On Thursday, the most expensive vehicle in the world just sold for $142 million. A unique 1955 Mercedes-Benz SLR coupe that has been preserved by the luxury auto manufacturer to a private owner was their most lucrative sale yet.
Hagerty, a firm that keeps tabs on collector car values, said the price hails it as the most expensive car known ever to be sold.
According to Mercedes, the sale proceeds will go towards establishing the Mercedes-Benz Fund, a worldwide scholarship fund.
The previous record for the highest price ever paid at auction was $70 million, which was achieved in 2018 when a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO went under the hammer.
The sold Mercedes vehicle was among the only two 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe models. The cars, 67 years old, were named after Mercedes’ then-chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and are said to have the highest speed of 186 mph.
According to a statement from Mercedes, the other Uhlenhaut Coupe is set to remain at the Museum.
“Their racing cars from the 1930s and 1950s are rare, and most are still owned by the factory, so any that come to market are highly sought after,” stated vice president of automotive intelligence at Hagerty, Brian Rabold.
Models from Mercedes, such as the “Gullwing” SLRs – dubbed due to their doors that hang in the air like curved wings – are deemed to be one of the most desirable vehicles in the world. And several varieties of unique and racing versions are particularly valuable.
The SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was a hard-top version of Mercedes’ highly-coveted open-topped SLR racing car, powered by a 300-horsepower eight-cylinder engine. The deliberation was that a closed car would protect drivers better from wind and weather at top speeds, and the closed roof would also upgrade aerodynamics.
Mercedes ended its involvement in motorsports after creating these vehicles, so they have never been used competitively.
Despite the company not identifying the car’s new owner, British classic car dealer Simon Kidston said in a press release to have put a winning bid at the behest of a customer.