The 300 SLR was originally conceived for the race tracks. Mercedes-Benz designed it for the 1956 season, but before it was even completed the company ended up deciding to withdraw from racing at the end of 1955.
Even though it was never given a chance to compete, Rudolf Uhlenhaut – the head of the Test Department – managed to appropriate one of the prototypes and transform it into his company car (hence the nickname Uhlenhaut Coupé).
The car, and it’s signature “gull-wing” doors, easily managed to surpass its competitors and earn the reputation of the fastest road car of that era, reaching a maximum speed of approximately 290km/h (or 180mph). Even though it was never used in an official race, that didn’t keep Uhlenhaut from using it like a race car: upon noticing he was late for a meeting, rumor has it that Uhlenhaut drove from Munich to Stuttgart in just over an hour. Nowadays that same drive takes two-and-a-half hours!
The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé is the only one existing and has always belonged to Mercedes-Benz. Many believe that if this car were ever to go on sale it would fetch the title as the most expensive car in history.