and highly unusual auction at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Only a select number of collectors and Mercedes-Benz’s best customers were invited to attend.

The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is one of only two created in 1955 and is regarded as one of the most prized cars in automotive history. The car was named after its chief engineer and designer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut.

Uhlenhaut designed the car based on the Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Grand Prix car, which won two World Championships with driver Juan Manuel Fangio. The 300 SLR had a larger, 3.0-liter engine and was able to reach 180 mph, making it one of the fastest road-legal cars at the time.

What makes this sale so unique is it wasn’t a private collector selling a car to another private collector. The car has never been sold before. It belonged to Mercedes-Benz and was part of their classic collection. Mercedes decided to auction off the car to raise seed money for their new Mercedes-Bezn Fund.

The Mercedes-Benz Fund will provide University Scholarships in order to connect, educate and encourage students to realize/conduct research on environmental science projects and School Scholarships focussing on pupils to realize local environmental projects in their communities. With $143 million, the fund is off to a good start!

“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.” – Ola Källenius Chairman Mercedes-Benz Group AG

While this SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé will be locked away in some private collector’s vault and probably never seen again, the other SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé that Mercedes own is still on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Better to go see it before Mercedes decide to sell that one off too.