In 1954, Mercedes displayed a concept at the New York Auto show of a beautiful two-seat roadster with a removable hardtop. This concept came to market in 1955 as the 190SL, a more approachable, less intense sports car compared to the record-breaking 300SL ‘Gullwing’. While the 190SL features a carbureted 1.9 liter inline four cylinder engine compared to the 300SL’s direct-injected 3 liter slant six, they share basic engine design, suspension system, and level of detail and craftsmanship that defines Mercedes-Benz.
The new engine, which shared the same bore and stroke of the 300SL, was paired with dual Solex carburetors and produced 120 horsepower. This powerplant was paired with a fully synchronized 4-speed transmission that sent power to the rear swing axles. The 190SL implemented the same suspension systems as the 300SL, affording it confident handling and drivability.
The 190SL is immediately recognizable as a Mercedes, featuring dramatic curves and through yet restrained use of brightwork that defined this era of Mercedes. Many styling cues are borrowed from the 300SL as well, notably the massive three-pointed star in the grille as well as the ‘eyebrows’ over the wheels.
While the 190SL did not quite offer the performance of other sports cars of the era, the impeccable quality and attractive styling made the 190 a massive success- selling over 25,000 units before production ceased in 1963. Many of these models were delivered to the United States, where its driving demeanor and elegant styling were highly valued. The 190SL is an important part of the culture of small roadsters in the 1950s, as it demonstrated how luxurious the platform could be.
Well sorted throughout, the fine brightwork compliments the beige paintwork nicely. The black convertible top and window are equally well presented. Mechanically, this car is in fine working order and is confirmed to be matching numbers. This 190SL presents a rare opportunity to acquire a great example one of the most stylish roadsters of the 1950s with increased driving pleasure.