10 Most Expensive Mercedes Of All Time

Mercedes has been manufacturing automobiles since 1901, establishing a rich legacy filled with opulent vehicles, high-performance sports cars, and triumphant racing achievements. Regardless of whether it’s a lightning-fast SLR or a sedan chauffeuring a head of state, all Mercedes vehicles share one common characteristic: a hefty price tag. These vehicles are far from affordable. While a standard C-Class can be acquired for less than $60,000, their sportier models demand six-figure sums.

If you desire something rare or possessing historical significance, you may find yourself out of luck unless your name graces the Forbes rich list. There are Mercedes cars that have fetched well over a million dollars, but they did not make the cut for this article. The most expensive Mercedes on this list also holds the distinction of being the priciest vehicle ever sold. This compilation also features the everyday cars of aristocrats, a passion project of Mercedes’ most accomplished engineer, and a vehicle at the center of a gripping legal battle dating back to World War Two. While only a select few can afford these automobiles, anyone can delve into their distinctive features and captivating histories. So, fasten your seatbelts as we embark on a journey to explore the twelve most expensive Mercedes in the world.

1. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe – $145 million

most Expensive Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe

The most expensive car ever sold is a Mercedes-Benz, specifically a 1955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe. This remarkable vehicle fetched a staggering €135 million (approximately $145 million) in May 2022. What makes this car truly exceptional is that it is one of only two racing prototype 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes ever built. The proceeds from this extraordinary sale are being utilized to establish the Mercedes-Benz Fund, a global charity aimed at providing educational and research scholarships in the fields of environmental science and decarbonization for young individuals.

Renata Jungo Brüngger, a board member of Mercedes-Benz, expressed her admiration for these coupes in a statement released after the sale. She described them as significant milestones in the development of sports cars and emphasized their historical importance in shaping the Mercedes-Benz brand. She further expressed her astonishment and humility at witnessing one of their vehicles achieve the highest price in history.

The Uhlenhaut coupe was named after its creator, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, who served as the chief engineer at Mercedes-Benz. This masterpiece features distinctive gullwing doors, a powerful three-liter straight-eight engine, and an ultra-light Elektron magnesium bodywork. During its production, the Ulenhaut was unrivaled as the fastest road car in the world, capable of reaching speeds exceeding 180 mph.

Previously part of the extensive Mercedes-Benz Classic collection, this record-breaking car now belongs to a private seller following the auction. However, Mercedes-Benz has decided to retain the other 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, which is currently showcased at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Fortunately, the private buyer of the record-breaking car has agreed to make it available for public display on special occasions.

2. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 – $29.65 million

1954 Mercedes-Benz W196

The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 is not only the second most expensive Mercedes ever sold, but it is also one of the most expensive vehicles to change hands in general. This remarkable car fetched a staggering $29,650,095 at the Bonhams auction during the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The winning bid, placed over the telephone, shattered the world record for the most expensive car at that time. Although the W196 may have slipped from the top spot on our Mercedes-based list and out of the top five most expensive cars overall, it still firmly holds a place in the top ten.

However, the exorbitant price tag of this car is justified by its exceptional pedigree. As a former Formula One car, the W196 triumphed in two Grands Prix, one in Switzerland and one in Germany, with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio behind the wheel. Bonhams has confirmed that this particular W196, sold in 2013, is not only the sole surviving example to have won multiple Grand Prix races but also the only privately owned one. Every other surviving W196 is either housed in a museum or stored in a Mercedes warehouse somewhere.

3. 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster – $11,770,000

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster

The Mercedes-Benz 540K is an incredibly sought-after vehicle, and not just because of its price tag. In fact, it is considered the finest example of its model and the second most expensive vehicle on this list. This particular model, known for its high door and long tail, was sold for a staggering $11,770,000 at the Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction on August 19, 2012.

This specific 540K Special Roadster was custom ordered by Baroness Josephine von Krieger back in the 1930s. Originally intended as a graduation present for her son Henning, it eventually became her daily driver. The interior of the car boasts luxurious pigskin upholstery, a state-of-the-art Telefunken radio, and various personalized features. On the outside, the 540K is elegantly finished in black, with the von Krieger family crest meticulously hand-painted on the driver’s door.

After the Second World War, the von Krieger family relocated to the United States, and the 540K found itself sitting in a Connecticut garage for a staggering 40 years. However, before being sold, the car underwent a meticulous restoration process, expertly bringing it back to its former glory. As a testament to its exceptional condition, the 540K received a prestigious first-class award at the renowned Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

In summary, the Mercedes-Benz 540K is not only a highly sought-after vehicle due to its price, but also because of its remarkable history and exceptional craftsmanship. This particular model, with its unique features and stunning design, truly stands out as a symbol of luxury and elegance.

4. Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren 999 Red Gold Dream – $ 11 million

Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren 999 Red Gold Dream

In fourth place, we present the remarkable creation of Swiss designer Ueli Anliker: the custom Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren 999 Red Gold Dream. While its performance remains on par with a standard McLaren Mercedes SLR, it is worth noting that an upgrade capable of generating over 1,000 horsepower was once planned.

The Red Gold Dream boasts an astonishing investment of $5.4 million worth of materials, including a surprising abundance of genuine gold. The wheels, steering wheel, headlight surrounds, door sills, and various interior trim components are all adorned with 24-karat gold plating. Furthermore, an impressive 11 pounds of gold dust has been meticulously blended into the fifteen layers of paint that coat the car’s body. To add an extra touch of opulence, rubies embellish the wheel nuts and gear shift. It is important to consider that these materials were acquired in 2011, and recreating the Red Gold Dream in 2022 would likely incur significantly higher costs (via Motor Authority).

This extraordinary masterpiece by Ueli Anliker showcases the epitome of luxury and extravagance. The meticulous attention to detail, from the gold-plated accents to the incorporation of precious gems, elevates the Red Gold Dream to a level of unparalleled grandeur. While its performance may not surpass that of a standard McLaren Mercedes SLR, the sheer opulence and uniqueness of this custom creation make it a true marvel in the automotive world.

5. 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster – $9.9 million

Most Expensive Mercedes - 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster – $9.9 million

Priced just below the $10 million mark, the Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster is an exceptional example of automotive craftsmanship. This particular model, sold by R.M. Sothebys in 2016, boasts the sought-after original left-hand-drive, high door, long-tailed configuration that collectors desire. What sets this vehicle apart is its status as one of the earliest known 540Ks in existence, with a chassis number of 130894, just six units away from the pre-production 500Ks’ highest number of 130,900. With its 5.4-liter engine, this car is one of only 13 remaining examples.

The accompanying paperwork for this 540K Special Roadster is truly remarkable, providing a nearly complete account of its history. It first arrived in New York City in 1937 and was initially owned by Reginald Sinclaire of Larkspur, Colorado. After twenty years, the car made an appearance in an antique automobile exhibition at the Denver Art Museum before finding its way into the possession of E.W. Price, a resident of Boulder. From there, it changed hands, passing through the ownership of Irving Tushinsky, then Thomas Barrett III, and so on, until it eventually fetched a staggering $9.9 million at auction.

Replete with fascinating details and a rich lineage, this Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster is a testament to the enduring allure of classic automobiles. Its rarity, impeccable documentation, and exceptional design make it a true gem for discerning collectors and enthusiasts alike.

6. Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo – $8.25 million

Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo

This 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster stands as an early exemplar of luxury automobiles. While the Ford Model T catered to the masses, the Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo was crafted for individuals who demanded nothing short of excellence from their means of transportation. Its interior boasts a lavish lining of lizard skin and purpleheart wood, while the body, masterfully constructed by the renowned Carrosserie J. Saoutchik of Paris, showcases long frame rails that elegantly sweep over both axles. The S Torpedo’s 6,789 CC dual-carbureted six-cylinder engine generates a formidable 180 horsepower and is strategically positioned further back to enhance weight distribution. Remarkably, this particular S Torpedo is the sole surviving example of the short windshield variant, with only three ever produced, and the whereabouts of the other two remain unknown.

This automobile has captivated audiences for nearly a century. It was prominently displayed by Mercedes-Benz New York at the 1929 New York Auto Salon and was even featured in the Auto Salon edition of Motor Magazine. More recently, the S Torpedo earned the prestigious best of show crown at the esteemed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Furthermore, it underwent an arduous restoration process under the skilled hands of Paul Russell and Company. This meticulous restoration involved extensive research to recreate an alloy identical to the original bodywork, sourcing 200 lizard hides from Southeast Asia, and meticulously re-engraving the plates bearing the name of the original coachbuilder. In 2013, the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster was auctioned for a staggering $8.25 million by RM Sotheby’s. Although the price may appear steep, it is worth noting that this 85-year-old vehicle had only accumulated 30,000 miles and had been owned by just two previous individuals, a testament to its exceptional condition and rarity.

7. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing — $6.825 million

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing

The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing is widely regarded as the pioneering supercar, and this specific model exemplifies its greatness. Equipped with a 3.0-liter NSL engine that perfectly matches the original numbers, this vehicle boasts its authentic alloy body and various factory features, including a sports suspension. Unlike the conventional steel-bodied 300 SLs, the rarer and lighter alloy versions played a pivotal role in Mercedes’ dominance in 1950s racing, triumphing in prestigious events such as Le Mans, the Carrera Panamericana, Mille Miglia, and Liège-Rome-Liège. A mere 24 alloy models were manufactured, in stark contrast to the 1,371 units of the standard steel version produced by Mercedes.

Diverging from the traditional steel and glass construction, the body panels of this car are meticulously crafted from aluminum, while its windows, excluding the windshield, are composed of plexiglass. This particular model showcases a high-speed rear axle and suspension system, meticulously designed to enhance handling and provide an exhilarating experience for the driver as they push the speedometer to its limits. In a remarkable turn of events, this extraordinary vehicle fetched a staggering sum of nearly $7 million at the RM Sothebys Arizona auction in January 2022.

8. 1927 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/180 Sportwagen — $5 million

1927 Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26180 Sportwagen — $5 million

This incredibly rare Mercedes-Benz S-Type 26/180 Sportwagen was sold at the prestigious Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auction for a staggering sum of just over $5 million in 2011. This exquisite vehicle boasts an impressive award-winning pedigree, having secured the coveted Pebble Beach Class Award. Like other high-end pre-war Mercedes models, the 26/180 Sportwagen showcases the exceptional Sindelfingen coachwork, a unique design crafted by a master coach builder onto a factory-made chassis. Notably, the chassis was ingeniously designed by Ferdinand Porsche, who later established his own globally-renowned car manufacturing empire.

Beneath the hood lies a powerful twin-carbureted, six-cylinder, 6.7-liter engine, complemented by a Roots type supercharger. This remarkable combination enables the Sportwagen to unleash a formidable 180 horsepower. Adding to its allure is the astonishing originality of this S-Type 26/180 Sportwagen. The vehicle boasts matching serial numbers throughout, and its bodywork remains unchanged from almost a century ago, truly exemplifying its rarity and historical significance.

9. 1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR — $4.5 million

1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR — $4.5 million

The Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR was not initially intended for road use; it was meticulously crafted by AMG and Mercedes-Benz with the racetrack in mind. Their goal was to compete in the prestigious Fédération Internationale de l’Automobiles (FIA) GT Championship, which mandated that the participating sports cars must be racing versions of production models. In order to meet these requirements, Mercedes and AMG constructed the race car they desired and subsequently manufactured 25 units for public sale.

Among these limited production vehicles, the one we are discussing holds the distinguished number nine out of the 25. It boasts an exceptional condition, with both the paint and drive train remaining in their original state. Remarkably, it even retains its original ice manual and service books, providing a glimpse into its pristine history. Additionally, a crate filled with various parts accompanies this extraordinary automobile. Furthermore, its mileage is astonishingly low, with less than 1,500 kilometers (approximately 900 miles) recorded on the odometer at the time of its sale.
This rare gem, a road-legal race car, commanded a staggering price of over $4.5 million at the esteemed RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction in 2018.

10. Mercedes-Benz 500K roadster — $3.76 million

Mercedes-Benz 500K roadster — $3.76 million

Unlike most of the other cars on this list, this particular vehicle did not legally sell. The gavel came down, a staggering $3.76 million exchanged hands, and the car crossed continents for the second time in its existence. However, a fierce legal battle unfolded in the German courts, resulting in the vehicle being returned to the descendants of one of its previous owners.

Mercedes-Benz 500Ks are not only rare but also highly coveted, especially the roadster models, of which fewer than 30 were ever produced. The 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K roadster at the heart of this controversy originally belonged to the German industrialist Hans Prym, who found himself imprisoned at the conclusion of World War Two. After Prym’s ownership, the Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster found its way to the United States, where it changed hands among private collectors before ultimately being put up for auction in 2011.

During the auction, overseen by RM Sotheby, the roadster caught the attention of Dutch businessman Frans van Haren, who made the decision to bring it back to Germany. However, his plans were swiftly thwarted as the car was promptly seized upon its arrival. The courts ruled that the vehicle still rightfully belonged to Prym’s grandchildren. Adding to the businessman’s misfortune, the German court determined that the clock on the 30-year statute of limitations would only start ticking while the car was present in the country, preventing Prym’s heirs from claiming it (via Autoweek).
In summary, this extraordinary tale of the Mercedes-Benz 500K roadster showcases its exceptional rarity and desirability. Despite the legal hurdles and ownership disputes it has faced, this remarkable automobile continues to captivate enthusiasts and collectors alike.

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