With more than 100 years of car production, Mercedes is a company that has produced luxury cars, high-end sports cars, and racing successes. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a lightning-fast SLR or a sedan that transports the head of state. One thing they all have in common is their price tag.
While a standard C-Class costs less than $60,000, a sportier model costs six figures. Unless your name crops up on Forbes’ rich list, you might not be able to find anything rare or with historical value. This article did not include cars selling well over a million dollars.
Mercedes’ most expensive vehicle is also the most expensive vehicle ever sold. Among these are:
The cars are used by aristocrats every day.
Mercedes’ most accomplished engineer’s pet project.
The car is at the Centre of a dramatic legal battle.
There is a $145 million Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupe called the Uhlenhaut Coupe.
There have only been two racing prototype 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes built. In May 2022, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe sold for €135 million (about $145 million). As part of the proceeds from the sale, the Mercedes-Benz Fund is being established to fund the establishment of a global charitable foundation to provide educational and research scholarships to young people in environmental science and decarbonization.
As part of a statement released after the sale, Mercedes-Benz board member Renata Jungo Brüngger described the coupes as important historical elements that helped shape the company’s brand and milestones in sports car development. This company describes the highest price achieved by a Mercedes-Benz vehicle as extraordinary and humbling.
It is named after the founder of the Uhlenhaut coupe, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Mercedes-Benz chief engineer. The Ulenhaut was by far the fastest road car in the world at its time — capable of exceeding 180 mph. It features gullwing doors, a three-litre straight-eight engine, and electromagnetized magnesium bodywork.
This record-breaking automobile was part of the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection of over 1,100 automobiles. Following the auction, it was acquired by a private individual. The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart currently exhibits the other 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, whereas the private buyer has agreed to allow his coupe to be displayed on special occasions.
As well as being the second most expensive Mercedes ever sold, the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 is also one of the most expensive automobiles on earth. When it was sold at the Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013, the W196 sold for a whopping $39,650,095.
Despite being bumped from the top of our Mercedes-based list and out of the top five most expensive cars in general, the winning bid broke the record for the most expensive car. Still, it’s one of the world’s top ten most expensive cars. This car, on the other hand, matched its price tag.
As a Formula One car, the W196 won two Grand Prix, one in Switzerland, and the other in Germany, while Juan Manuel Fangio drove it. According to Bonhams, the W196 that was sold in 2013 is the only one in existence that has won multiple Grand Prix races and is privately owned. Only a few W196s are left in a museum or a Mercades warehouse.
In terms of price alone, this is the best example of the Mercedes-Benz 540K — and the second most expensive one in the world. At Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction on August 19, 2012, this model, a sought-after long-tail, high-door variant, sold for $11,770,000, including the buyer’s premium.
Baroness Josephine von Krieger ordered the 540K Special Roadster in the 1930s, and it’s worth almost $12 million. She bought it to give her son Henning for his graduation, but it became her daily driver. The Interior is covered in pigskin upholstery, a Telefunken radio, and customised features.
On the outside, it’s black with a hand-painted vamp Krieger crest on the driver’s door. The 540K spent 40 years in a Connecticut garage following the Second World War. It was expertly restored before being sold at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and received a first-class award.
A Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren 999 Red Gold Dream designed by Swiss designer Ueli Anliker rounds out the fourth place. Although it was planned at one point to have an engine producing more than 1,000 horsepower, it’s still a standard McLaren Mercedes SLR in terms of performance.
In addition to the gold plating of the wheels, steering wheel, headlight surrounds, door sills, and several parts of the interior trim, the Red Gold Dream cost $5.4 million, including a surprising amount of gold.
In addition to gold dust, rubies also stud things like wheel nuts and gear shifts. The car’s body is covered in 15 layers of paint, with 11 pounds of gold dust mixed in. In 2022, recreated Red Gold Dream materials may have cost substantially more since they were purchased in 2011.
A Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster for sale at R.M. Sotheby’s in 2016 for just under $10 million is a great example. The car features its original left-hand drive configuration, high doors, long tails, and left-hand drive. Among the key selling points of this particular vehicle is that it is the first 540K to exist in the world.
There were 130,900 chassis numbers for pre-production 500Ks — this car is number 130894. There are only 13 known examples of this model, which has a 5.4-litre engine. 540K Special Roadster’s paperwork is also excellent, providing a comprehensive car history. Originally owned by Reginald Sinclaire of Larkspur, Colorado, it arrived in New York City in 1937.
In 20 years, the car appeared in the Denver Art Museum’s antique automobile exhibition before being purchased by E.W. Price, a Boulder resident. Following Tushinsky, Barrett III, and so on, the vehicle was eventually auctioned for $9.9 million by Irving Tushinsky.
Unlike the Ford Model T, the Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster was built for people who demanded much more from their modes of transportation. In contrast to the Ford Model T, the Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo was an early example of a luxury car. The Interior features lizard skin and purpleheart wood, while the body has long frame rails that span both axles, built by Paris’s renowned Carrosserie J. Saoutchik.
Despite its 6,789 CC dual-carburetted six-cylinder engine, the S Torpedo is seated further back to increase weight distribution. Only three S Torpedos with a short windshield are known to exist — the whereabouts of two other S Torpedos are unknown. There are only three of these variants in existence. For almost a century, the car has also been a spectacle.
In 1929, Mercedes-Benz New York displayed this car at the New York Auto Salon, and Motor Magazine published this issue simultaneously. A recent Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance crown was won by the S Torpedo, which Paul Russell and Company have restored after being restored to its original glory.
During the restoration process, a metallurgically identical alloy was created for the bodywork, 200 lizard hides were sourced from South East Asia, and the original coachbuilder’s name was engraved on the plates. R.M. Sotheby auctioned the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster in 2013 for $8.25 million. While the price may seem high, the car had less than 30,000 miles and only two previous owners — which is not bad for an 85-year-old car.
It is considered by some to have been the first supercar, and this particular Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing is a perfect example of that car. In addition to its original alloy body and 3.0-litre NSL engine, the 300 SL comes with several factory features like sports suspension.
Many Mercedes 1950s racing victories were achieved by the rarer, lighter alloy versions of the 300 SL compared to the standard steel-bodied models. These include Le Mans, the Carrera Panamericana, the Mille Miglia, and Liège-Rome-Liège. There were only 24 alloy models made, compared to 1,371 steel versions.
Rather than heavy steel and glass, aluminium forms the body panels, and plexiglass forms the windows, except for the windshield. A high-speed rear axle and suspension were specially designed for improved handling while the driver drove the speedometer. It sold at R.M. Sotheby’s Arizona auction in January 2022 for almost $7 million.
As with many cars on this list, it had an award-winning pedigree, winning the Pebble Beach Class Award in 2011. Like many of the cars on this list, it had a high-end Mercedes S-Type 26/180 Sportwagen that sold for over $5 million in 2011. A master coach builder applied a one-off design to a factory-built chassis, like many other high-end Mercedes in the prewar period.
In addition to designing the chassis for the car, Ferdinand Porsche founded a globally renowned car company of the same name. Six cylinders and a supercharger are under the hood, making the Sportwagen 180 horsepower. A Roots-type of supercharger powers the twin-carbureted engine. The fact that this S-Type 26/180 Sportwagen is staggeringly original adds to its rarity. Serial numbers match throughout the car, and the bodywork dates back over a century.
AMG and Mercedes-Benz didn’t design the CLK GTR for the road. They built it to race, not for the street. The rules said they had to enter sports cars as racing models of production cars if they wanted to compete in the FIA GT Championship. Mercedes and AMG built the car they wanted to build, then made 25 to sell to the public. It was one of 25 cars made and was in exceptional shape.
The paint and the drive train are original — it even came with its ice manual and service books. Also included in the crate were parts. At R.M. Sotheby’s Monterey auction in 2018, this rare road-legal race car sold for over $4.5 million since it had barely been driven. It had less than 1,500 kilometres on the odometer when it was sold.
A hammer came down on this one, 3.76 million dollars changed hands, and the car went to another continent. The hammer did not sell this one, though. A battle with the German courts led to the vehicle being returned to its original owner’s descendants. Roadsters from Mercedes-Benz are even rarer, with fewer than 30 built.
Originally owned by German industrialist Hans Prym, the Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster at the centre of this controversy had been imprisoned after World War II. After moving between private collectors in the United States for a few years, Prym’s Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster eventually went to auction in 2011. Frans van Haren purchased the Roadster at the R.M. Sotheby auction, run by the company R.M. Sotheby.
He brought it back to Germany, where it was seized and reclaimed by Prym’s grandchildren. Prym’s heirs would not have been able to claim the car while it was present in Germany because the German court decided the 30-year statute of limitations would only run down after 30 years.
Despite never winning a Formula One world championship, Stirling Moss won 212 of the 529 races he competed in, making him a legendary name in motorsport. In 1955, he won the Mille Miglia in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, the basis of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss.
Only 75 of these vehicles were manufactured, and the one on sale in R.M. Sotheby’s Abu Dhabi auction was in excellent condition. The vehicle has only had one previous owner, who drove 320 miles less than the current owner. A 641 horsepower, 5.5 litres, supercharged V8 powers the SLR Stirling Moss and reaches a top speed of 220 mph.
The car can do zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds. Carbon fibre is used extensively to reduce weight. The SLR Stirling Moss is estimated to be worth $2,550,000 to $2,750,000 but has not been sold. The SLR club is still open to any person with a couple of million burning a hole in their pocket.
This Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster may be the cheapest car on this list, but it’s also extremely rare and in excellent condition. Mercedes produced only six CLK GTR roadsters, and this is the only one to come in black. At the time of sale, it had been driven less than five miles.
Earlier this year, a CLK-GTR roadster sold for $4.5 million, the same price as a CLK-GTR coupe. In essence, the Roadster is a road-legal CLK-GTR which was purely produced so that Mercedes could enter the G.T. Championship of the Federation Internationale de automobile. The Roadster produces 640 horsepower more than the racer.
At the time, the CLK-GTR Roadster was the most expensive production car in the world at $1.5 million. Before a private owner acquired this example in 2014, Mercedes owned it for almost $1.9 million. Bonhams sold it for over $400,000 over its original price in 2015.
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