Mercedes Just Sold The World's Most Expensive Car

What comes to your mind when you try to think of the most expensive car in the world? Some fancy custom version of a Bugatti, or perhaps a really amazing Lamborghini? No matter which car brand you were thinking of, the answer is wrong — unless you were thinking of Mercedes-Benz. The car in question is the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe from 1955, and it was just sold for a whopping sum of 135 million euros. According to CurrencyRate, as of May 20, 2022, this adds up to USD $142.5 million. Why was this car so expensive, and what makes it so special?

Only two Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes were ever made, and both of them were in the possession of Mercedes-Benz up until one of them was auctioned off on May 5, 2022. The car, named after its innovative creator Rudolf Uhlenhaut, makes for a real treat to car enthusiasts due to just how rare it is. With its sleek build, unique doors, and unprecedented capabilities, it was a real sports car dream at the time and continues to be an impressive show of elegance and sheer power fused into one.

Being sold for the equivalent of almost $150 million is no small feat, but Mercedes-Benz is hardly a small company in need of a cash infusion, so that does make one wonder — why did the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe ever get sold in the first place? No, it's not just a large corporation being greedy. Instead, all of the proceeds from the sale are going toward a fantastic cause.

The Mercedes-Benz Fund will help young environmentalists

With the proceeds from the sale of this ultra-rare sports car, Mercedes is planning to establish the "Mercedes-Benz Fund." The fund will be used to provide resources and scholarships to young people interested in the fields of environmental science and decarbonization. According to Renata Jungo Brüngger, a member of the board of management at Mercedes, the carmaker believes that it "bears a great level of responsibility towards society," and as part of that responsibility, it wants to give back by supporting those who could not otherwise afford this kind of education.

What exactly will the scholarship fund be used for? Mercedes doesn't fully specify, but it mentions plans to aid young people in their studies as well as strengthen their commitment toward actions that make the planet a better place. Seeing as cars and trucks account for nearly a fifth of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions (via UCSUSA.org), it's definitely a good idea to offset some of that by helping students reduce the carbon footprint left behind by brands like Mercedes.

The all-time record sale was made at an auction held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, with the help of RM Sotheby's — a popular auction house dealing with car sales. Only a select few were invited to attend the auction, including car and art collectors as well as the most prestigious Mercedes-Benz customers. Let's be real — this car was never going to be sold on the cheap, and as such, the sale gathered an audience with large wallets. Prior to the sale, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was safely stored alongside its sibling in the private collection of Mercedes-Benz Classic as one of the 1,100 vehicles that the company wants to keep safe for posterity.

The legacy lives on

Although the car has now been sold to an anonymous collector, that doesn't mean we will never see it again in the public light. Its sibling, the second prototype of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, sits in the Mercedes-Benz Museum and can be viewed by car enthusiasts all year round. The 135 million euro gem will also make reappearances here and there, as the buyer agreed to occasionally make it "accessible for public display." Will it ever be seen out on the road? That's extremely unlikely.

Of course, the vehicle is fully functional and can be driven in all of its 1950s sports car glory if the owner should wish to. But the question is, who would really want to? A car such as this will never be re-made, and the smallest scratch could prove to be disastrous in terms of its price and value. As seen in the photos, right now, the Mercedes is in perfect condition. To keep it as such, the owner will have to take great care of it and treat it as the relic that it is. This, unfortunately, probably doesn't involve taking it out for a spin on occasion.

In 1955, when the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe had first seen the light of day, it was meant to show off its prowess on the race track. Unfortunately, that never happened — the Carrera Panamericana of 1955 was canceled, and after that, Mercedes-Benz decided to focus on passenger cars. Be that as it may, now the world's most expensive car remains an impressive glimpse into the past of racing cars, and it's encouraging to know that its legacy will live on through the newly-established Mercedes-Benz Fund.