A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé has become the most expensive car ever sold after changing hands for €135 million - the equivalent of £114.4 million.
The car - previously owned by Mercedes-Benz - was sold in a private auction run by RM Sotheby’s at the Mercedes-Benz Museum on 5 May.
The buyer has chosen to remain private, with the winning bid being placed on their behalf by Simon Kidston, head of historic car specialist Kidston SA.
The £114.4 million hammer price is a new world record price for any car, more than doubling the previous record, which was held by a Ferrari 250 GTO when it was sold in 2018 for £52 million - less than the bidding price opened at for the 300 SLR.
Just two 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupés were made by Mercedes-Benz, taking their name from the firm’s chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. The car was designed as a road-going version of the W 196 R grand prix car, with an enlarged 3.0-litre straight-eight engine allowing it to hit speeds of up to 180mph.
The car sold was chassis 00008/55 - the second of the two cars built and the one that Uhlenhaut himself used frequently. The sale makes the 300 SLR one of the top 10 most expensive items ever sold at auction.
All proceeds from the sale will be used to establish a worldwide “Mercedes-Benz Fund”, which RM Sotheby’s says will aim to “provide educational and research scholarships in the areas of environmental science and decarbonisation for young people.”
Simon Kidston, who placed the winning bid for the unnamed buyer, said: "If you had asked classic car experts and top collectors over the past half a century to name the most desirable car in the world, there's a good chance that they would have come up with the same model: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. It's a combination of exotic engineering, all-conquering racing history, the power of the three-pointed star on its nose and the fact that one had never, ever been sold. Many collectors had tried, all had failed.