Mercedes-Benz AG has just dethroned Gruppo Ferrari SpA as the world’s most valuable car collector.
Mercedes-Benz Chairman Ola Källenius confirmed that a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé sold for Rs 1,100 crore ($142 million) in a secret auction in Germany on May 5.
While higher-priced transactions may have occurred privately, the car company’s sale shattered the previous public record of $48.4 million paid in 2018 for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO at an RM Sotheby’s auction.
“We [wanted] to demonstrate the power of the Mercedes brand with a single act,” Källenius says in an interview on May 18 near Monte Carlo. The arrow-shaped silver coupe, one of only two built, had never been privately owned until the auction.
“That car is 100 percent worth what it sold for—and some would argue that even that figure was low,” says Stephen Serio, an automotive broker who sources rare cars for ultra-high-net-worth clients. “No one expected Mercedes to sell it.”
Källenius refuses to reveal the winner of the auction, which took place at Mercedes’ museum and archive in Stuttgart, Germany, and featured about a dozen invited bidders.
Several longtime Mercedes-Benz collectors from Switzerland, Italy, England, and the United States had been mentioned as potential buyers for what would be any collector’s favorite car.
But he is pleased with the outcome, which he says puts the brand “on a different planet” than competitor Ferrari.