Lot 208

Monterey 2023

1955 Mercedes-Benz 190 SLR

Offered from The Iannelli Family Collection


$329,500 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
Engine No.
Body No.
US Title
  • Offered from The Iannelli Family Collection
  • Accurate 190 SLR conversion built by model guru Bruce Adams circa 1995
  • Subsequently treated to a six-figure restoration by Mercedes-Benz Classic Center
  • Previously owned by actor and race car driver, Patrick Dempsey
  • Fitted with modified engine, racing windscreen, cut-down lightweight doors, roll bar, light alloy disc wheels, fuel cell, electronic ignition, and 300 SL Coupe seats

Learning from his contemporaneous success with Porsche’s Speedster model, in early 1954 dealer extraordinaire Max Hoffman spurred Mercedes-Benz to create speed parts for their new 190 SL. The company quickly produced marketing materials which noted the availability of a special-order competition windscreen (SA 55056) and lightweight cut-down doors (SA 55039) for club racers. Yet by the time that orders began delivery in March 1955, these two options had entirely disappeared from the model’s catalogue. This sudden redaction was because the 190 SL was not properly homologated—it could not be raced competitively against full-blown sports cars.

Very few of these “Rennen” kits were produced, and even fewer were delivered to customers as loosely packed components. Mercedes-Benz nonetheless continued to display the “Sports Roadster” configuration in 190 SL brochures until late 1956.

This remarkable US-market 190 SLR conversion was built in the 1990s by model guru, historian, and restorer Bruce Adams (190 SL Restorations, LLC) for longtime 190 SL Group President Tom Hamilton of East Rochester, New York. During Hamilton’s decade-plus of ownership, he entered this car in a variety of tours, shows (including the 2000 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance), and vintage racing events.

From 2006 to 2008, the car was owned by actor and race car driver Patrick Dempsey, who subsequently included it in a marketing campaign. Mercedes-Benz Classic Center then brokered this SLR from Dempsey to The Iannelli Family Collection, and in March 2013 the car returned for a comprehensive restoration which was completed in 2014 at a cost of approximately $140,000. Invoices on file illustrate that absolutely nothing escaped redress by the Classic Center’s factory-trained specialists; many facets of Adam’s original build were thoroughly improved or redone with brand-new OEM componentry.

As built by Adams and more recently restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, this remarkable 190 SLR is presented with an extensively modified, high-compression 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine fed by twin Solex carburetors, a racing-style windscreen, cut-down lightweight doors, a bolt-in roll hoop, light alloy disc wheels, modern safety fuel cell, temperature-operated electric cooling fan, and Pertronix electronic ignition. During its restoration in 2013, this SLR was refinished in the stunning shade of Light Green (DB 274), which serves as a perfect partner to a beautifully trimmed pair of gabardine cloth (L2) seats of the type typically found in the 300 SL.

Under current ownership, this fascinating 190 SLR has been retained within the Iannelli family’s climate-controlled private museum—always benefiting from regular servicing as part of its schedule of display, exhibition, and enjoyment. Since its reemergence in 2014, the car has claimed multiple “Best of Show” honors, most notably at the Legends of The Autobahn in Pacific Grove, California. Perfect for vintage track days and road rallies, this 190 SLR is a truly exceptional interpretation of a fascinating and obscure model.