The Mercedes sold was one of only two 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé prototypes. The 67-year-old cars are named after the then chief engineer of Mercedes, Rudolf Uhlenhaut† and would have a top speed of 286 mph. It was sold on May 5 at a private auction by invitation at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. The auction was held in partnership with car auction company RM Sotheby’s.
The other Uhlenhaut Coupé will remain in the museum’s collection, according to a statement from Mercedes-Benz.
“Their 1930s and 50s race cars are rare and most are still factory owned, so any cars that come on the market are in high demand,” said Brian Rabold, vice president of automotive intelligence at Hagerty.
Mercedes’ “Gullwing” SLRs — so named for the doors that rise up like curved wings — are considered to be one of the world’s most desirable cars. And various rare and racing versions are particularly valuable.
The SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé was essentially a hardtop version of Mercedes’ famous open-top SLR racing car, powered by a 300 horsepower eight-cylinder engine. The idea was that a closed car would better protect the driver against wind and weather at high speeds, while the closed roof would also improve aerodynamics.
Shortly after the development of these cars, Mercedes withdrew its involvement in motorsport, so the cars were never used in competition.
While the identity of the new owners of the car remains unknown, British classic car dealer Simon Kidston claimed in a press release that the winning bid was made on behalf of a customer.