An ultra-rare vintage Mercedes just became the priciest car ever, after selling at auction for an astronomical €135 million (S$197 million) earlier this month in Germany. 

The car that went under the hammer? The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, just one of two prototypes ever built, which now belongs in the hands of an anonymous (but clearly deep-pocketed) private collector.

Mercedes auction
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

This model is regarded as one of the most valued cars in driving history, and gets its name after its engineer and designer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut.

It was based on the German automaker’s W 196 R Grand Prix Car, which won two World Championships with Juan Manuel Fangio behind the wheel.

According to the auction house, the car, which comes with gull wing doors and sleek silver liveries, was also one of the fastest road legal cars created during its time with a top-end speed of 290km/h.

Mercedes auction
Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the engineer, and his son. Photo: Mercedes-Benz

The exclusive auction among selected Mercedes-Benz customers and international collectors took place in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany – a fitting locale for a car with this much history. 

The record-smashing sale exceeds the previous record holder – a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for S$66 million in 2018 – by around S$131 million.

What’s more, it’s also now one of the ten most valuable items ever sold at auction, says car auctioneers RM Sotheby’s, who were behind this sale, as well as the last record-breaking one in four years prior.

Mercedes auction
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

The proceeds from the sale will be channeled into establishing a worldwide Mercedes-Benz Fund that provides education and research scholarships in the fields of environmental science and decarbonisation.

And if you’re wondering how or where to get your hands on the second prototype – well, that one remains locked away in the company’s car museum in Stuttgart, home to more than a thousand cars dating back to before the company’s inception.

(Related: Mercedes-Benz collector cars that have gone under the hammer)