1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé

A car so rare it fetched a record-breaking price at a recent auction, making it the world's most expensive automobile.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé Photo by Mercedes-Benz Classic Archives

A Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé from 1955 has been auctioned to a private collector for a record price of 135 million EUR. 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 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupés 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," says Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Group AG. "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."

Seed capital for scholarship programs from proceeds
The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé auction proceeds serve as seed capital for the global initiative. Mercedes-Benz is committed to investing additional resources in the coming years. The “Mercedes Benz Fund” will be divided into two sub-categories: University Scholarships to connect, educate and encourage students to realize/research environmental science projects and School Scholarships focussing on pupils to realize local environmental projects in their communities. The program funds will be directed to individuals who otherwise do not have the financial means for their projects and career paths. The program will go beyond financially supporting the young people and include extracurricular elements like Mercedes-Benz mentorships opening up new career prospects. The "Mercedes Benz Fund" will be jointly developed with and managed by an experienced partner, which is currently being evaluated. The detailed set-up, roll-out planning, and partner organization will be announced later this year.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé

History and auction of 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé
The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé sale took place on May 5th 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 Coupé sold at auction was part of the non-public vehicle collection belonging to Mercedes-Benz Classic, comprising more than 1100 automobiles from the invention of the automobile in 1886 until today.

"We are proud that we can contribute with our historical collection to this initiative connecting the past with the future of engineering and decarbonization 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."

The exceptional circumstances behind its creation, its unique design, and its innovative technology have endowed the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé with a remarkable level of charisma that endures to this day. The method of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé 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. Together, both have secured the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé, its acclaimed position in sports car mythology, and an extraordinary place in the hearts of Mercedes fans worldwide.

Mathias Haegglund Code Collector, Globetrotter, and Occasional Gamer.