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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale September 27th-28th at Russo and Steele’s inaugural Las Vegas, Nevada Auction. Please contact us for more information.
The Mercedes Benz 190SL is today what it was when introduced in 1954 at the New York Motor Show: a less expensive, more practical, and smaller version of the illustrious 300SL. However, certainly not lacking in any of its big brothers technical refinements, the 190SL offered plenty of capability and race bred technology to those enthusiasts considering a sporting roadster. From its production in 1955 through its replacement with the 230SL in 1963, nearly 26,000 would be produced with only a fraction in existence today. The 190SL was also the start of the “options list” for Mercedes-Benz. Never before could a car be tailored like a fine suite the way a 190SL could have been. Everything from elaborate color schemes, tops, accessories such as luggage, seats, and even a very rare sports-racing option was available. These nimble little two seat roadsters with their iconic, forward styling were the first Mercedes-Benz convertibles to hit home with the US market and started a full fledged frenzy, and one that has yet to end over 58 years later. Impeccable styling, reliable performance, and incredible value for money, these 190SL’s are quickly approaching a blue chip status amongst collector cars. They are a must have for any serious collector or enthusiast looking for a smart investment. As such they should be seriously and quickly considered before the rising price trend puts them out of reach.
The example on offer here, a 1958 190SL, Chassis # 1210407502387, is perhaps one of the finest restored examples to be offered in recent times. Not only is it the recipient of a total nut and bolt restoration by a marque specialist, it is also offered out of long term ownership and includes both of its tops, all of its original documentation, and is still accompanied by its original jack, spare, and tools. This is a rare combination of factors, but even rarer yet is the striking color combination of Black with a Red interior and Black TopA very rare factory color and one that is worth extra attention.
Early history on this example shows that it was sold new in the Midwest, and by the 1980’s was with its current long term own in Minnesota. During this custodianship the car was well cared for as a driver for many years. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the long time owner decided to embark on a total nut and bolt restoration to bring the car back to its former glory. The restoration process entailed a total strip and disassembly of the entire car. Each and every component was thoroughly tended to with the utmost consideration given to correctness and overall a very high standard. The fact of how well this car was restored and tended to can’t be stressed enough, and it shows through today as an serious MB Club Concours contender, or an easy invitee to any concours, locally, or nationally.
Cosmetically the car is as near flawless as one would hope to achieve in a restoration and post-restoration care. It has been cautiously and carefully enjoyed for only a few thousand miles since completion and in this time has always spent down time in a climate controlled atmosphere. It has remained a prized possession of its owner of more than 30 years, and shows brilliantly. The body is laser straight, the finish is near glass like with a very deep luster and consistent throughout and is nothing less than concours quality. The gaps and panel fitment throughout the car are spot on and excellent. The chrome is of the same consistency as well as the glass and all rubber components. The only thing this 190SL requires cosmetically is perhaps another coat of wax right before a concours to ensure 1st place is achieved.
Upon entering the contrasting and vibrant red interior, one can notice very clean and well finished door jams, a place where lesser restorations tend to show. The seats show almost no signs of use and the interior throughout can be considered nearly new. During the restoration every component was also tended to down to the chrome trim rings, knobs, and pulls. All of which were re-chromed, the gauges rebuilt, a new wiring harness installed and everything refitted to exacting standards. All culminating into an incredibly correct and well completed interior.
The engine bay of a 190SL is another point where correctness will be paramount, and the number one place that separates a true concours winner from a driver. The engine bay should not be glistening with chrome, nor should there be shiny paint under the hood. Rather, this 190SL is exemplary of how one should be finished. All of the surfaces have been coated correctly, with a matt finish on the underside of the hood and engine bay. In addition the use of correct German style clamps can be seen throughout and the proper tags are also present where they should be. The body number on the hood matches the firewall body stamping and overall it is a tidy and neat resemblance of a proper 190SL engine bay.
Careful attention was obviously paid to this car in its entirety throughout the restoration. Even the areas that cannot be seen by those casually enjoying it at a concours or on a tour, have also been properly finished with the same care. The underside is the period correct finish with all lines of any kind showing as new and properly placed. The trunk retains a correct mat and all of its proper spot welds. The question of rust on a 190SL is paramount, this car has the benefit of never been a rough, rusty or previously injured example and as such there wasn’t any comprehensive metal work to be completed at any time. With this, the 190SL on offer is indeed an incredibly solid and totally straight example still retaining all of its original metal.
Beyond its stellar physical condition, this 190SL also performs exactly as intended in 1958. It starts instantly, runs strong making good oil pressure when cold or warm, and the temperature is hard pressed to see above 180 degrees. The shifting, handling, clutch operation, and braking have all been thoroughly tested and the car has nothing short of excellent road manners. With a totally rebuilt engine, transmission and associated components, its fine operating condition comes as no surprise. This is a car that can be taken on tours as easily as it can attend a concours, and is indeed a well rounded example.
With the 300SL out of reach, the 190SL is quickly becoming market mature and coming into its own. This is a prime opportunity to acquire one worthy enough to add to any prominent collection with dreams of attending concours, tours, club events, or just enjoying it on a Sunday afternoon. Restored to exacting standards, out of long term ownership, offered with both tops, original tools, original documentation, jack, spare, and finished in the right colors; this is absolutely and opportunity worth much consideration for anyone who can appreciate rolling art, and perhaps one of the finest Mercedes-Benz cars of all time.