Is this $142 million Mercedes-Benz the world's most expensive car?
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This 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SLR "Silver Arrow" could be the world's most expensive car, as it was reportedly sold recently for $142 million USD (that's $227.32 NZD).
The car was allegedly sold by Mercedes from its internal collection of historic vehicles at a private auction.
A small number of heavily vetted collectors who agreed not to re-sell the vehicles were flown into Stuttgart for the private auction earlier this month. This is where the Silver Arrow sold for the exorbitant sum.
The Silver Arrow name is used for a variety of Mercedes race cars built both before and after WWII. This specific Silver Arrow is believed to be one of the nine road-legal W196 300 SLR coupes, coming from the era where Mercedes' dominated sportscar racing.
The W196 is one of the automaker's most successful cars ever, with the race versions winning almost every race they entered in 1955. Stirling Moss led the way to victory at the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio, which ultimately landed Mercedes a World Sportscar Championship victory.
There were just nine road versions of the car built, two of which were gullwing-doored hardtops known as the Uhlenhaut coupes, named after the lead designer, Rudolph Uhlenhaut, who drove one daily throughout the 1950s.
The two coupe road versions essentially had 300 SL Gullwing bodies that were heavily modified to fit the SLR's chassis. These were intended for competition in later seasons, but never got the change to race after 1956.
Fun fact: the W196 is also known as the car that ended Mercedes' race program for 30 years, temporarily banning motorsports across Europe.
It happened in the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans. Pierre Levegh was driving a 300 SLR and crashed into the back of another racer. It then launched off the car it crashed into, flew over the barriers at 200kph, and landed into the crowd before bursting into flames.
Because the body of the vehicle was built out of magnesium alloy, which can't be extinguished with water when on fire, attempts to put the fire out made the flames worsen. Eighty-four people died, making it the most lethal racing accident in the history of motorsports.
Because of this, Mercedes never built more of the W196S examples and the automaker kept the two gullwing-doored slicktop's in its possession. To have the opportunity to purchase one of these cars now, almost makes the $142,000,000 price stage understandable.