Portola Hotel & Spa
16 - 17 August 2013
Lot 141

1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster


$269,500 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
  • Just completed, no-expense-spared, frame-off restoration in Germany
  • Stunning Anthracite Grey over Cognac leather combination
  • Complete with hardtop, soft top, and matching Cognac leather luggage

120 hp, 1,897 cc overhead-camshaft inline four-cylinder engine with twin Solex carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with coil springs, swing axle rear suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

Addendum: Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.

As the brainchild of legendary European car importer Max Hoffman, the first Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster was designed to serve as a more lifestyle-oriented complement to the outlandish 300SL Gullwing Coupe.

Hoffman built on the racing-oriented gullwing's curvaceous shape, allowing both the hardtop coupe and the subsequent roadsters to share a design language that was unique to the Stuttgart automaker in the early 1950s. Both the six-cylinder 300SL and four-cylinder 190SL models were marketed, but the less expensive latter vastly outsold its “big brother,” proving that Hoffman's knack for success was unparalleled among automobile importers. Both the 190SL and the 300SL were virtually identical cosmetically.

That the 190SL was both stunning to behold and a good deal more practical for real world use helped seal the deal for well-healed buyers, particularly in trendy Southern California. More than 26,000 found owners during the 190SL's 1955 to 1963 production run.

While 190SLs are not uncommon in the collector car market, rarely does the opportunity come to acquire one that has just been restored to factory specifications not far from where it was originally built. This 190SL was subjected to an extensive, frame-off restoration by noted SL experts, “SL – Classics” in Düren, Germany.

The 190SL was sourced from California before being shipped to Germany for the year-and-a-half long restoration. Virtually all of its original parts were retained and restored rather than replaced with inferior reproduction or aftermarket units. Eighteen months after being sent to Germany, the 190SL returned to California aboard a Lufthansa cargo jet, just as if it had rolled off the assembly line. It is perhaps the finest 190SL in existence.

Swathed in Code 172 Anthracite Grey Metallic, the 190SL is set off by a Tobacco Brown canvas soft top and a sumptuous Cognac leather interior, which is an upgrade over the vinyl that adorned the seating surfaces of most 190SLs. A matching Anthracite hardtop is also included, as well as a full set of tools and matching Cognac leather luggage.

Since its restoration was completed, just a handful of “break in” miles have accumulated on its odometer, meaning its next owner will truly feel as though they have been transported back to 1961.