03 June 2022
On 5 May 2022, the sale of the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé at an auction held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
The bidding topped out at £115million, which more than doubles the previous record holder for the most valuable car.
The previous record-holder for the most expensive car was a 1963 Ferrari 250GTO purchased for £55.6 million in 2018 by WeatherTech founder and CEO David MacNeil.
The Mercedes-Benz racing department only built two prototypes; the cars were named after its creator and chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. The 300 SLR is felt by many to be ‘the most beautiful car in the world.’
The car was one of only two created and based on the hugely successful W 196 R Grand Prix car, which won two World Championships in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio but with its engine enlarged to 3.0 litres.
At the height of its most successful period of racing dominance in the 1950s, Mercedes-Benz reigned supreme. The German company made a Formula 1 Drivers’ Champion out of Juan Manual Fangio on consecutive occasions in 1954 and 1955.
Stirling Moss drove a convertible 300 SLR to numerous victories, including the Mille Miglia, Targa Floria and RAC Tourist Trophy in 1955,
On 11 June 1955, at Le Mans, a tragedy occurred, a fatal accident; French driver Pierre Levegh was at the wheel of the incredibly fast 300 SLR, hit the Austin Healey 100S driver Lance Macklin, and the collision launched Levegh and the car.
The car hit the ground and disintegrated, killing Levegh and blasting debris into the spectators, killing 83 spectators and injuring a further 180.
This incident is the most catastrophic accident in motor racing history. Mercedes-Benz immediately retired from motor racing; they eventually returned to the sport in 1989.