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*Please note that this car is titled by its body number, A1210421000172.
Conceived by Max Hoffman, the renowned and vocal US Mercedes-Benz importer, and aimed squarely at the crucial and robust American export market for sporting cars, the 190 SL debuted at the 1954 New York Auto Show alongside the 300 SL Gullwing Coupe. A more affordable, yet similarly styled open companion model for its complex and costly stable-mate, the 190 SL featured advanced monocoque construction and conventional front-opening doors and normal-width sills, providing occupants with ease of entry and exit. The “SL” or “Sport Leicht” designation, shared with its big brother, translates into “Sports Light” denoting the model’s lightweight construction, including aluminum hood, doors, and rear deck lid.
Produced from 1955 to 1963 and featuring Mercedes-Benz’s characteristically impeccable build quality and highly satisfying driving dynamics to match, the 190 SL won awards at concours events held in Holland, Switzerland, and at France’s Grand Prix d’Elegance in Cannes. While primarily intended as a highly stylish grand tourer, the 190 SL handily confirmed its excellent engineering and durability by winning Holland’s Tulip Rally.
Predictably, the 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 evolved into the “Pagoda” SL roadster lineup that followed from 1963 through 1971.
Strikingly finished in its factory-original white DB 50 exterior and handsomely complemented by luxurious red leather upholstery, matching carpeting, a dark red soft top, and gleaming bright trim, this final-year 190 SL Roadster from 1963 has received a comprehensive restoration. As offered, it presents very well with the high level of detailing on this particular 190 SL clearly evident throughout. Highly desirable features and amenities include a Becker radio, a rare hardtop in white, a set of proper steel wheels with hubcaps and trim rings in place, a durable stainless steel exhaust system, and whitewall tires. From the engine compartment, complete with a period-style Bosch battery and correct Solex PHH carburetors, to the interior with its driver-centric dash with comprehensive instrumentation and controls, and to the properly finished and equipped trunk that is complete with a proper jack, this 190 SL is both highly inviting and simply exceptional.