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1961 MERCEDES-BENZ 190SL ROADSTER Chassis no. 121040.10.018793 Engine no. 121921.10.018915

Sold for US$91,300 inc. premium
Lot 94


Chassis no. 121040.10.018793
Engine no. 121921.10.018915

1,897cc SOHC 4-Cylinder Engine
Two Weber Carburetors
105bhp at 5,700rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension – Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Drum Brakes

* Beautifully presented example of the classic 190SL
* Matching numbers example in factory livery
* Recent $33,000 sorting and service by Bob Platz
* Offered with both soft and hard top
* Comes with copy of Mercedes-Benz factory built sheet


In 1954, Mercedes displayed a concept at the New York Auto show of a beautiful two-seat roadster with a removable hardtop. This concept came to market in 1955 as the 190SL, a more approachable, less intense sports car compared to the record-breaking 300SL 'Gullwing'. While the 190SL features a carbureted 1.9 liter inline four cylinder engine compared to the 300SL's direct-injected 3 liter slant six, they share basic engine design, suspension system, and level of detail and craftsmanship that defines Mercedes-Benz. 

The new engine, which shared the same bore and stroke of the 300SL, was paired with dual Solex carburetors and produced 120 horsepower. This powerplant was paired with a fully synchronized 4-speed transmission that sent power to the rear swing axles. The 190SL implemented the same suspension systems as the 300SL, affording it confident handling and drivability. 

The 190SL is immediately recognizable as a Mercedes, featuring dramatic curves and the restrained use of brightwork that defined this era of Mercedes. Many styling cues are borrowed from the 300SL, notably the massive three-pointed star in the grille as well as the 'eyebrows' over the wheels. While the 190SL did not quite offer the performance of other sports cars of the era, the impeccable quality and attractive styling made the 190 a massive success- selling over 25,000 units before production ceased in 1963. Many of these models were delivered to the United States, where its driving demeanor and elegant styling were highly valued. The 190SL is an important part of the culture of small roadsters in the 1950s, as it demonstrated how luxurious the platform could be. 


This gorgeous example of the classic 190SL offers the perfect combination of originality and professional refurbishment, while conforming to its original build specifications. The car's early history remains vague, however the car is believed to have been sold by a long-time and possibly first owner residing in Bethesda, Maryland to a Virginia based collector in August 1991; the mileage at this time was reported to be 81,357. During this ownership the car was treated to its first and only repaint, which was completed to a very high standard. The engine is reported to have been refurbished at this time as well. With help from Robert Platz, the car found its way to its current custodian in 2013, a Philadelphia based collector and enthusiast. Upon his acquisition the car showed 90,958 miles, which is believed to be the original mileage.

Used sparingly over the years, the current owner engaged the services of Bob Platz's Precision Motor Works to bring the car to a top-notch level. Mr. Platz, a well-known 300SL/190SL expert, put the car in proper order with paid receipts totaling over $30,000. The scope of work included a re-commissioning of the mechanicals and show detailing of the engine bay/undercarriage, among other details. All work was completed with appropriate attention to detail and correctness as per Mercedes Benz factory standards.
Today, the car presents beautifully in white exterior color and contrasting red interior as originally manufactured. The paint is consistent throughout, and the panel fit shows very well. The contouring of the fenders where they meet trim pieces is precise and snug; a quality that is often only found in original cars or expert restorations. The bright work is original to the car and in some areas could warrant minor refinishing to achieve concours perfection. While the interior appears to have minor refinishing at some point, it was done with true correctness in execution, and includes the proper square weave carpeting, and the dash fascia, dash top, door cards, and all chrome accents, knobs, pulls and switches. The black soft top is in good condition, and the car is accompanied with the factory hardtop.
The engine bay shows the correctly cad plated items where originally installed, all the correct clamps and hose routing, and factory correct finishes throughout. Everything is color coded where required and presents as factory correct, and could easily be judged at any 190SL group event with confidence.
The car is currently fitted with Weber carburetors, however should a new owner want to show the car, the original Solex carburetors are included in the sale. Presented in its original and handsome colors, with all work performed by marque specialists, it is a car to be driven, enjoyed, and perhaps shown. Complete with original books, data card, spare, jack and two tops this 190SL is sure to please its next caretaker.

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  • 4 June 2016, 10:00 - 17:00 EDT
  • 5 June 2016, 09:00 - 12:00 EDT

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