Monterey | Lot 208
1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
$235,200 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
13 August 2021
- Beautifully finished in striking Ice Green over a dark green interior
- Nicely presented concours restoration performed in The Netherlands
- Retains matching-numbers chassis, engine, and body
- Accompanied by factory hardtop, manuals, tools, copy of data card, and May 2020 service invoice
Following the success of the 300 SL coupe and roadster, Mercedes-Benz's United States importer, Max Hoffman, suggested that a similarly styled, less costly alternative might be successful. The resulting car was the 190 SL, and it featured styling that was derived from its elder sibling, which many an enthusiast adored but only few could afford. The car proved popular with the public at the 1954 New York Auto Show, and it remained in strong demand throughout its nine-year production run.
The 190 SL was powered by a 1.9-liter inline four-cylinder with twin Solex carburetors. Producing 120 horsepower, it offered a top speed of over 105 mph. The 190 SL was well-suited for touring, as it featured copious amounts of luggage space, despite having a convertible top. Top-down cruising was effortless, and both the driver and passenger could arrive at their destination ready for whatever was in store for them after a day-long drive.
Much of this 190 SL’s early life was reportedly spent in the ownership of one family in California. Subsequently, it was shipped to The Netherlands, where it received a comprehensive concours restoration to exacting specifications. Having seen little use under the care of its next owners, this delightful roadster has accrued only limited mileage and still presents in excellent condition throughout; it includes includes a matching hardtop as well as its manuals and tools.
Acquired by the consignor in 2018, this 190 SL has benefitted from nearly $17,400 of work completed by Burback Motors of Portland, Oregon in May 2020. This included the installation of a new cylinder head, as well as engine tuning to ensure proper operation on tours—a task for which the 190 SL is eminently suitable.
The fact that the 190 SL was both stunning to behold and quite practical for real-world use helped to seal the deal for well-heeled buyers when new; more than 26,000 examples found owners during the 190 SL's production run from 1955 to 1963, and they are very well regarded to this day. This particular 190 SL is in outstanding condition, as it has traveled limited miles since the completion of its full European restoration, and it would surely attract plenty of attention at any Mercedes-Benz club event.