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 carburettors, 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.
This Mercedes Benz 190 SL stands out in view of condition and documentation. Since its re- import from the US in 1992 the car has had three fastidious owners in Germany, the last one and current vendor since 2012. It has been completely restored by German specialists with full supporting documentation in 1992/93.
The second German owner from 2006 – 2012 embarked on a further restoration at F. Wallner of Munich to achieve perfection in every respect including a full respray in metallic silver. Since being in the ownership of its last custodian, the car received an annual inspection and maintenance as necessary.
This matching numbers 190 SL comes with a wealth of documentation including an expert report showing condition 1, set out in three folders. Needless to say that this elegant Mercedes SL is in mint condition throughout, starts on the button and has a TÜV to 2018. A superb collectors investment and not to be missed. All documents available in the cars file.