- An attractive example of Mercedes-Benz’s glamorous 1950s roadster
- Equipped with charming features of its era, such as a dash-mounted clock and push-button radio
- Powered by a 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine paired with a four-speed manual transmission
- Eligible for historic rally events, including the Mille Miglia
On reflection of Mercedes-Benz’s 1950s model range, this era represents the bedrock of the Three-Pointed Star’s legendary reputation for making some of the finest road-going sports cars. Bosses at the Stuttgart firm realised the importance of meeting the growing trend towards convertibles, chiefly motivated by great demand for roadsters in the USA. And so, in 1955, the 190 SL joined the line-up alongside both coupé and roadster iterations of the all-conquering 300 SL.
The entry-level 190 SL was powered by a 1.9-litre inline-four that was derived from the 3.0-litre straight-six found in the 300 SL. The similarities did not end there, with the 190 SL marketed by Mercedes-Benz as a more affordable alternative to the Gullwing—and later, the 300 SL Roadster. Many of the shared styling cues are obvious, walking around the exterior of the 190 SL, while beneath the skin both models made use of a similar independent suspension system. To keep costs down, engineers did away with the tubular spaceframe of the W198 platform, instead adapting the older W121 chassis for volume production. From its earliest years, the 190 SL was positioned by Mercedes-Benz as a capable tourer to rival the likes of Porsche’s 356. It could comfortably accommodate two occupants along with the luggage for a weekend getaway, despite the upper part of the car being designed around its folding roof mechanism.
This example, chassis 7501537, was first registered for the road in June 1957. While the earliest history of the 190 SL is not known, this Mercedes-Benz is documented to have been bought by the Lausanne-based family of the consigning owner in July 2017. The attractive roadster is finished in black with a tan leather interior, complemented by a cream-coloured hood, and whitewall tyres. Charming period features punctuate the interior, such as the dash-mounted clock and push-button radio. This smart and well-presented 190 SL is accompanied by a photographic record of renovation work, though the apparent restoration isn’t fully documented.
Oozing period charm and 1950s glamour, this beautifully finished and stylish 190 SL is a fine example of Mercedes-Benz’s seminal open-topped tourer. Whether to be enjoyed on sun-kissed outings or participating in historic events such as the Mille Miglia, it presents the ideal vantage point from which to comfortably travel in style.