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1955→1963 Mercedes-Benz 190SL
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121, 1955-1963) mit Coupédach. Die erste Ausführung ist an dem kleinen Heckfenster zu erkennen, das noch nicht um die Seiten reicht.

1955→1963 Mercedes-Benz 190SL

1955→1963 Mercedes-Benz 190SL

Built as a smaller, cheaper and open-top alternative to the 300SL, the similarly-styled 190 was aimed at the American market for importer Max Hoffman.

The 190 was available either as a R121.040 with a removable hardtop or the R121.042 soft-top convertible, but the bodyshell supported both configurations.

Both the 300SL and 190SL carried the ‘Sport Leicht’ name, but where the 300SL had a lightweight spaceframe design, the 190SL had a regular steel unitary-body construction based on a shortened W121 platform with aluminum hood, doors and trunk lid called the R121 Roadster.

The 190 was powered by a four-cylinder version of the 300SL’s six, but it used twin Twin Solex PHH Carburetors to produce 105 honest horsepower.

Price for the car was DM 16,500/US$ 3,998 or DM 17,650/$ 4,295 with the optional hardtop.

During its particularly long production life from January 1955 to 1963, 48,900 examples were made before the model was replaced outright by the 230SL of 1963.

In Detail

submitted by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
production years 1955 – 1963
released at 1954 New York Motor Show
built at Germany
production 48500
price $ $ 3,998
succeccesor 1963 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL
engine Type M121 BII Inline-4
position Front, Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
ignition Bosch VJU Distributor
valvetrain Chain-Driven SOHC
fuel feed Twin Solex Type 44 PHH Carburetors
displacement 1897 cc / 115.8 in³
bore 85 mm / 3.35 in
stroke 83.6 mm / 3.29 in
compression 8.50:1
power 89.5 kw / 120 bhp @ 5700 rpm
specific output 63.26 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 103.45 bhp per tonne
torque 142.4 nm / 105.0 ft lbs @ 3200 rpm
redline 6000
body / frame Unitary Steel Monocoque w/Front Subframe
driven wheels RWD
wheel type Steel Discs
front tires 6.40-13
rear tires 6.40-13
front brakes Drums
rear brakes Drums
front wheels F 33.0 x 12.7 cm / 13 x 5 in
rear wheels R 33.0 x 12.7 cm / 13 x 5 in
steering Recirculating Ball
f suspension Double Wishbones
r suspension Swing Axles
curb weight 1160 kg / 2558 lbs
dry weight 1080 kg / 2381 lbs
wheelbase 2388 mm / 94 in
front track 1422 mm / 56 in
rear track 1473 mm / 58.0 in
length 4191 mm / 165 in
width 1727 mm / 68 in
height 1295 mm / 51 in
transmission 4-Speed Manual
gear ratios 3.52:1, 2.32:1, 1.52:1, 1.00:1
top speed ~176.99 kph / 110 mph
0 – 60 mph ~13.5 seconds
0 – 1/4 mile ~18.9 seconds
fuel capacity 65 litres or 17.16 gal


Auction Sales History

1962 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 121042-10-024539 – sold for $107,800 Upon purchase by its penultimate owner, a comprehensive restoration was undertaken by the marque experts at The Car Collection in Miami, Florida. Completed in 2012 and acquired by the present owner shortly thereafter, the car has been minimally used and carefully maintained.
Auction Source: 2015 Quail Lodge Auction by Bonhams


1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 121040.7501727 – sold for $121,000 Wonderfully restored example of the classic 190SL. Retains its original, matching numbers engine. Delivered new to the US with many options. A beautiful Mercedes-Benz for Sunday drives or local Concours. Offered with copy of Mercedes-Benz factory build sheet.
Auction Source: 2015 Quail Lodge Auction by Bonhams


1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 121042.10.015590 – sold for $162,250 Exquisite restoration by Bruce Adams. Recent extensive service by Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. Charming color-combination. Matching numbers example. Offered with Mercedes-Benz factory records and restoration file.
Auction Source: 2015 Quail Lodge Auction by Bonhams


1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL – sold for $198,000

13-15 August 2015
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Lot 305
1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

Chassis no.
Engine no. 121.921.10.016774
Body no. A121.042.10.00406

Sold for $198,000
120 hp, 1,897 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine, synchronized four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and wishbones, low-pivot swing-axle rear suspension, and servo-assisted four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

Recent and comprehensive restoration, including photo documentation
Equipped with the rare, optional “kinder” third seat
Complete with tartan-lined fitted luggage, a tool kit, and a set of books

The 300 SL was never intended to be a sports car for the masses or to sell in huge numbers; but it would, no doubt, attract customers into showrooms. Daimler-Benz began development of the 190 SL in 1952, just before the introduction of its volume Pontoon sedans. Like the sedans, it was constructed with a welded frame-floor structure and separate sub-frame. However, it rode a shorter wheelbase, not coincidentally, exactly the same as the 300 SL.

As the company’s first volume sports car, the 190 SL shared the 120-horsepower, 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine and running gear with the W120 model Type 180 Sedan, while also offering styling similar to the legendary 300 SL Gullwing Coupe and Roadster. The resemblance to the 300 SL was certainly intentional. At $3,840 new in 1955, it was half the price of its muscular sibling, which introduced a roadster model of its own starting in 1957. Mercedes-Benz followed the Austin-Healey/Triumph TR-series formula of the era by creating a new car using off-the-shelf components it had available from its other car lines. The 190 SL (for Sport Light) was produced from 1955 through 1963, with Mercedes-Benz building 25,881 units. The factory claimed a top speed of 110 mph, with 0–60 mph times of 13.3 seconds, while also offering up to 26 mpg, the perfect combination for effortless touring.

According to Mercedes-Benz production data, this 190 SL was built in the first half of 1960. It is equipped with the rare, optional “kinder” third seat, designed for occasional use. The consigner proudly boasts that the car was comprehensively restored in 2014, and a book with photos documenting the process was completed at that time. It is offered in a handsome combination of Graffit-Grau (DB190) over a Natur (1068) tan leather interior, with the new interior fitted at the time of restoration. A complete tool kit, full set of books, and tartan-lined fitted luggage to match the interior are included in the sale of the vehicle. Equipped with the proper Solex dual carburetors, the consigner adds that under the hood “the level of care in the restoration is immediately recognizable in the materials and colors used—a trait evident throughout the car.”

Auction Source: RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015


1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 121.042.6502344 – sold for $132,000 Just over 1,000 Miles Recorded on the Odometer. Single Family Ownership from New Until 2013. Well-Preserved and Highly Original Example. Purchased New by Noted Inventor, Robert Abplanalp. Fast-Rising Classic Mercedes-Benz with Uncommon Cachet.
Auction Source: The Pebble Beach Auctions 2015 by Gooding and Company


1955 Mercedes-Benz 190SL – sold for €201,600 Original Ivory over red leather colour combination. Includes the desirable and optional factory hardtop. Highly original; only 12,200 kilometres since new.
Auction Source: Villa Erba 2015 by RM Sothebys


1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster 121.040-10-015797 – sold for €92,000

This example was delivered new to Mercedes-Benz, New York, USA though its early ownership history is unknown. Resident in the Netherlands, the current vendor bought the car in 2014 from a Mr van der Most, its owner since 2011.

Originally black with red interior, the car has been newly repainted in red and the interior re-trimmed in Cognac/brown leather. Described as in generally very good condition, this beautiful 190 SL roadster is offered with handbooks, tools, Netherlands registration papers and Mercedes-Benz certificate of origin. A detachable hardtop is included in the sale.

Auction Source: The Mercedes-Benz Sale 2015 by Bonhams


1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 121040-10-9500421 – sold for $247,500 Matching numbers example. Exceptional restoration. Full set of factory luggage. Offered with factory tools and books. Attractive European Roadster for the connoisseur.
Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction 2015 by Bonhams


1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 121040.10.9500417 – sold for $132,000 Wonderfully restored example of the classic 190SL. Retains its original, matching numbers engine. Delivered new to the USA and Max Hoffman’s famous import agency. A beautiful Mercedes-Benz for Sunday drives or local Concours. Offered with copies of factory build sheets, books and tools.
Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auction 2015 by Bonhams


1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 121.042.6502590 – sold for $126,500 AACA National First, Senior, and Grand National Winner. Ground-Up Restoration with Few Miles Covered Since. Beautiful Strawberry Metallic Finish with Black Leather Interior. Rare Third-Passenger Transverse Seat. Offered with a Factory Hardtop.
Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auctions 2015 by Gooding & Company


1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL – sold for $121,000 Recent Restoration Recipient. Wonderful Period Presentation. Popular Sports Model of the 1950s. Fabulous Ivory and Red Color Combination. A Charming Example of the Model.
Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auctions 2015 by Gooding & Company


1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 121.040.7503200 – sold for $165,000 Less than 25,000 Miles from New. Accompanied by Document File Including Service Records and Factory Paperwork. Unrestored, Beautifully Presented Example. Fresh Repaint by Paul Russell and Company. Handsome, Beautifully Trimmed Interior.
Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auctions 2015 by Gooding & Company


1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 12104001928 – sold for €127,544

The car has benefitted from a comprehensive restoration as documented in photos in the folder. The body was stripped and repainted in the Mercedes color grey, coded DB180. The engine compartment and trunk were painted in the original black semi-gloss. The interior received the same level of treatment with a completely renewed leather interior and new grey carpet. All seals have been replaced, as has the trim on the wings, sills and body. The mechanicals were the subject of a complete overhaul: replacement of the rings, head gasket, timing chain, flywheel, seals and membranes of the carburetors (original Solex), gaskets and membrane of the water pump, scaling of the radiators, replacement of the pipes. The ignition system has been completely overhauled, and the electrical system also (bulbs, dynamo, starter motor, wiper motor). The transmission and front suspension were checked and oil seals, wheel bearings, joints and pivots replaced. A new exhaust system, whitewall tires, a clock and a Becker radio complete the restoration.

Auction Source: Rétromobile 2015 by Artcurial Motorcars


1962 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster – sold for $181,500 Impeccably finished in Pearl Gray over Green leather. Two long-term Canadian owners for 45 years. Well-documented and complete with fitted luggage.
Auction Source: Arizona 2015 by RM Auctions


1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster 121.042.6502290 – sold for $302,500 Factory-correct Medium Blue over Aero Gray. Recent comprehensive, concours-quality restoration. Includes a tool kit, owners’ manual, and fitted luggage. Includes extensive restoration documentation.
Auction Source: Arizona 2015 by RM Auctions


1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster – sold for $187,000 Beautiful restoration in factory-correct colors. Only 1,400 miles since restoration. Desirable rear “kinder seat” and factory hardtop.
Auction Source: Arizona 2015 by RM Auctions


Strawberry Red 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 121.040.6503307 – sold for $165,000 Long-Term, Single Family Ownership. Well-Preserved and Highly Original Example. Exceptionally Low Documented Mileage. Rare, Visually Stunning Color Combination. Accompanied by Hardtop, Tools, Books, and Fitted Luggage.
Auction Source: 2014 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company


1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL – sold for $209,000 Fully Restored to Excellent Standard. Equipped with Custom-Fitted Luggage. Low-Mileage Example in Attractive Colors.
Auction Source: 2014 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company


1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster – sold for $143,000

The 190 SL Roadster offered here is an example of the most iconic of open Mercedes-Benzes. While in previous enthusiast ownership, it was restored in its current light blue with a dark blue leather interior, and it has been fitted with whitewall radial tires, matching wheel covers, and a navy convertible top. Among the Roadster’s many desirable features are a Blaupunkt radio, an original speaker box, and a VDO clock mounted on the glove box door, as well as front and rear over-riders.

Auction Source: 2014 Monterey by RM Auctions


1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 121042.8502325 – sold for $165,000 Beautifully restored example. Elegant color combination. Excellent 190SL for Concours judging or driving events. Fully documented restoration. Offered with restoration file.
Auction Source: 2014 Quail Lodge Auction by Bonhams


1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster – sold for €145,600 Documented frame-off restoration in Italy. Finished in original Silver over a red leather interior. Includes matching factory hardtop and black canvas soft-top.
Auction Source: 2014 Monaco by RM Auctions


1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster – sold for $143,000 Fresh nut-and-bolt restoration, completed less than one year ago. Features the rare, optional “kinder” third seat. Includes a set of fitted luggage and the factory tool kit.
Auction Source: Amelia Island 2014 by RM Auctions


1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 121.042.7500052 – sold for $143,000 Meticulous, Well-Preserved Restoration. Striking Color Combination. Complete with Hard and Soft Tops. Freshly Detailed Engine Bay. Eligible for Shows and Touring Events.
Auction Source: The Amelia Island Auction by Gooding & Company


1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster – sold for €109,200 Known history, with only five owners since new. Just 14,500 kilometres since nut-and-bolt restoration. Serviced all its life by renowned specialists. Original matching-numbers engine. Set of luggage.
Auction Source: 2014 Paris by RM Auctions


1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster – sold for $264,000 Stunning Tunis Beige over a black leather interior. Complete with hard top, soft top, and matching black leather luggage. Recently completed German concours restoration.
Auction Source: 2014 Arizona by RM Auctions


1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 121.042-10-020449 – sold for $143,000 A Matching-Numbers Example. Exquisite Color Combination. Recent Ground-Up Restoration. Perfect for Driving Events and Shows.
Auction Source: The Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company


1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL 121040.9500166 – sold for $115,500 Matching numbers example. Exceptional restoration. Striking color combination. Offered with books and build sheets. Attractive European Roadster for the connoisseur.
Auction Source: 2013 Quail Lodge Auction by Bonhams


1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster – sold for $269,500 Just completed, no-expense-spared, frame-off restoration in Germany. Stunning Anthracite Grey over Cognac leather combination. Complete with hardtop, soft top, and matching Cognac leather luggage.
Auction Source: 2013 Monterey Auction by RM Auctions


1963 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 121.042.10024209 – sold for $214,500 A Distinctive and Exceptional 190 SL. Factory-Original DB 50 White Exterior. Highly Detailed and Attractively Presented Throughout. Complete with Stainless Exhaust and Solex PHH Carburetors.
Auction Source: Gooding & Company’s 10th Anniversary 2013 Pebble Beach Auction


1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL – sold for $198,000

No-Expense-Spared Restoration Conducted by 190 SL Services LLC. Spectacular As-Delivered Color Scheme of Elfenbein over Green. Documented Matching- Numbers Example. Best of Show and Gold Award Winner at the 2011 190 SL Group Convention. First in Class at the Mercedes-Benz StarFest
First Junior, Senior, and Grand National AACA Award Winner. Complete with Tool Kit, Manuals, Fitted Luggage, and Hardtop
A Must for the Serious Mercedes-Benz Collector.

Auction Source: The 2013 Amelia Island Auction by Gooding & Company


1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster 121.040.8502551 – sold for $129,250 One registered owner from new until 2012. Sympathetic restoration of an excellent, original car. Rare and desirable Strawberry Red Metallic finish. Includes factory hard top, books, and tools, plus some unusual accessories.
Auction Source: 2013 Arizona Auction by RM


1962 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL 121.040.10-021562 – sold for $82,500 Believed 70,000 Miles from New. Bought New as European Delivery. Well-Kept Example with Few Owners. Offered with Factory Literature, Tools, and Hardtop.
Auction Source: The 2013 Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company


1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL – sold for $203,500 Stunning Rare Color Combination. Winner of Esteemed Awards. Only 400 Miles Since Meticulous Ground-up Restoration. Authentic Matching Numbers. Limited Ownership from New. Perfect for Concours and Driving Events.
Auction Source: 2012 Pebble Beach Auctions by Gooding & Company


1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (Racing) – sold for €64,867

In 1955 Mercedes considered a racing version (the 190 SLR) in the spirit of the 300 SL roadster, with aluminium doors and smaller windscreen, before abandoning the project to concentrate on Formula 1.

Our rare, handsome and very sporty Mercedes 190 SL Roadster was constructed in such a spirit. It is of excellent appearance, coloured grey with a red leather interior, and is in perfect working order. Its engine, prepared by SL specialists Atelier SL, has two sets of large Weber 40 carburettors instead of the original, sober Solex carburettors ill-suited to a sporty style of driving. Electronic ignition has been installed, as well as two aluminium foot-rests and a map-reading light. Two profiled head-rests serve as roll bars.

Auction Source: 2010 Artcurial Sport & GTs au Mans Classic