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TAKE A LOOK | The R2.3 billion Mercedes that just became the most expensive car ever sold

Business Insider US
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

An extremely rare, 67-year-old Mercedes-Benz just sold for a whopping $143 million – equivalent to R2.3 billion – making it the most expensive car ever sold at auction.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
RM Sotheby's

The1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is a prototype race car built for the 1956 season.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
RM Sotheby's

It obliterated the previous record for the priciest car ever auctioned off by around R1.5 billion.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

The previous record holder was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for around $48 million in 2018, according to auction house RM Sotheby's, which was involved in both sales.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

The coupe also ranks in the top 10 most expensive items ever sold at auction, RM Sotheby's said.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

Mercedes-Benz sold the 300 SLR during an invite-only auction on May 5 at its museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

It sold to classic-car dealer Simon Kidston, who placed the winning bid on behalf of an anonymous buyer.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

In part, the 300 SLR is so valuable because Mercedes built just two of them.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

To be fair, it's also gorgeous.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
RM Sotheby's

The coupe was never raced, and instead was used by Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the head of Mercedes's testing department, as a company car.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

The eight-cylinder race car was rated at roughly 300 horsepower.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

It had a top speed of 290 kph, making it one of the fastest road-legal vehicles of its time, according to RM Sotheby's.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
RM Sotheby's

The 300 SLR Coupe was developed as a hardtop version of Mercedes's successful open-top 300 SLR race car.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
RM Sotheby's

Both SLR Coupes have been in Mercedes-Benz's private collection since new.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

The one sold — nicknamed "Red" for its red interior — only shows a little over 6,000 kilometres on the odometer.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

Its sibling, "Blue," will remain on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
RM Sotheby's

The 300 SLR isn't to be confused with the Mercedes 300 SL, another highly collectible 1950s Mercedes that's only worth a measly $1 million.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

Why would Mercedes-Benz part with such a valuable car and such an iconic piece of its history?

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

It was sold for a good cause.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
Kidston Motor Cars

Mercedes says it will use the proceeds from the sale to set up a scholarship fund to support education and research into environmental science and decarbonisation.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe.
RM Sotheby's

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