The Mercedes Benz 190SL is today what it was when introduced in 1954 at the New York Motor Show: a less expensive, more practical, and smaller version of the illustrious 300SL. However, certainly not lacking in any of its big brothers technical refinements, the 190SL offered plenty of capability and race bred technology to those enthusiasts considering a sporting roadster. From its production in 1955 through its replacement with the 230SL in 1963, nearly 26,000 would be produced with only a fraction in existence today. The 190SL was also the start of the “options list” for Mercedes-Benz. Never before could a car be tailored like a fine suite the way a 190SL could have been. Everything from elaborate color schemes, tops, accessories such as luggage, seats, and even a very rare sports-racing option was available. These nimble little two seat roadsters with their iconic, forward styling were the first Mercedes-Benz convertibles to hit home with the US market and started a full fledged frenzy, and one that has yet to end over 58 years later. Impeccable styling, reliable performance, and incredible value for money, these 190SL’s are quickly approaching a blue chip status amongst collector cars. They are a must have for any serious collector or enthusiast looking for a smart investment.
The example on offer here, a 1960 Mercedes Benz 190SL is the recipient of a total restoration, as well as having come out of long term single ownership. Thanks to the Mercedes Benz Classic Center, we know that per the original chassis number of 12104010015619 the car was delivered new exactly as follows to New York, the same state where it has remained its entire life with a single owner of Naples, NY:
Chassis number: 121 040 10 015619
Engine number: 121 921 10 015741
Body number: 121 040 01859
Transmission number: 015872
Front axle number, l: 15834
Front axle number, r: 15828
Rear axle number: 015545
Steering box number: 15558
Ignition key code: W 4946
Trunk/glove key code: SR 142
Door/tank key code: N 031
Exterior color code: 040 – black body / 534 – red hardtop
Interior color code: 1088 – red leather
It presents today exactly as it was when new, and as a DB40G (Black) car it shows incredible in its original colors, especially with the contrasting red interior. Having completed a total restoration, this example presents brilliantly as the restoration was completed to very high standards and the car remains in show quality condition to this day. The restoration entailed a total cosmetic and mechanical reconditioning of the car, and all related components. As such the car is offered with receipts from 2002/2003 documenting the comprehensive $14,000 engine rebuilt as well as another $29,000 for a total disassembly and strip and repaint of the entire car to show quality standards. At this time all rubber and most of the chrome were tended to, as well as thousands more for a complete and correctly done interior. The car was reassembled and the steering, suspension, braking etc… were all tended to and either complete rebuilt or new MB parts were utilized. A new correct top was installed, and overall the car presented as an easy show car and an impressive example at the time of completion and today.
Cosmetically this car is dead straight down the sides, the gaps are excellent, and the panel fitment superb. The paint has a deep clean luster throughout, as does the chrome. The glass is free from any blemishes, and all of the rubber seals are new, as well as the door felts. Opening the door to the contrasting red interior shows clean door jams, an incredibly well done interior with excellent leather and correct carpeting. For patina, the original steering wheel and shift knob were kept as a remembrance of pure originality and as such have a beautiful patina to them. The interior overall is a very nice place to pass the day away and won’t disappoint.
Opening the hood reveals a tidy engine bay with the very common Weber carburetor conversion. This is a very acceptable modification amongst MB collectors for the 190SL, and absolutely improves performance, not to mention makes a great sound. The engine shows to be rebuilt and is free of any leaking or seeping of any kind. All systems appear in order and functioning and the car holds excellent oil pressure and temperature thanks to a completely new (documented) engine and rebuilt related components (cooling etc…). Driving this SL is excellent; it’s a real performer that surprises you with a little more application of the right foot. It makes great power for a 190SL shifts easily, and has excellent road manners overall with no complaints.
The underside and trunk is perhaps the most important item to touch on for any Mercedes Benz or classic car form the 1960’s. This example is very well restored, and as such there isn’t the slightest hint of rust on the car at all. The trunk floor is solid and original as are the spare wheel wells. The underside is straight and completely solid throughout with no issues as are the rockers and front and rear fenders/valences, a common place for rust on these cars. The owner of many years enjoyed this example often before its total restoration in 2002/2003, and as such has confirmed it to have always been on the road and a well kept rust free hit free example well before its restoration.
The market in general is making a shift these days, and it’s safe to say the 190SL’s are leading the way. They are finally come into their own and are slowly becoming market mature. This is a prime opportunity for any collector or enthusiast seeking a superb example that is worthy of showing or touring at any MB Club event or concours. Beautiful examples such as these in rare and desirable original colors with a documented restoration and original spare, jack, and book, are not often available. This is an opportunity worth much consideration, especially before the rising price trend puts them out of reach.