The classic Type 107 Mercedes-Benz bodyshell was retired in 1989. It had served a long and prosperous life, lasting almost two decades and captured the hearts of enthusiast from around the globe. The new Type 129 body style was equally appealing and sleek in a modern idiom. The Type 129 body style was used for three different engine types: 6.0-liter V12, 5.0-liter V8 and 3.0-liter straight six. The 300SL was given a fuel-injected six that was available in both 12- and 24-valve versions, the latter being 41 horsepower more powerful at 231 BHP, the only available option in the United States, and offering improved performance with zero-to-sixty mph taking just 8.4 seconds. Top speed was in the neighborhood of 150 mph. The vehicles were so impressive that event the late Princess Diana replaced her XJS with a 500SL in 1992. This was the first time a member of the British royal family acquired a car not built in their own Kingdom.
The new SL luxury sports cars were designed to be leaders in their class and were lavishly equipped in the finest Mercedes-Benz tradition.
The Mercedes-Benz R129 model was the first convertible/roadster to offer the automatic roll-bar deployment in the event of rollover. The roll-bar could also be manually raised and lowered.
The 600SL was introduced in 1993 and was re-badged the SL600 in 1994. The SL320 replaced the 300 SL in the United States in 1995.
In 1994, the SL-Class was given a minor facelift including white turn signal indicators in the front, and changes to the tail lamps.
In 1996, the SL roadsters were given side airbags as standard equipment. The following year, a new optional top became available. Buyers had the choice of purchasing the SL-Class with the standard aluminum hardtop, a folding top, or the optional Panorama glass hardtop. Pricing for the SL 320 began at $79,500 while the SL 500 was priced at $89,900. The SL 600 sold for $123,200 and just 738 examples were built.By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2016
Max Hoffman was responsible for the sporty two-seat Mercedes-Benz 190SL sports car. The S represented 'Sports' while the L meant Light, or 'Sehr Leicht'. With a curb weight of 2560 pounds, it was hardly 'light' when compared with other vehicles in it class, some 500 through 1000 pounds less. It was however an excellent alternative to the higher-priced Mercedes-Benz 300SL. The gullwing-door 300SL was available only as a coupe while the 190 SL could be purchased as a Roadster with a soft top convertible or with a removable hardtop roof.
In 1954, Mercedes introduced its two-door 190SL at the New York Auto Show. Fifteen months later the production version was displayed at the 1955 Geneva Auto Show. Gone was the air-scoop that had been on the hood, along with other aesthetic aspects.
The 300SL was initially priced at $7,460 while the 190SL was $3998. As a result the 190SL outsold the 300SL by nearly eight to one. In its best year 4,032 190SL's were produced. In its worst year only 104 examples were produced.
Under the hood was an 1897 cc four-cylinder OHC engine that was capable of producing around 105 horsepower. It took 14.5 seconds to go from zero to sixty and had a top speed of nearly 110 mph. Drum brakes were placed on all four corners of the 14 foot, one inch vehicle. Servo brakes were optional until 1956 at which point they became standard.
The engine capacity was taken into account when naming the vehicle. By moving the decimal place once to the left, it created 189.7. The number was then rounded up to 190. So the 190 represents the approximate engine capacity in liters, meaning about 1.9 liters.
The 190SL production run lasted from 1955 through 1963. Most of the body-styles were open roadsters the rest were coupes. In comparison to many other nameplates, this is a very low number, guarantying its exclusivity and rarity in today's standards. It was a beautiful sibling to the prestigious and awe-inspiring gullwing door 300SL.By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2006