The 1955 Mercedes Coupé 300 SLR Uhlenhaut was sold on May 5 at a confidential auction at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany, in cooperation between Sotheby's subsidiary for luxury cars and the German automaker.

At a price of 135 million euros, this Mercedes was sold almost triple the previous record held since 2018 by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold in 2018 by RM Sotheby's for more than 48 million dollars (45 million euros) .

In addition, the Mercedes "300 SLR is now placed in the top 10 of the most expensive objects ever sold at auction", specified RM Sotheby's in a press release published Thursday in London and passed on to New York by the parent company Sotheby's which is holding this week its spring auction for works of art.

"Works of art"

Oliver Barker, president of Sotheby's Europe quoted in the press release, said he felt "an absolute thrill to have hit the auction hammer for this masterpiece of design and engineering, which now measures itself against the most great works of art never sold".

The 1955 Mercedes Coupé 300 SLR Uhlenhaut was auctioned on May 5 for 135 million euros - Mercedes-Benz AG/AFP

In fact, according to a ranking established by AFP of works of art sold at auction in recent years, mainly in New York, the absolute record is held by Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", sold in November 2017 for 450 .3 million by Christie's in New York.

Next comes the "Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" by Andy Warhol, which sold for $195 million at Christie's on May 9, becoming the most expensive 20th century work of art ever sold at public auction.

For works from the 20th century, "The Women of Algiers (version 0)" by Pablo Picasso (179.4 million dollars in May 2015) and the "Nu reclining" by Amedeo Modigliani (170.4 million in November 2015 ), were both sold at Christie's.

According to this ranking of works of art sold at auction for more than 100 million dollars, the Mercedes sold on May 5 by RM Sotheby's and qualified as "the most beautiful car in the world" thus ranks 6th or 7th place.

The car, which was owned, like the second example, by Mercedes-Benz, was sold to a private collector and the proceeds from the sale "will be used to set up an international + Mercedes-Benz fund + for scholarships and training for research for young people in environmental science and decarbonization," according to RM Sotheby's.

The private buyer of the Coupé 300 SLR Uhlenhaut has agreed to present his vehicle to the public during exceptional events, while the other copy will remain the property of Mercedes-Benz, which will continue to exhibit it in its museum in Stuttgart.

According to RM Sotheby's and the luxury and sports car press, the 300 SLR, recognizable by its unusual line and its butterfly doors, was created by engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, based on a racing car, the W196 R Grand Prix, which won two Formula 1 world championships in 1954 and 1955 with Italian driver Juan Manuel Fangio.

The Mercedes Coupé 300 SLR Uhlenhaut, photographed in 1955 - Mercedes-Benz AG/AFP

But the Mercedes-Benz manufacturer was marked by the terrible accident of its car in June 1955 at the 24 hours of Le Mans, which killed its French driver Pierre Levegh and 83 spectators, and kept him away from motor racing for years.

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© 2022 AFP

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