Lot 305

Monterey 2015

1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL


$198,000 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Monterey, California



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  • Recent and comprehensive restoration, including photo documentation
  • Equipped with the rare, optional “kinder” third seat
  • Complete with tartan-lined fitted luggage, a tool kit, and a set of books

120 hp, 1,897 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine, synchronized four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and wishbones, low-pivot swing-axle rear suspension, and servo-assisted four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

The 300 SL was never intended to be a sports car for the masses or to sell in huge numbers; but it would, no doubt, attract customers into showrooms. Daimler-Benz began development of the 190 SL in 1952, just before the introduction of its volume Pontoon sedans. Like the sedans, it was constructed with a welded frame-floor structure and separate sub-frame. However, it rode a shorter wheelbase, not coincidentally, exactly the same as the 300 SL.

As the company’s first volume sports car, the 190 SL shared the 120-horsepower, 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine and running gear with the W120 model Type 180 Sedan, while also offering styling similar to the legendary 300 SL Gullwing Coupe and Roadster. The resemblance to the 300 SL was certainly intentional. At $3,840 new in 1955, it was half the price of its muscular sibling, which introduced a roadster model of its own starting in 1957. Mercedes-Benz followed the Austin-Healey/Triumph TR-series formula of the era by creating a new car using off-the-shelf components it had available from its other car lines. The 190 SL (for Sport Light) was produced from 1955 through 1963, with Mercedes-Benz building 25,881 units. The factory claimed a top speed of 110 mph, with 0–60 mph times of 13.3 seconds, while also offering up to 26 mpg, the perfect combination for effortless touring.

According to Mercedes-Benz production data, this 190 SL was built in the first half of 1960. It is equipped with the rare, optional “kinder” third seat, designed for occasional use. The consigner proudly boasts that the car was comprehensively restored in 2014, and a book with photos documenting the process was completed at that time. It is offered in a handsome combination of Graffit-Grau (DB190) over a Natur (1068) tan leather interior, with the new interior fitted at the time of restoration. A complete tool kit, full set of books, and tartan-lined fitted luggage to match the interior are included in the sale of the vehicle. Equipped with the proper Solex dual carburetors, the consigner adds that under the hood “the level of care in the restoration is immediately recognizable in the materials and colors used—a trait evident throughout the car.”

Much like the “big brother” 300 SL, the 190 SLs have correspondingly increased in desirability. They, too, have become “must haves” in any important collection. This lovely roadster would no doubt be an excellent example for any enthusiast.