cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Driving the Mercedes 300 SLR "Uhlenhaut coupé"-the world's most expensive car

It is said that everyone at Mercedes-Benz knew when Rudi Uhlenhaut was on his way to work. The distant howl would stop typists typing, and turn ears to the direction from whence it came. It got louder and louder until it became a bellow, shortly before turning into a beautiful silver coupé nosing its way through the gates.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/driving/driving-the-mercedes-300-slr-uhlenhaut-coupe-the-worlds-most-e...
33 REPLIES 33
Snailish
Instructor

If this is what a Mercedes still looked like, would you even notice anything else?
PRScott
Instructor

No you would not !
Iso_Grifo
Instructor

Thank goodness I didn't rack up my credit card and buy it! It looks like a real hassle next to one of them electric SUV's. And them electric SUV's is faster anyhow and save the planet!

 

In all seriousness, fantastic photos of a fantastic car. Great write up, too.

FloridaMarty
Instructor

Again, Another case of the price driving the attractiveness. Certainly there are better looking-better performing cars built before and after this one. Not a bad looking car, but come on, 142 million dollars??? Hilarious.
Snailish
Instructor

I think the price is all levels of insane.

 

I'm not a Mercedes fan.

 

This car is beautiful in a way the word beautiful fails to capture.

DT
Advanced Driver

After you go past 100 Million does it really matter ??? No doubt there were better performing cars built after this one but again, Does it really Matter ???? Better Looking ? You would probably get a few arguments on that comment 🙂
Swamibob
Technician

Wow! That is seriously SEXY! If a guy had money; I'd be seriously inclined to have someone build a replica, maybe using a Buick straight 8 for power? Mr. Frankel, you are a very lucky man. Thank you and Mr. Lipman for this story.
PRScott
Instructor

A buick straight eight? Really? Why not a briggs and stratton ?
DT
Advanced Driver

No Straight 8 Briggs and Stratton's that I know of ???
Snailish
Instructor

I assume Briggs and Stratton is a jest... but weld 8 of them together and there you go!

Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

What a wonderful car. Pretty cool you got to drive it. Sounds like a wonderfully noisy experience. The gear selector would give me fits of anxiety.
BrentF
Intermediate Driver

A video would be nice, to hear the engine noise.
PRScott
Instructor

Ditto that. Having heard audio of the Moss car it is a glorious howl not soon forgotten.
SAG
Technician

Go to Jay Leno's Garage.
He did a show on a Mercedes Benz
From that period.

Not sure when people needed to feel like they were 'sitting in a church'
driving a high performance car?
If your "Old" turn down your hearing aids.
It Works for me!
Maestro1
Technician

It's an extraordinary car; I have had the pleasure of a long ride in a production version of this car, and sometimes I can still feel the sensations............
TonyT
Technician

The old saying that states that something is only worth what two fools agree upon is evident here. Driving a piece of history is to be cherished but a confusing transmission shift pattern, iffy brakes and no mufflers makes for a less than desirable bucket list item. Some things are better enjoyed from a static perspective. Just sayin'.
Eddie1
Intermediate Driver

Even if i won the powerball lottery i would NEVER even give this car a second look.
DT
Advanced Driver

Why would you even think that anybody cares about comments like that ?????
Eddie1
Intermediate Driver

Well my "friend" it would appear that you do or you wouldnt have replied;-)
Inline8OD
Technician

Any danger of Hagerty ever running a profile of an unusual car focusing more on the why and how it was built than the price? Fielding a straight eight in the mid 1950s is a story in itself.

Serious car buffs don't need to hear about the latest amount of easy come, easy go inflated Monopoly money. Please leave that gush to Kiplinger's and Forbes.
DT
Advanced Driver

There is a saying on the internet. If you don't like a service that is free to you. SCROLL ON Past It, No one wants to hear your complaints 😞
Inline8OD
Technician

So subscribe to Kiplinger's and Forbes. Some of us are more interested in what led to given cars, not exchange rates. Hope your car more finely tuned than your ready acceptance of, shilling for, the latest PR release.
plank
Intermediate Driver

Beautiful piece of equipment. Driving it would neither interest nor intimidate me. IMHO, the price paid is just galactically stupid.
Lex
Intermediate Driver

Now I'm not going to say that the claims about the most expensive cars don't have merit. What I do wonder is how much a Bugatti Type 41 Royale would fetch now.
Inline8OD
Technician

"Now," as in today, in yours above, Lex, is the key word. In the '60s, the holy grail of auto collectors still brass Simplex, Locomobile, Chadwick, Lozier "speed cars." Duesenbergs, Marmon 16s and other ponderous "Classics" from the '30s still second tier; in the late '40s, early '50s, such could often be found languishing on the back row of any big city used car lot because there was no source of tires for these white elephants.

The Type 41's hood ornament was an elephant. Ettore Bugatti preferred his Packard Eight for long, fast business trips over his own products.

The answer to such questions dependent on which generation in charge, how much they know, the range of their knowledge. Which is why some of us are more interested in why and how a given car was built, not anything transitory as price.

Markruss
New Driver

Isn’t the valve system called desmodromic, not desmodronic? I thought I would see that caught in the comments - every Ducati owner knows this. It’s easy to confirm at Wikipedia, where the article on desmodromic valves even mentions the Mercedes W196. The author should go back into the article and fix that.
11JA
Intermediate Driver

I think Andrew is being a bit disingenuous with his remarks about the gear change difficulties. I recall reading Denis Jenkinson’s Motor Sport article written directly after he and Moss had won the 1955 Mille Miglia and distinctly remember his observations as to how professional Mercedes were with their preparation. He said nothing was left to chance and apparently Moss had had reservations about selecting the wrong gear when under pressure. He said that almost overnight the engineers fabricated a mechanism via a system of lockouts to stop a false selection. If you look at the picture of the gearstick it is possible to see the various components of this. Not to be too harsh it was still probably nerve-wracking to drive something as expensive and iconic as this car.
richreolee
Pit Crew

A driving experience of a LIFETIME.

We had the Cars of Distinction Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Of the cars there, the 300SLR and 300SL were the prizes of the display. Both were white with red interior, and driving them was beyond belief. It's an experience I will never forget. I praise Sherman Williams, the owner of the complete collection, for taking me under his wing to be a part of our car collecting joy of cars.

Sherman taught me a lot of the history of the automotive field and I taught him a lot about the mechanics, being a repair and restore person myself. We were quite the team. I miss him dearly. I lost my car buddy, and best friend, to cancer in 2009
richreolee
Pit Crew

An update to my experience of a lifetime. And I thought $450,000 was a lot for the SL we sold in 2004. I have to admit, it was only a 1957 SL Mercedes. That car went back to Germany. BUT for me to read $142 million for an 1955 SL, WOW!!!
I wish we still had our collection, but part of it went to Gilmore and other cars went to collectors to enjoy. All in All, if you are a collector, enjoy those cars, WE DID!!!
silver-GT4
Pit Crew

This is more than just a car. It is a piece of history and a work of art. Would anyone begrudge someone who would pay over $100M for a painting? Or a piece of jewelry? Objects of desire are worth whatever someone is willing to part with, whether or not you would.
TG
Technician

It is a beautiful car, but it is further evidence that the collector car market (the high end of it anyway) is completely out to lunch. We are talking about paying for a car a healthy chunk of the price of a car factory
SJ
Technician

I will still take the Jag of the era.
brb
Instructor

Lucky you to get to drive it! Cool car, neat bit of history, and great article.