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Please note this vehicle is titled by its body number.
The 190 SL
This gorgeous 190 SL would not be here today if not for Max Hoffman, Mercedes- Benz’s largest US importer in the 1950s, who first recognized the burgeoning demand for an up-market open roadster that was lighter and less expensive than the 300 SL. At Hoffman’s behest, a prototype of the 190 SL was first launched to high acclaim at the 1954 New York Auto Show. The production model debuted a year later at the Geneva Auto Show, initially priced at $3,998 for the soft top or $4,295 with the removable hardtop option, substantially less than the 300 SL. Subsequently, the 190 SL outsold its counterpart almost eight to one.
While the 190 SL closely resembled the 300 SL in style and engineering, it bore several modifications, including a shortened monocoque frame and despite its designation – S for “sports” and L for leicht or “light” – the new Mercedes-Benz still weighed in at a solid 2,560 lbs. Powered by a 1,897 cc four-cylinder SOHC engine the 190 SL could produce 105 hp and accelerate from 0 to 60 in 14.5 seconds with a top speed of 110 mph. In 1955, following stringent testing, Road & Track magazine declared, “The outstanding achievement of the 190 SL is without a doubt its quality in design and workmanship. But a close second is the general feeling of solidity...”
With its classic styling and excellent performance rating, the 190 SL soon became one of the most popular sports cars of its time and remained in production from 1955 through 1963, when both the 190 SL and the 300 SL were succeeded by the 230 SL.
This 1961 example is a delight, both aesthetically and mechanically. Just 3,792 190 SLs were produced in 1961 and, while most of the car’s history is undocumented, the 190 SL was a California car in 2007 according to its registration card. It was then purchased by an esteemed collector in Florida who commissioned an exhaustive restoration in 2009, including a complete engine rebuild, new interior, paint, top, and chrome. Since restoration, the 190 SL has been maintained with extreme care and remains in excellent condition throughout, right down to the rubber gaskets and seals, which were replaced with brand-new and correct parts, and remain supple and tight.
The result is stunning in appearance and as soon as the restoration was complete, the car was shown at the Boca Raton Concours in 2010 and again in 2011. Finished in the highly desirable Mercedes-Benz white with complementary red leather interior and new black convertible top, this exquisite, highly detailed Mercedes-Benz has been enjoyed as a show car since restoration and has very few miles on the clock. An exceptional example, this 190 SL is ready for its new custodian to enjoy, whether at concours events or on the open road.