1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

£110,000 - £150,000

RM | Sotheby's - LONDON 2015

Chassis No.
Engine No.
Body No.

Documents: Swedish RegistreringsbevisetDocuments: Swedish Registreringsbeviset

  • Matching-numbers chassis, engine, and body
  • Presented in its original specification; includes original tool bag
  • Recent photo-documented, body-off restoration
  • Less than 800 kilometres since completion

105 bhp, 1,897 cc SOHC inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, swing axle rear suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,400 mm

In 1954, Mercedes-Benz’s legendary competition-inspired 300 SL entered production. Few other cars could come close in either performance or style, but it also carried a hefty price. New York importer Max Hoffman wanted a smaller and more affordable version, which he could sell in greater volumes.

The end result was the 190 SL, a stunning roadster in the style of the 300 SL, which reached the market in 1955 and significantly outsold its big brother. The 190 SL was Daimler-Benz’s first volume sports car, known internally as the W121. It used a shortened version of the W120 platform and topped it with the unique roadster body shell. The 190 SL was produced from 1955 to 1963, and Mercedes-Benz built a total of 25,881 units over the production run.

The car was marketed as more of a comfortable cruiser than the powerful 300 SL sports car, yet it delivered solid performance for the era, with a top speed of 110 mph, combined with relatively frugal fuel economy, delivering upwards of 26 miles to each gallon. The 190 SL offered a surprising amount of luggage space, with its comparatively large boot and a roomy interior, perfectly befitting of its role of a sports tourer rather than an out-and-out sports racer. Further boosting its desirability, the 190 SL sold for $3,840 when new, which was just half that of its big brother.

This 190 SL roadster was first registered on 7 February 1962 in Denmark and was owned by a Mr Simonsen until 1979. It was then sold to its second owner in Sweden. It was from that owner that the current consignor acquired this car and in the process became the car’s third owner from new, as confirmed by the car’s accompanying registration documents.

This matching-numbers example, complete with its original radio and clock, has recently been subject to a three-year, no-expense spared restoration, with a large proportion of the work having been carried out by Stradolr. The restoration was done in accordance with the car’s original Fahrzeug Data Karte and was well documented, with detailed photographs available on file. Since its comprehensive and high-quality restoration, this 190 SL has travelled fewer than 800 kilometres and includes its original tool bag.

Put simply, this magnificent example of the desirable 190 SL wants for nothing. With limited mileage since its thorough restoration, and being finished in its original colour combination, this 190 SL is a fantastic example which is now very much sought after in its own right.

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