1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

Sold For $192,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - MONTEREY 2015


Chassis No.
Body No.
121.040.10.016047
A121.040.10.00179
  • Recent frame-up, rotisserie restoration in Eastern Europe
  • Complete powertrain rebuild using Mercedes-Benz replacement parts
  • Equipped with desirable, accurate reproduction three-piece fitted luggage
  • Photo-documented restoration; only 316 break-in miles since completion
120 bhp, 1,897 cc inline four-cylinder engine with two Solex 44PHH carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent dual-wishbone front suspension with coil springs and tube shocks, rear single-pivot swing axle with coil springs and tube shocks, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

The automotive world was turned upside down in February 1954 when Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 300 SL Gullwing Coupe and 190 SL Roadster on its stand at the New York International Motor Sports Show. The two cars had been conceived by American auto importer Max Hoffmann to appeal to the growing appetite for fashionable sports cars in the United States, and they were designed by Mercedes-Benz only after Hoffmann guaranteed to buy a sufficient number to justify production.

While the Gullwing would figure in the dreams of schoolboys for years to come, it was the practical nature of the 190 SL, with its comfortable seats, well-tailored convertible top, and roll-up windows enveloped in lines that echoed those of the Gullwing, that promised something different than the current sports cars coming from Europe. Both cars were in production by the end of 1955, and Grace Kelly was driving a silver 190 SL on the movie screen, with Frank Sinatra as her passenger in the movie High Society.

The example offered here was produced in 1960 for sale in the U.S. and was originally finished in Medium Blue over Ivory upholstery. After a minor fender-bender dented the left front corner, the car was evidently parked until being purchased by a previous owner. It was subsequently shipped to Eastern Europe for a complete restoration. There, craftsmen properly trained in bodywork using leading rather than plastic body filler expertly repaired the fender. The car was stripped to its unit chassis, with bodywork done on an alignment jig, using Mercedes-Benz panels to repair the limited damage, as documented in an extensive picture file. Then, the car was mounted on a rotisserie for finish preparation and painted in the classic Silver-Grey (DB180) paint correct for that model year.

Meanwhile, the engine and transmission were completely disassembled, machined, and rebuilt using all-new Mercedes-sourced parts, including a new head for the engine. The attention to detail, down to the correct hose clamps and fasteners, is breathtaking and correct.

A completely new interior was fabricated using hides dyed in the original Mercedes-Benz red color to finish the restoration. The only deviation from original specifications was the use of the same red loop-pile carpeting found on the transmission tunnel to finish the footwells and floors rather than the less attractive rubber mats that the car would have had originally. An original-model Becker radio and speaker, optional for this model, have also been fitted.

After a 300-mile break-in drive and final adjustments, the car was shipped back to the United States, where the current owner acquired it. He then went through the car completely, including the installation of all the original production labels in the engine bay and trunk and the fitting of a three-piece luggage set in red leather from Taris Charysyn & Co.

The car is now ready to be shown with pride at concours events and driven with pleasure.



Lot Number
259

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