‘Mona Lisa’ racing car sells for a record breaking £115m

Irene L. Joffman

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A rare Mercedes-Benz racing vehicle recognised as the Mona Lisa of cars and trucks has been marketed by the company for a history £115 million.

The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé, one of only two of its type, is a sister auto to racing legend Sir Stirling Moss’s report-breaking open up cockpit 300 SLR, which coated 992 miles in 10 hrs, seven minutes and 48 seconds on community roadways.

The car was bought to a non-public collector, the traditional car or truck auction enterprise RM Sotheby’s mentioned in a assertion, fetching €135 million (£114 milion), practically triple the past report auction selling price for a vehicle, which was set in 2018 by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that went for a lot more than $48 million (£37 million).

The invitation-only auction took position on May possibly 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. RM Sotheby’s claimed the vehicle’s significant cost positioned it in the “top ten most beneficial goods ever sold at auction in any collecting category”.

Its sale is also a reward for the persistence revealed by the British pro Simon Kidston, who experienced lobbied the German company’s board for 18 months to think about providing the motor vehicle “that would hardly ever be sold”. Kidston’s bid of €135 million secured the car for an unnamed collector.

“It experienced usually been assumed that Mercedes would by no means part with one of the crown jewels of its company collection, regarded the Mona Lisa of vehicles due to the fact of its rarity, racing pedigree, attractiveness and unavailability,” Kidston reported.

The 300 SLR Coupé, recognisable for its abnormal strains and butterfly doorways, was modelled on the W196 R Grand Prix race auto, which received two Formulation 1 earth championships in 1954 and 1955 with the Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio in the driver’s seat.

Named after its creator and chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the auto was a progress of the open two-seat sporting activities-racing vehicle designed by Mercedes for the 1955 period and driven by Grand Prix greats this sort of as Moss, Fangio and Peter Collins.

Moss’s document drive on the 1955 Mille Miglia has been described as one particular of the greatest feats of motor racing, when he and his navigator Denis Jenkinson gained the 1,000-mile stamina race in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, averaging 99mph.

Kidston said that although the auctioned Coupé’s style shares styling cues with the well known 300 SL “Gullwing” highway auto there was “almost no concession to practicality, as none ended up at any time meant to be marketed to personal clients”.

Neither 300 SLR Coupé was raced, nevertheless they ended up made use of for exercise.

A street exam jointly performed by British magazine Autocar and the Swiss periodical Automobil Revue in 1956 reported: “Remember that this vehicle is not for sale, and in this variety never ever will be: it is a racing auto tailored for road use with specified experimental objectives in watch . . . It has to be mastered like a mettlesome horse.”

Commenting on the transaction, Kidston mentioned: “A long-standing romance with the Mercedes-Benz Museum aided, but even just after 18 months of patient lobbying we did not know if or how they would contemplate letting the 300 SLR out of captivity until just just before it happened. For everybody associated, and primarily the new owner whom we represented, this was a the moment-in-a-life span possibility to obtain the Mona Lisa of cars and trucks.”

RM Sotheby’s claimed the proceeds from the auction would be utilised to establish a all over the world Mercedes-Benz Fund that would fund environmental science and decarbonisation investigation.



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