December 22, 2012

Driving the world's most valuable car, the Mercedes 300 SLR Coupe

Rudolf Uhlenhaut with the 300 SRL Coupe

If you have a fabulous collection of classic cars but you need to find that one car that is just impossible to find, something that might make your friends GTO look plain, chance are you might ring Simon Kidston.

Why? Because he's the kind of person so connected in the "priceless rolling sculpture" trade that the Mercedes Museum calls up and offers a drive in what is most likely the world's most valuable car. I say most likely because Mercedes is certainly never going to sell this one, one of just two in existence.

This race car was never raced, it was supposed to compete in the 1956 season but Mercedes withdrew from competition ofter the Le Mans disaster of 1955. The last time Mercedes ever allowed anyone outside of the company to drive the 300 SLR Coupe was in 1954 when they allowed a Swiss car magazine to drive it at 4 am on the autobahn. At the time the magazine, Automobil Revue recorded a top speed of just over 176 mph.

The Mercedes 300 SLR "Uhlenhaut" Coupe after designer Rudolf Uhlenhaut is the closed version of the famous SLR driven by Moss at the 1955 Mille Miglia. It is a front mid engined, three liter desmodromic valve straight eight, magnesium alloy bodied coupe based on the W196 Formula 1 car. Weighing just under 2000 lbs it is rated at just over 300 hp. After Mercedes abandoned racing, this car became the designer's company car, he suffered from hearing loss later in life.  Priceless and amazingly loud, I wonder where the other one is?


  1. Cool car, but I don't really get into drooling over something no one is ever allowed to drive. It's like having a Picasso or a Rembrandt and putting it in the garage because you're afraid something might happen to it.

    It's a kind of nose up attitude about this stuff that I don't really get with. Machines are just that...when you really look at it this car is really no different other than the wine, cheese and suits associated with it.

    They should drive this thing and drive it hard, it was meant to be driven. Shame to see such an iconic car sit in a museum only taken out on rare occasions.

    1. The car is in the Mercedes Museum, they just don't let "outsiders" have a go. Not exactly a car you can just take out and beat on. It runs on a gas- benzene mix, it has a racing clutch, probably no brakes in a modern sense.... Not exactly your practical runabout :)

    2. So what we're looking at is a dinosaur in a museum: We're glad they're around so we can appreciate them, but we're all happy they aren't the standard today.

      It's a reminder how far we've come. Someone recently did 283mph in a standing mile in a daily driven GT40.

      So much for nostalgia. Like I said...cheese and wine...

  2. I can't explain how jealous I am of Kidston right now...this car is my all time favourite, and I would agree that it just might be one of the most valuable cars in the world...even though in its origins it did not really set out to be that. I'm going out to drive my w108 and pretend its an SLR...cheers!

  3. Nice video. Amazing (and odd) that the head of the Mercedes Museum has not driven it but they let a broker whip around some public motorways... Even if he is a dignified one. Director of the Mercedes Museum sounds like a job with some serious teasing. Like being a lesbian in a brothel and being told to wait outside.

    I wonder if this is the other car (note the enormous side muffler) -


nRelate Posts Only