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*Please note that the chassis number is 121.040.7500052, not 121.042.7500052 as stated in the catalogue. Please also note that it is titled by the last seven digits of its body number.
This wonderful example of the highly collectible and increasingly coveted Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster clearly benefits from a meticulous and authentic restoration that was completed approximately six years ago. Handsome in a Horizon Blue (DB 304) paint finish, it is very nicely complemented by restored brightwork, a fresh interior with new tan leather upholstery and interior appointments, plus a white hardtop, a correct blue soft top, and period-style whitewall tires.
The engine and underhood compartment is freshly and correctly detailed to match the rest of the car’s presentation. As offered, it is equally suited to local shows, classic touring events, and spirited drives, making it a glamorous and coveted Mercedes-Benz finished in elegant colors and complete with hard and soft tops.
The 190 SL
Aimed squarely at the important American export market, the 190 SL (internally designated W121) debuted alongside the 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupe at the February 6, 1954, New York Motor Show. A more affordable, yet similarly styled open companion model for its complex and costly stable mate, the 190 SL featured advanced monocoque construction with styling executed by Karl Wilfert, Friedrich Geiger, and Walter Hacker’s design staff including Paul Bracq, who would later oversee 230 SL styling. The “SL” or “Sport Leichtbau” designation, shared with its big brother the 300 SL, translates into “Sports Lightweight,” furthered by the model’s aluminum hood, doors, and rear deck.
Produced from 1955 to 1963 and featuring Mercedes-Benz’s legendary build quality and highly satisfying driving dynamics to match, the 190 SL won awards for design excellence at concours events held in Holland, Switzerland, and at France’s Grand Prix d’Elegance. While primarily intended as a stylish grand tourer without racing pretensions, the 190 SL was nonetheless quite effective in competition. At the 1956 Macao Grand Prix, two 190 SLs were entered by a local Mercedes-Benz distributor, with the rainy event handily won by Doug Stearne’s 190 SL, who crossed the finish line 2.5 laps ahead of the second-place Ferrari Mondial. Another notable 190 SL racing victory was the GT under-2,000 cc class win by Mercedes-Benz distributor Joseph F. Weckerlé at the 1956 Casablanca Grand Prix.
Predictably, the stylish 190 SL was favored by the era’s top personalities, including such film icons as Grace Kelly, Gina Lollobrigida, Ingrid Bergman, and Yul Brynner. The 190 SL was a groundbreaking model for Mercedes-Benz, and its successful concept and execution begat the Pagoda lineup that followed from 1963 through 1971.