1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe
Sold by RM Sotheby’s | Stuttgart, Germany | May 5, 2022
We rarely feature a car after it sells, but this one sort of snuck up on everybody. The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart owned both examples of the “Uhlenhaut” coupe until recently, when they decided to part with one of the two. Why? Who knows. Maybe Daimler is cash-strapped. It’s kind of a weird situation when a well-funded museum decides to do a quick cash grab for a priceless piece of automotive history. Supposedly there were conditions on this private auction, like that the new owner isn’t allowed to re-sell it.
Anyway, a little history. This is not a 300SL Gullwing coupe. The 300 SLR was a full-fendered open-cockpit racing car based on the W196 Formula One car. The SLR was the company’s entry into the World Sportscar Championship. The cars won the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio before the program was quickly shuttered after the 1955 Le Mans disaster.
Meanwhile, motorsport chief Rudolf Uhlenhaut designed a road-going coupe version of the SLR, later dubbed the Uhlhenhaut coupes. Two were built. The engine was a 3.0-liter straight-eight that made about 305 horsepower. This coupe could do 180 mph. In 1955.
This one was the second one built and has been owned by Mercedes-Benz since new. It was restored in the 1980s and has been displayed and demonstrated on various occasions over the years. So how did it fare?