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1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is the most expensive car in the world

One of two 300 SLR Uhlenhauts has been sold from Merc’s own collection for £114,000,000

The most expensive car in the world is now officially a Mercedes-Benz, with news one of its cherished 300 SLR Uhlenhauts has been sold to an unnamed collector for an astonishing £114million (€135million). This transaction makes it significantly more expensive than the previous record holder, a Ferrari 250 GTO LM that was previously sold for $70million (USD), a car which in this world is dreadfully common by comparison.

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The 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut’, as it’s colloquially known, was created by Merc’s then racing engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut as one of two prototypes based on Juan Manual Fangio’s championship-winning W 196 R racer. 

At the time, it was the fastest car in the world, capable of reaching 180mph due to its larger 2982cc in-line eight-cylinder engine that produced around 310bhp. This engine was the key differentiating factor between it and the classic 300SL Gullwing, which used a smaller six-cylinder engine and four-speed manual transmission. 

Two Uhlenhaut prototypes were built, and both were also road legal, with this specific example eventually used by Uhlenhaut as his company car, famously getting him between Stuttgart and Munich in under two hours at a distance of 167 miles when he was running late for a meeting. 

The Uhlenhaut is revered for many other reasons, and aside from its incredible capabilities in period is also celebrated as one of the most beautiful cars ever built, capitalising on the 300SL’s underlying design with a sleeker front end and its iconic offset bonnet bulge. 

The proceeds of the sale are due to go into a charitable fund being set up by Mercedes-Benz that will provide educational and research scholarships in the fields of environmental science and decarbonisation. 

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