During the 50s, when Mercedes-Benz were the dominant force in top-level motor sport, the undisputed flagship of the firm’s production car range was the stunning 300SL sports car. Highly desirable as it was, it was also financially out of the reach of most enthusiasts. Keen to capitalise on the 300SL’s numerous competition successes, and find a foothold in the increasingly lucrative sports car market, Mercedes-Benz introduced its smaller stable mate, the equally beautifully engineered 190SL.
Launched at the 1955 Frankfurt Show, the attractive 190SL roadster looked very similar to the 300SL, but thanks to more modest underpinnings it cost a great deal less. Based on the 180 saloon of 1953 – Mercedes-Benz’s first car to use a unitary construction body/chassis – the 190SL sported all round coil spring suspension and power assisted drum brakes. Power came from a 1,897cc version of the 180 saloon’s four cylinder engine which, via twin Solex carburettors, produced 120bhp at 5,700rpm and 101lb/ft at 3,800rpm. Allied to a four-speed manual gearbox, this endowed the sleek, aerodynamic and comparatively light 190SL with a 115mph top speed and 0-60mph acceleration in a respectable 13.0 seconds.
The superb example on offer today is an original right hand drive model and exported new by its first owner Mark Studd, an architect, to Sierra Leone. The car remained there under his ownership until 1976 where he returned to London along with the car, which is confirmed by a tax disc issued from Sloane Square Post Office from that year. At the end of 1976 the car was put into storage in Newton Ferrers in Devon and remained there until it was purchased by the current and second owner in 1990. The car was used for one year before undergoing a restoration and is supplied with many invoices for work carried out. Described as being in excellent condition in every respect this two owner car, it boasts the rare and desirable hard top and is supplied with a V5 document, MoT certificate valid until August 2015 along with a large file of receipts.
Finished in the traditional colour scheme of silver with blue leather interior, this striking and practical classic sports car is ready for the coming summer months.