An incredibly rare Mercedes-Benz has sold for a jaw-dropping $142 million, making it the most expensive vehicle in the world.
Widely known as the “Mona Lisa of Cars,” the 1955 Mercedes 300 SLR Coupe was purchased this month in a secret, invite-only auction conducted by RM Sotheby’s. The car was designed by Daimler-Benz motorsport chief Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and was only one of two ever built. It was previously owned by Mercedes-Benz, which reportedly had no plans to sell it—that is, until Simon Kidston got involved.
The British car dealer secured the winning bid at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. He told Forbes he purchased the coupe on behalf of a client, after spending a year and half trying to convince the car-maker to put it up for auction.
“If you had asked classic car experts and top collectors over the past half a century to name the most desirable car in the world, there’s a good chance that they would have come up with the same model: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR,” Kidston told the magazine, before touching on his lobbying efforts. “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. A long-standing relationship with the Mercedes-Benz Museum helped, but even after 18 months of patient lobbying, we didn’t know if or how they would consider letting the 300 SLR out of captivity until just before it happened. For everyone involved, and especially the new owner whom we represented, this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy the Mona Lisa of cars.”
Proceeds from the auction sale will reportedly go towards a charitable youth fund created Mercedes-Benz.
Prior to the sale, the most expensive car ever sold at auction was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which fetched around $70 million in 2018.