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‘Mona Lisa’ racing automobile sells for a checklist breaking £115m

A unprecedented Mercedes-Benz racing automobile referred to as the Mona Lisa of vehicles has been offered by way of the corporate for a checklist £115 million.

The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé, one among solely two of its type, is a sister automobile to racing legend Sir Stirling Moss’s record-breaking open cockpit 300 SLR, which coated 992 miles in ten hours, seven mins and 48 seconds on public roads.

The car was once offered to a non-public collector, the vintage automobile public sale corporate RM Sotheby’s mentioned in a observation, fetching €135 million (£114 milion), nearly triple the former checklist public sale worth for a automobile, which was once set in 2018 by way of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that went for greater than $48 million (£37 million).

The invitation-only public sale came about on Would possibly 5 on the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. RM Sotheby’s mentioned the car’s top worth positioned it within the “most sensible ten most useful pieces ever offered at public sale in any gathering class”.

Its sale could also be a praise for the patience proven by way of the British knowledgeable Simon Kidston, who had lobbied the German corporate’s board for 18 months to believe promoting the auto “that may by no means be offered”. Kidston’s bid of €135 million secured the car for an unnamed collector.

“It had all the time been assumed that Mercedes would by no means phase with one of the crucial crown jewels of its corporate assortment, thought to be the Mona Lisa of vehicles on account of its rarity, racing pedigree, attractiveness and unavailability,” Kidston mentioned.

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The 300 SLR Coupé, recognisable for its extraordinary traces and butterfly doorways, was once modelled at the W196 R Grand Prix race automobile, which gained two System 1 international championships in 1954 and 1955 with the Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio within the motive force’s seat.

Named after its author and leader engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the car was once a construction of the open two-seat sports-racing automobile constructed by way of Mercedes for the 1955 season and pushed by way of Grand Prix greats reminiscent of Moss, Fangio and Peter Collins.

Moss’s checklist pressure at the 1955 Mille Miglia has been described as one of the crucial biggest feats of motor racing, when he and his navigator Denis Jenkinson gained the 1,000-mile staying power race in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, averaging 99mph.

Kidston mentioned that even supposing the auctioned Coupé’s design stocks styling cues with the well-known 300 SL “Gullwing” street automobile there was once “nearly no concession to practicality, as none had been ever supposed to be offered to non-public shoppers”.

Neither 300 SLR Coupé was once raced, despite the fact that they had been used for follow.

A street check collectively carried out by way of British mag Autocar and the Swiss periodical Automobil Revue in 1956 mentioned: “Remember the fact that this automobile isn’t on the market, and on this shape by no means can be: this is a racing automobile tailored for street use with positive experimental targets in view . . . It must be mastered like a mettlesome horse.”

Commenting at the transaction, Kidston mentioned: “A protracted-standing dating with the Mercedes-Benz Museum helped, however even after 18 months of affected person lobbying we didn’t know if or how they’d believe letting the 300 SLR out of captivity till simply prior to it came about. For everybody concerned, and particularly the brand new proprietor whom we represented, this was once a once-in-a-lifetime likelihood to shop for the Mona Lisa of vehicles.”

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RM Sotheby’s mentioned the proceeds from the public sale can be used to ascertain a world Mercedes-Benz Fund that may fund environmental science and decarbonisation analysis.