The US$142 million that Mercedes made off this 1955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé’s sale will fund a brand new schooling non-profit
Mercedes-Benz simply knocked Ferrari off the blue-chip automotive collector throne.
A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé bought for €135 million (US$142 million, about CDN$182 million) in a secret public sale in Germany on Could 5, Mercedes-Benz Chairman Ola Källenius has confirmed. Whereas higher-priced offers could have taken place privately, the sale by the automotive firm crushed the earlier public document of US$48.4 million paid in 2018 for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO at an RM Sotheby’s public sale.
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“We [wanted], with one single act, to display the facility of the Mercedes model,” Källenius says throughout an interview on Could 18 close to Monte Carlo. The arrow-shaped silver coupe, one among solely two produced, was by no means privately owned till the sale.
“That automotive is 100 per cent value what it bought for—and a few individuals would inform you even that quantity was low,” says Stephen Serio, an automotive dealer who sources uncommon vehicles for extremely high-net-worth purchasers. “No one ever thought Mercedes would promote it.”
Källenius declines to call the winner of the public sale, which was carried out by Ontario, Canada-based RM Sotheby’s and included roughly a dozen invited bidders at Mercedes’s museum and archive in Stuttgart, Germany. A number of Swiss-Italian, English, and American longtime Mercedes-Benz collectors had been floated as attainable consumers for what can be any collector’s Moby-Dick of a automotive. However he says he was more than happy with the end result, a sum that put the model “on a distinct planet” from competitor Ferrari.
The worth of the SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé derives from its extraordinary rarity and its significance to the origin story of the Mercedes model. A descendant of the so-called Silver Arrow vehicles that dominated automotive racing within the Nineteen Thirties, the front-engined 300 SLR was intently primarily based on the eight-cylinder Mercedes-Benz W196 Method One automotive pushed by Argentine star Juan Manuel Fangio to win world championships in 1954 and 1955. Nevertheless it had a good larger, 3.0-liter engine; and the moniker “SLR,” which got here from the German time period sport leicht rennen (“sport gentle racing”).
Of the 9 300 SLR vehicles manufactured, two have been particular SLR “Uhlenhaut Coupé” prototypes named after Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Mercedes’s take a look at division head. He drove one as an organization automotive; Mercedes-Benz squirreled the second away within the firm vault.
“The rationale for a excessive value would merely be that they’re by no means bought,” stated Karl Ludvigsen, the writer of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix W196 : Spectacular Silver Arrows, 1954-1955, in a Hagerty report in regards to the automobile. He characterised the public sale as a “big sensation.”
The automotive will stay on show with the second SLR coupe on the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart, Källenius says, which was a situation of the sale. The brand new proprietor will be capable to drive it often, a spokesperson confirms.
Whereas it units a considerable new benchmark for the value of what some collectors name a chunk of architectural historical past, the sale of the Uhlenhaut Coupé can’t dent the breadth and worth of Ferrari collectible vehicles, Serio says. Ferrari counts a slew of seven- and eight-figure icons in its eminent roster, from a US$38.1 million 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta and a US$35.7 million 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti; to a US$22 million 1956 Ferrari 290 MM.
“You may depend on two palms what number of Mercedes are Ferrari-level helpful,” Serio says. “When it comes to sheer quantity of high-figure vehicles, Ferrari has it. However by way of bragging rights, I don’t suppose there’s something that can ever beat this excessive quantity. There isn’t an opportunity.”
Proceeds of the sale will probably be used as seed cash to ascertain the Mercedes-Benz Fund, a nonprofit entity managed throughout the firm to offer instructional scholarships in fields referring to sustainability, engineering, math, and science.