For those insufficiently wealthy to afford its hyper-expensive, race-bred sports car – the 300SL – Mercedes-Benz offered the less exotic but no less refined 190SL. Announced in 1954 and based on the 180 saloon, whose all-independently-suspended running gear it used, the 190SL did not enter production until January 1955, the delay being caused by alterations aimed at strengthening the saloon’s shortened platform to compensate for the open body’s reduced stiffness.
“Very few new sports cars have been so eagerly awaited or so long in coming as the moderately priced SL version of the Mercedes-Benz,” observed Road & Track magazine.
Mounted on a detachable subframe along with the four-speed manual gearbox, front suspension and steering, the power unit was a 1,897cc overhead-camshaft four, the first such engine ever to feature in a Mercedes-Benz. Breathing through twin Solex downdraft carburetors, this M121 power unit produced 105bhp at 5,700rpm, an output sufficient to propel the 190SL to 100km/h in 14.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 171km/h. The fact that the 190’s ride was more boulevard than sporting, and that many contemporary sports cars could outperform it while costing a good deal less, did nothing to deter sales. The model was a big hit in the US, where a good percentage of the slightly fewer than 26,000 produced between 1955 and 1963 found homes.
Finished in the very desirably colour combination of Silver over Red, this stylistically evocative 190SL is truly difficult to fault. Restored as a labour of love by its current private owner, this 190SL has had a vast amount of work done including the fitment of an electric fuel pump for ease of use.
Its bare metal respray has been done to a high standard and included in the cars history file are numerous invoices from Mercedes specialists, previous title documents, its original books and manuals.
With prices on the mainland reaching astronomical figures, this represents a fantastic opportunity to purchase a competitively priced and ready to go example.