Mercedes-Benz is one of the most successful luxury car companies of all time with one of the most impressive racing groups behind them. The German global auto manufacturer is a division of Daimler AG.
In business officially since 1926 as Daimler-Benz, before that they were Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (1890-1926) and even before that they were Benz & Cie. (1883-1926). Karl Benz’s 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen is widely regarded as the first gasoline-powered automobile.
That being said, you could consider the company the oldest car manufacturer on the planet. As the owners of “the best or nothing” slogan, they’ve made some incredible cars and some rare luxury vehicles that sell for millions of dollars today. Many of those cars are almost 100 years old.
Let’s take a look at 15 of the rarest Mercedes cars of all time, including how many were made (in parenthesis), where they are today, and how much they’re worth.
15. 2002 Mercedes-AMG CLK GTR Roadster (6)
The Mercedes-AMG CLK GTR was a race car intended to race in the FIA GT Championship series in 1997. The Roadster was a road-ready version of the car built after Mercedes-AMG completed 20 coupes. Of the six, chassis #1 was the only one painted in black, and #2 was in dark silver with a magenta interior.
The Sultan of Brunei once owned one of the six. It’s often considered the “ultimate Mercedes” (via motorious.com), and can go for $2.5 to $3.5 million.
14. 2002 Mercedes-AMG CLK GTR Super Sport (5)
The CLK GTR Super Sport was a second variant built after the Roadster, similar to the CLK GTRs but powered by a new 7.3-liter Mercedes-AMG V12 engine, which had been used in a Pagani Zonda. It generated 655 hp and 580 lb-ft of torque, and an additional front splitter was added.
Only five were built with the 7.3-liter engines, and they can travel up to 215 mph. One sold at auction for $3.3 million.
13. 1998 Mercedes-AMG CLK LM (5)
After conquering the FIA GT Championship, Mercedes wanted to take on Le Mans in 1998. They built the CLK LM to participate, with an M120 V12 engine that put out 600 hp and reached a speed of 205 mph. Three race versions, one crash test car, and one road-going version were built.
Chassis #5 was sold by Mercedes-AMG to a private collector in Japan after the 1998 season, and has since changed ownership.
12. Mercedes-Benz C112 Concept/Vision SLR Concept/AMG Vision GT Concept (3)
We put these three concepts together because only one model exists of each, and they each sold for $3 million apiece.
The C112 Concept came about in 1991, equipped with a 6-liter V12; the 1999 Vision SLR Concept was a joint project between DaimlerChrysler and McLaren; and the 2013 AMG Vision GT Concept was powered by AMG’s twin-turbo V8 with 577 hp. It was used in the Justice League film. Pictured here is the C112 Concept.
11. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (9)
One of the rarest Mercedes, with only nine built, the 300 SLR was a two-seater sports car. Two of the nine were converted into 300 SLR/300 SL hybrids, as legal road-racers with coupe styling, and gullwing doors.
Though similar looking to the 300SL Gullwing, the 300 SLR was derived from the wildly successfully W196. With a speed of 180 mph, it was by far the fastest road car in the world during its time.
10. 2014 Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo (5)
Even though this isn’t the Vision GT Concept, the “production” version of the car is also incredibly rare. After Daimler AG did not launch the concept car, an American company, J&S Worldwide Heritage Holdings, announced the production of five cars.
The producer of the Gran Turismo video game, Kazunori Yamauchi attended the car presentation. Two copies were intended for Europe, two for the Middle East, and one for the U.S.
9. 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Mansory Renovatio (2)
With a 340 km/h (211 mph) top speed, the SLR McLaren customized by Mansory, called the Renovatio, is not only one of the fastest rare Mercedes, but it’s one of the nicest looking too.
The golden design is an absolute head turner, and though Mansory can customize your SLR McLaren into a Renovatio, only two are known to exist. One of them sold in Germany in 2014.
8. 2011-2013 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren MSO Edition (25)
Although over 2,150 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLarens were built from 2003-2010, there’s only 25 “McLaren MSO Edition” models from the "McLaren Special Operations" division. It was the rarest of the specials.
It included revised bodywork and interior parts like the grille, top shell, side grills, rear diffuser, wheels, and both bumpers, plus upgraded steering, suspension components, and a new titanium sports exhaust. The personalization costs £150,000.
7. 2016 Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe Black Edition By Mansory (6)
via Top Speed
Another Mansory masterpiece, the S63 Coupe Black Edition was limited to six cars. Mansory managed to unlock 1,000 hp from this beast, from its 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, up from 577 hp. It also had 1,033 lb-ft of torque.
The S63 added a “M1000” power pack to boost its performance, and all the superfluous insides were taken out. No one knows where the six are, as Mansory didn’t list a price for any of the six models.
6. 1928-1932 Mercedes-Benz SSK Roadster (38)
via Concept Carz
This old timey two-seater sports car was built from 1928 to 1932. The SSK Roadster was one of the most successful racing cars of its day, contrary to its looks, and though 38 were originally built, experts think that only five exist today. One sold in Paris back in 2004 for $3.3 million. It’s considered one of the best cars of the 20th century, thanks to its 200-hp straight-6 engine.
5. 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Autobahn Cruiser (6)
via YouTube/Automobile Classics
The Mercedes-Benz 500K was built between 1934-36, but the Special Roadster was even rarer, built only in 1935. The luxury performance model was one of the most comfortable rides of the era, and though a few hundred 500Ks were made, only 6 "Autobahn cruisers" were. One sold in 2011 at Monterey, California, for $3.7 million to a private auctioneer. But hey, at least you can find replicas for about $40,000!
4. 1928-1932 Mercedes-Benz SSK Type 38/250 (31-35)
This beastly little car is another luxury vehicle built in the days of old, from 1928 to 1932. It’s believed that only 31 to 35 units were made. One of them was sold by British auction house Bonhams in 2004 for $7.4 million, making it one of the most expensive Mercedes ever, as well as one of the rarest (those two facts correlate, of course).
3. 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo (6)
via Top Speed
The 680S Torpedo was partially designed by Mercedes-Benz, but extensive bodywork was done by French manufacturer Saoutchik. There are only six models of the rare car built, out of 12 total bodies that were built by Saoutchik.
In 2013, one of the copies sold by RM Auctions in California for a whopping $8.25 million! One was sold at Pebble Beach in 2012 after being masterfully restored.
2. 1936-1944 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster (25)
via Hemmings Motor News
The 540 K Special Roadster is another extremely rare model built between 1936 and 1944, with only 25 manufactured, and far less still existing today. It had an upgraded engine to the 500K, plus a limousine version, coupe, and two-seat cabriolet.
Two were sold within a year of each other, in 2011 and 2013: a 1936 model for $12 million, and 1937 model for $10 million, making them one of the priciest cars sold at auction.
1. 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 (15)
via Ultimate Car Page
The most expensive Mercedes-Benz ever sold at auction, and one of the rarest Mercedes ever, was the W196 race car. It won nine of 12 races and both of the World Championships it entered during the 1954 and 1955 Formula One season. The engine powering it was based on the Messerschmitt 109 plane of WWII.
In 2013, one sold at Bonhams for $29.6 million! After a tragic crash at Le Mans with a W196, Mercedes pulled out of racing for the next three decades.
References: successstory.com, roadandtrack.com, Mercedes-enthusiasts.co.uk, motor1.com