1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL was a less expensive, more practical, and smaller version of the 300SL. The race-bred 190 SL was produced from 1955 through 1963 with nearly 26,000 examples built. The engineering of the 190SL (Sport Leichtbau) was led by Fritz Nallinger using proven mechanical components from the 'Ponton' line.

The prototype of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster was showcased alongside the 300 SL Gullwing Coupe at the New York International Auto Show in February 1954. It had a unit-body of steel construction with a subframe that supports the engine and front suspension. Aluminum was used extensively throughout to help reduce weight, including the doors, hood, trunk, dash and other parts. Power was from a 4-cylinder engine that displaced 1897cc and utilized an overhead camshaft with twin side-draft Solex carburetors. The suspension setup was independent all around with A-arms and coil springs in the front and low-pivot swing axle with coil springs at the rear. The engine was backed by a 4-speed floor mounted transmission and braking was by Alfin drums with a vacuum booster.

Zero-to-sixty mph was accomplished in 13 seconds and top speed was achieved near 110 mph.

The body was designed by Walter Hacker and his team under the direction of Mercedes-Benz design head Karl Wilfert. Among the designers was a young Paul Bracq, who was later Mercedes' head of design responsible for the 230/250/280 SL lines and 600 models. Mr. Bracqu's resume also included work for BMW, Citroën, Peugeot, and France's TGV high-speed trains.

The production-ready 190SL was internally designated W121. Following its 1955 Geneva Show debut, customer deliveries soon followed. It earned design awards in Holland, Switzerland, and at France's Grand Prix d'Elegance. Although it was a grand tourer designed for the road, its racing pretensions included a victory by Doug Stearne at the Macao Grand Prix. At Casablanca that year, Mercedes distributor Joseph F. Weckerlé took the under 2.0-litre class win with his 190SL.

The 190SL would outsell the 300SL by a factor of eight to one. A total of 25,881 190SLs were produced, with owners that included Grace Kelly, Gina Lollobrigida, Ingrid Bergman, and Yul Brynner. More recent celebrity owners of the 190SL include former Beatle Ringo Starr and Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow.


by Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2019

Related Reading : Mercedes-Benz SL-Class History

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....
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1957 Vehicle Profiles

1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL vehicle information

Roadster

The 190 SL was available only as a two-seat convertible, or roadster, with optional hardtop, unlike its big brother the 300 SL which was offered as both a coupe (gullwing) and roadster. While they looked much the same, the brothers shared only the su....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL vehicle information

Roadster

This is an absolute amazing original 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL that was delivered on May 27, 1957. This 190SL is truly a one-of-a-kind flawless original sports car with less than 27,000 document original miles. The car still has the factory supplied....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 121.042.7500052
Engine Num: 121.921.6504129

The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (internally designated W121) was introduced alongside the 300 SL 'Gullwing' Coupe at the February 6, 1954, New York Motor Show. Aimed at the American export market, it was a more affordable, yet similarly styled open companio....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 121.042.7501199
Engine Num: 121.921.7501258

This Mercedes-Benz 190 SL retains its matching-numbers engine and color scheme of White (DB 50) with a dark red interior and matching canvas top. It has been given a nut-and-bolt concours-level restoration which was completed in 2015. It has a matchi....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 121040.7502449
Engine Num: 121921.7502470

The Mercedes-Benz 190SL, announced in 1954, was based on the 180 saloon and used its all-independent suspension running gear. The 190 SL did not enter production until January of 1955, the delay being attributed to alterations aimed at strengthening ....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 121.040.7500161
Engine Num: 121.921.7500159

Development of the 190 SL began in 1952, just before the introduction of its 'Pontoon' sedans. Like the sedans, it was constructed with a welded frame-floor structure and separate sub-frame. Its wheelbase was shorter, and not coincidentally, exactly ....[continue reading]

Roadster
 
Roadster
 
Roadster
Chassis #: 121.042.7500052 
Roadster
Chassis #: 121.042.7501199 
Roadster
Chassis #: 121040.7502449 
Roadster
Chassis #: 121.040.7500161 


Concepts by Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Monthly Sales Volume

November 2019
33,721
October 2019
27,867
September 2019
27,433
August 2019
24,771
July 2019
24,612
May 2019
27,080
April 2019
22,949
March 2019
27,004
January 2019
22,507
Additional Sales Volume Data


Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$295-$3,999
1957 190 SL
$4,290-$16,800
1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Price Range: $3,999 - $4,290

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Mercedes-Benz
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)146,393
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)137,431
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)122,684
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)108,440
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)99,209
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)80,899
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)69,601
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)63,683
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)63,683
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)48,816
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)36,824

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