1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

Between 1955 and 1963, fewer than 26,000 examples of the Mercedes-Benz 190SL were produced with many of those being sent to the United States. They were built alongside their race-bred sibling, the 300SL. The 190SL was a less expensive version and based on the 180 saloon. Mounted on a detachable sub-frame, the car was propelled through a 1897cc overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual gearbox. With twin Solex downdraft carburetors, the M121 unit offered 120 SAE horsepower giving the 190Sl a top speed of 171km/h.

This Mercedes-Benz 190SL was purchased new by the father of the current owner and has never been out of the family. A restoration was performed by the owner's son in the late 1990s. it served as a daily driver until 2003, at which point consideration was made to prepare the car for showing. The car is currently in fine concours condition.
HardTop Coupe
Chassis Num: 121.040.6503307
Sold for $165,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company.
Mercedes-Benz built 25,881 examples of the 190 SL (just 4,032 in 1956) between 1955 and 1963. It made its debut at the New York Auto Show in 1954 and was offered alongside the 300 SL. This particular example is an early-production example that is fitted with the most desirable factory specifications and offers a tremendous degree of originality. It spent a short time at the original selling dealership where its paintwork was damaged by falling glass within the showroom window and was therefore refinished in the original shade of Erdbeerrot or 'Strawberry' (DB 543).

This roadster was purchased new by Robert Roberts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was delivered with a removable hardtop only.

The current owner acquired the car in December of 2012. At the time, the odometer shows just over 31,000 original miles. The current owner had the body stripped to bare metal and refinished, using the factory-applied dashboard paint as the standard for matching. The original Light Grey (1058) Roser leather interior, while in good condition, was treated using the Leatherique process.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2014
Conceived for the American market, the Mercedes-Benz 190SL was given many advanced engineering features including four-wheel drum brakes, a single overhead-camshaft four-cylinder engine, conventional doors, and a swing axle rear suspension. It was a car that provided luxury, comfort, and excellent road manners combined in a stylish package.

This particular example is finished in ivory over red. It is an original radio delete car that is very complete and was produced during the second year or production.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2015
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
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