If rumors are to be believed, the bar for the most expensive car ever sold has been significantly raised in the last few days.
According to Hagerty, Mercedes-Benz is said to have sold one of its prized Silver Arrows for a reported £115 million ($143 million) at an invite-only auction held behind closed doors in Germany this month, making it the most expensive car ever sold.
The car in question is thought to be a 1955 300 SLR, one of only two built.
The purchase price is more than double that of the previous most expensive vehicle in history.
The previous record price for a car is thought to be £52 million for a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO purchased privately in 2018.
Sold: The world’s most expensive car.
A 1955 Mercedes-Benz, one of only two of its kind, was auctioned off earlier this month for a whopping 135 million euros ($143 million), making it the most expensive car ever sold, RM Sotheby’s sayshttps://t.co/8CfzYCDpbI
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) May 20, 2022
It was reportedly purchased from German racing driver Christian Glaesel, who had owned the car for 15 years, by American businessman David MacNeil – though because it was a private sale, the record price was never officially rubberstamped.
The most expensive ‘confirmed’ sale price for a car is $48.4 million (£37.5 million) for another Ferrari 250 GTO purchased in 2018, which sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in California that year.
The auction house said the vehicle’s high price places it among the “top ten most valuable items ever sold at auction in any collecting category.”
An AFP ranking of artworks sold at auction in recent years said, the 300 SLR ranks sixth or seventh, with the all-time record being held by Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which sold in November 2017 for US$450.3 million.
Next is Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol, which also sold this month for US$195 million.
“The private buyer has agreed that the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe will remain accessible for public display on special occasions, while the second original 300 SLR Coupe remains in company ownership and will continue to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart,” the auction company added.
According to RM Sotheby’s and press reports, the 300 SLR was inspired by the W196 R Grand Prix racing car, which won two Formula One world championships in 1954 and 1955 with Italian Juan Manuel Fangio in the driver’s seat.
However, tragedy struck the Mercedes-Benz team in June 1955, when one of its 300 SLR vehicles crashed during the 24 Hours of Le Man’s race, killing French driver Pierre Levegh and 83 spectators.
That tragedy, the deadliest in motor racing history, forced the company to withdraw from the sport for years.
RM Sotheby’s said the proceeds from the auction will be used to establish a worldwide Mercedes-Benz Fund that will fund environmental science and decarbonization research.