Some cars are considered works of art and exhibited in museums, such as the Citrën DS or the Jaguar E-Type at MoMA in New York. But few reach the price of works of art to use. Yes, the 41.6 million euros of the Ferrari 250 GTO de 1963 or the 23 million euros per unit of the Rolls-Royce Boat Tailbring them closer to the sphere of works of art.
But that’s chump change compared to the €135 million (about 142 million dollars) that someone has paid for a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Silver Arrow from 1955the ‘Gull Wings‘ original, according to account in Hagerty.
It is such a high price that it not only makes it the most expensive car in history, but also places it in a range that surpasses many paintings by artists such as Van Gogh, Modigliani, Andy Warhol or Pablo Picasso.
Specifically, this Mercedes 300 SLR has the same market value as the famous 1895 painting by Edvard Munch, ‘The Scream’. Currently, it is valued at 141.5 million dollars (just over 136 million euros). Okay, we’re nowhere near the $450 million someone paid for Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’, the most expensive painting in history.
This time it is not an auction but a private sale. And the seller would be none other than Mercedes-Benz itself. Rumors, because it’s not confirmed yet, from multiple Hagerty sources suggest that Mercedes-Benz has sold one of its prized silver arrows for 135 million euros.
The sale, carried out by a broker on behalf of Mercedes-Benz, brought together a dozen collectors, who were not only rich enough to bid, but also met the strict criteria established by the German manufacturer.
The company wanted to ensure that any buyer of the car in question would take care of it with the same care and attention as Mercedes, while continuing to show the car at events and not selling it to a third party outright.
The most expensive car in history is a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut
Thus, if true, Mercedes-Benz would have separated from one of its most emblematic models (and not only for mercedes), a Mercedes ‘Gullwing’ racing car from 1955. At the time, Mercedes-Benz dominated the World Sport Championship with the 300 SLR (W196S). Among his epic victories, that of Stirling Moss and Dennis Jenkinson in the 1955 Mille Miglia.
But it is a model also marked by tragedy. At the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, Pierre Levegh’s 300 SLR collided with Lance Mackin’s Austin-Healey as he entered the finish straight, hurling him into the stands in a ball of iron and fire. It caused the death of 84 spectators and led to Mercedes abandoning the competition altogether for the next three decades. Was the worst accident in history of motor sports.
Mercedes also made two 1956 hardtop 300 SLRs known as Uhlenhaut coupes, after the head of the testing department, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. It was his company car, basically. In Hagerty they are almost certain that the car he would have sold Mercedes-Benz is the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut chassis no. 0008/55.
The Mercedes 300 SLR Ulenhaut is basically a model based on the Formula 1 W196 from the 1954 and 1955 seasons. It used the same 8-cylinder in-line, but whose displacement was increased to 2,982 cc. In addition, it released direct injection. develop 302 hp at 7,500 rpm and could reach 290 km/h.
At the time of writing, Mercedes-Benz had not made the sale official or revealed the identity of the buyer. “It could be a well-known figure in the British car industry,” suggests Hagerty.