Lot 30
1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster


Selling on Wednesday

CHASSIS NO: 190SL9501114

• Full rotisserie restoration
• Displayed at a museum for the last eight years
• Rebuilt engine, transmission and rear differential
• Early Mercedes-Benz SL elegance

1,897cc SOHC inline four-cylinder engine, twin Solex carburetors, 105 HP at 5,700 RPM, four-speed manual gearbox, independent double-wishbone suspension with coil springs, rear swing-axle suspension with coil springs, four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 94.5”

A stunning two-seat roadster with a removable hardtop concept car created by Mercedes-Benz enchanted show-goers when it was displayed as a concept car at the New York Auto Show in 1954. This concept came to market in 1955 as the 190SL, a more approachable, less intense sports car compared to the record-breaking 300SL 'Gullwing'. While the 190SL featured a carbureted 1.9-litre inline four-cylinder engine compared to the 300SL's direct-injected three-litre slant six, they shared a basic engine design, suspension system, and a level of detail and craftsmanship for which Mercedes-Benz is famous. The new engine, which shared the same bore and stroke of the 300SL, was mated to a fully synchronized four-speed gearbox that sent power to the rear swing axles. The 190SL implemented the same suspension systems as the 300SL, affording it confident handling and drivability. The 190SL was produced from 1955 through 1963, with Mercedes-Benz building 25,881 units. It could reach a top speed of 110 mph, with a 0–60 mph time of 13.3 seconds, while also offering up to 26 mpg, the perfect combination for effortless touring.

The 190SL is immediately recognizable as a Mercedes, featuring dramatic curves and thorough yet restrained use of brightwork that defined this era of Mercedes. Many styling cues are borrowed from the 300SL as well, notably the massive three-pointed star in the grille as well as the 'eyebrows' over the wheels. The resemblance to the 300SL coupe and roadster was certainly intentional, but at just $3,840 new in 1955, the 190SL was half the price. 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. While the 190SL did not quite offer the performance of other sports cars of the era, the impeccable quality and attractive styling made the 190 a massive success – selling over 25,000 units before production ceased in 1963. Many of these models were delivered to the United States, where its civilized driving demeanor and elegant styling were highly valued. The 190SLwas an important part of the culture of small roadsters in the 1950s, as it demonstrated how luxurious the platform could be.

The elegant 1959 190SL offered here is finished strikingly in a mirror-gloss black paint with a contrasting interior trimmed correctly in sumptuous red leather. Subject of a comprehensive restoration, this class 190SL was totally disassembled, stripped and placed on a rotisserie, allowing the restorer to access every nook and cranny to bring this car to a highly detailed show condition. The restoration process included a rebuilding of the four-cylinder engine and four-speed manual gearbox, as well as the rear differential. After restoration was completed, it enjoyed the friendly home of a museum while being routinly driven and accumulating 1,000 careful miles. Sporting and elegant, the exceptional example of mid-century Mercedes-Benz styling and engineering is ready to drive and enjoy.