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Has a classic Mercedes just sold for £115 MILLION? Rare 1955 SLR 300 Coupe reportedly becomes the MOST EXPENSIVE CAR EVER at secret auction


  • Classic car market insiders at Hagerty claim the auction took place last week at a top secret, invite-only, event
  • Just 10 uber-rich collectors with suitable wealth were invited to bid on the 1955 Mercedes SLR 300 Coupe
  • Reported £115m paid is more than double the previous record for a car - £52m for a Ferrari 250 GT0 in 2018
  • Only two SLR 300 Coupes were built - they are hard-top versions of the racer Sir Stirling Moss drove to victory at the 1955 Mille Miglia
  • Widely known as the 'Uhlenhaut Coupes' after Mercedes boss Rudolf Uhlenhaut used one as a company car
By ROB HULL FOR THISISMONEY.CO.UK
PUBLISHED: 15:06, 12 May 2022 | UPDATED: 09:12, 20 May 2022

The bar for the most expensive car to ever change hands has been significantly raised in the last few days, if rumours are to be believed.

Mercedes-Benz is said to have parted with one of its treasured Silver Arrows for a reported £115million (€135million) at an invite-only auction held behind closed doors in Germany this month, according to classic car market insiders at Hagerty.

The motor in question is believed to be a 1955 300 SLR, which is one of just two built.
The German car maker has refused to confirm the sale, though if true the purchase price is more than double the figure paid for the former most expensive motor in history.

The most expensive 'confirmed' sale price for a car is for another Ferrari 250 GTO bought in 2018, which sold at RM Sotheby's Monterey sale in California that year, with the hammer dropping at $48.4million (£37.5million).
If the rumoured Mercedes sale price is accurate then it is three times the all-time auction record.


The ultra-rare SLR 300 Coupe is claimed to have changed hands at an invite-only event conducted by a renowned auction house and hosted by Mercedes-Benz at its museum in Stuttgart the last week. Here is one of the cars pictured at Goodwood in 2013


The SLR 300 Coupe is powered by a roaring 3.0-litre straight eight-cylinder engine that produces a claimed 310bhp and top speed in the region of 180mph. It uses a lightweight aluminium body and features Mercedes' iconic gullwing doors



The previous record price for a car is believed to be a sum of £52m for a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO bought privately in 2018 (left). The most expensive 'confirmed' sale price for a car is for another Ferrari 250 GTO (right) bought in 2018, which sold at RM Sotheby's Monterey sale in California that year, with the hammer dropping at £37.5m

The ultra-rare Silver Arrows is claimed to have changed hands at an invite-only event conducted by a renowned auction house and hosted by Mercedes-Benz at its museum in Stuttgart the last week.

Invitees are also believed to be long-standing customers and known collectors of classic Mercedes models, and therefore have the understanding of how to care for such a rare piece of four-wheeled history.
It is also believed that buyers had to agree to continue taking the car to events and displays in the future - and not to sell it in for a designated period of time.

These potential buyers are believed to have been flown to the sale by private jet on 6 May, with the museum doors closed for the entirety of that day while the auction took place.

Hagerty says it has approached both Mercedes-Benz and the auction house - which it will not name - to confirm the event, with both declining to comment on the record-busting figure.

The reported record-price car is believed to be one of only two SLR 300 Coupes built in 1955 as hardtop versions of the roofless racing car Sir Stirling Moss drove to victory at the 1955 Mille Miglia - arguably his most famous crown.
The SLR 300 Coupe is powered by a roaring 3.0-litre straight eight-cylinder engine that produces a claimed 310bhp and top speed in the region of 180mph.

It uses a lightweight aluminium body and features Mercedes' iconic gullwing doors.

It is the car that inspired Mercedes to work with McLaren in the early noughties to create the iconic SLR supercar range, which included a convertible 722 Edition (the famed race number of the Moss car at Mille Miglia) and the SLR Stirling Moss - a roofless speedster without a windscreen, of which 75 were created in the legendary British racer's name.



The 1955 Mille Miglia victory is still considered Sir Stirling Moss' greatest win. The average speed achieved in the '722' car (which stands for the time he set off in the endurance race) was a record and he became one of only two non-Italian drivers to take victory in event's 23-year history


The 1955 SLR 300 Coupe (left) pictured outside Goodwood House in 2013 next to an SLS AMG GT (right), which was is another modern-era Mercedes sports car that was heavily influenced by the classic model


While the original cars were designed in 1955 with the intention to compete in endurance events, neither were raced.
That's because the coupe was under development when motorsport's most tragic crash occurred, which is the darkest day in Mercedes-Benz's history.

Disaster struck during the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 11 June 1955 - one month after Moss' famous win in Italy.
While occupying first and second place, one of the team cars collided with an Austin Healy on the start-finish straight and was propelled into the crowd, killing 83 spectators and injuring another 100.

The devastating accident sparked Mercedes' retirement from racing for the next three decades, with the Silver Arrows only officially returning to the track in 1989.

The pair of prototype cars then under development were completed in 1955, despite there being no intention for them to be raced.

The original SLR 300 Coupe widely became known in the classic car world as the 'Uhlenhaut Coupes'. That's because Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the boss of Mercedes’ Test Department, used one as a company car - as seen pictured here


The 300 SLR Coupe was the fastest known closed-roof vehicle in 1955 and is said to have hit its maximum speed of 178mph during frequent autobahn runs

They widely became known in the classic car world as the 'Uhlenhaut Coupes'.
That's because Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the boss of Mercedes’ Test Department, used one as a company car.
The 300 SLR Coupe was the fastest known closed-roof vehicle at the time and is said to have hit its maximum speed of 178mph during frequent autobahn runs.

While neither coupe ever raced during their period, they have made numerous public appearances since, including a hair-raising hill-climb run at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed Media Day, piloted by German racing driver, Jochen Mass.

Hagerty sources believe the coveted car sold for a record sum is chassis number 0008/55 - the second of the 300 SLR Coupes built.

'Rumours abound as to the identity of the buyer, with some suggesting it is a well-known figure from Britain’s automotive industry and a long-standing collector of specialist cars,' Hagerty says.
'With interest rates rising rapidly, this purchase could be seen as a wise investment for someone with the means,' it added.

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Amazing what adding quality RWD a v8 and lot of classic mojo can do the long term residuals of some cars.

Mercedes Gull wing coupe has always been my favourite Mercedes Benz car of all time, funny thing though l have never owned a Mercedes Benz but few of my relatives, friends & neighbour that own them absolutely love them.

Would scared to drive this one though, just in case l had an accident.
 

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Meh...I could find better things to do with that money besides waste it on an ugly, can't be driven car. ;) ;)

This poor car is one of many that are stuck in its own private hell. Just being transfered from one temp controlled garage to another until the end of "civilization".

The only thing worse would be coming back as a gutless FWDCUV.
 

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That's just insane. No car on the planet is objectively worth that kind of money.
Less insane than the price paid for the Andy Warhol print which was USD195. At least you can drive this if you choose to (depending on how it was financed) and it will not be hidden away as the owner has agreed that it will be shown.
 
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