The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé sold for €135m by RM Sotheby’s.

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The car, one of just two prototypes built by the Mercedes- Benz racing department, is named after its creator and chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and is considered to be one of the finest examples of automotive engineering and design. Capable of 180mph, it was one of the fastest road-legal cars to have ever been created at the time.

The sale, in a seemingly privately held auction run by RM Sotheby’s with no buyer’s premium, took place at the Mercedes- Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Among the invitees were selected Mercedes customers and international collectors of cars and art.

The successful bidder was a private collector. The hammer price exceeded the previous record for a car sold at auction by more than €90m (held by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold by the same auction house in 2018) and makes this car one of the top 10 most valuable items ever sold at auction. The proceeds will be used to establish a worldwide Mercedes-Benz Fund that will provide educational and research scholarships for young people in the areas of environmental science and decarbonisation.

Oliver Barker, auctioneer and chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said: “What an absolute thrill to bring the hammer down on this masterpiece of design and engineering, which now stands shoulder to shoulder with the greatest works of art ever sold. Few ever dreamt that this great jewel of motoring history would ever come for sale.”