135 million euros for a 1955 Mercedes 300 SLR


We thought the unbeatable Ferrari 250 GTO, and yet! A recent car sale has just proven that there are other models capable of surpassing the beautiful Italian, and by far, in car auction values. A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, of which there are only two examples, was sold in early May for 135 million euros, an absolute world record for a collector’s car, the RM house announced on Thursday May 19. Sotheby’s. The 1955 Mercedes Coupé 300 SLR Uhlenhaut was sold on May 5 at a confidential auction at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany, in cooperation between Sotheby’s subsidiary for luxury cars and the German automaker.

At a price of 135 million euros, this Mercedes was sold almost triple the previous record held since 2018 by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold in 2018 by RM Sotheby’s for more than 48 million dollars (45 million euros) , also by RM Sotheby’s at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It is not the only Mercedes that is among the ranking of the most expensive collector’s models sold at auction. In 2013, a W196, Formula 1 dating from 1954, was auctioned for nearly 30 million dollars by Bonhams, during a sale organized at Goodwood.

Three times more expensive than the Ferrari 250 GTO

The 300 SLR coupé can be considered the road version of the W196. Developed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut, engineer responsible for the competition department of the German manufacturer, it advances a mechanical pedigree clearly superior to the mythical 300 SL, renowned for its famous butterfly doors, whose value on the market of the collection is already counted in millions, especially for versions with aluminum body. The rarity of the model comes into play in the value, but the low frequency of sales even more: this is the first time that such a model has changed hands, since the two copies have always been the property of the manufacturer. This auction bodes well for other nine-figure auctions in the future, for models of obvious historical interest, such as the Bugatti Atlantic.

Beyond this exceptional auction for a collector’s car, the Mercedes 300 SLR « now places itself in the top 10 of the most expensive objects ever sold at auction », specified RM Sotheby’s in a press release published Thursday in London and passed on to New York by parent company Sotheby’s, which is holding its spring auction for works of art this week. Oliver Barker, president of Sotheby’s Europe quoted in the press release, said he felt « an absolute thrill to have struck the auction hammer for this masterpiece of design and engineering, which now measures itself against the most great works of art never sold ».

6th or 7th most expensive object in the world

In fact, according to a ranking established by AFP of works of art sold at auction in recent years, mainly in New York, the absolute record is held by Leonardo da Vinci’s « Salvator Mundi », sold in November 2017 for 450 .3 million by Christie’s in New York. Next is Andy Warhol’s « Shot Sage Blue Marilyn » which fetched $195 million at Christie’s on May 9, becoming the most expensive 20th century work of art ever sold at public auction. For works from the 20th century, « The Women of Algiers (version 0) » by Pablo Picasso (179.4 million dollars in May 2015) and the « Nu reclining » by Amedeo Modigliani (170.4 million in November 2015 ), were both sold at Christie’s. According to this ranking of works of art sold at auction for more than 100 million dollars, the Mercedes sold on May 5 by RM Sotheby’s and qualified as « the most beautiful car in the world » thus ranks 6th or 7th place.

The car, which was owned, like the second example, by Mercedes-Benz, was sold to a private collector and the proceeds of the sale « will be used to set up an international Mercedes-Benz fund for scholarships and research training for young people in environmental science and decarbonization, » according to RM Sotheby’s. The private buyer of the Coupé 300 SLR Uhlenhaut has agreed to present his vehicle to the public during exceptional events, while the other copy will remain the property of Mercedes-Benz, which will continue to exhibit it in its museum in Stuttgart. The name of the final collector is unknown, but the transaction was carried out through Simon Kidston, an English specialist in very high-end collector cars.

(With AFP)


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