Just one week after rumours swept the automotive realm about a record-setting automotive auction, Mercedes-Benz confirmed everything is true. The world's most expensive car is officially the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, of which only two exist. And the price is truly astounding: €135 million, which equals £114.3 million at current exchange rates.
It's a record-setting price that literally doubles the $70 million (£56 million) sale of a Ferrari 250 GTO in 2018. RM Sotheby's facilitated the auction, which took place on May 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. As you can imagine, this was a private, invitation-only event that Mercedes says included "customers and international collectors of cars and art, who share the corporate values of Mercedes-Benz." The identity of the high-bidder remains anonymous, but as part of the deal, the SLR's new owner will make it available for display on special occasions.
With an extra £114 million in its pocket, Mercedes is putting the proceeds from the sale to good use. The company will launch the Mercedes-Benz Fund, a global scholarship programme that will support students at schools and universities engaged in environmental studies.
"With the Mercedes-Benz Fund we would like to encourage a new generation to follow in Rudolf Uhlenhaut's innovative footsteps and develop amazing new technologies, particularly those that support the critical goal of decarbonisation and resource preservation," said Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius. "At the same time, achieving the highest price ever paid for a vehicle is extraordinary and humbling: A Mercedes-Benz is by far the most valuable car in the world."
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe Most Expensive Car
One of two prototypes created in 1955, the SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was basically a road-legal race car that survived Mercedes' exit from the racing scene. Its name stems from Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the SLR's designer and chief engineer who then drove it as his personal company car. This particular Uhlenhaut Coupe was part of the non-public collection of cars maintained by the automaker. The second prototype remains in company hands and is on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.