1962 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

Highlights

  • Beautifully preserved unrestored and original condition
  • Well documented history including photos, invoices, original handbook and service book

Technical Data

Chassis No: 12104010023105
Seller:
MotorClassic
Seller Type:
Private Party
Exterior:
White
Interior:
Maroon
Lot#:
10
Location:
Tatabánya, Hungary
Mileage:
85,340 Kilometers
Engine:
1.9L Inline-Four
Vehicle Make / Model:
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
Transmission Model:
4-Speed Manual
Drive Orientation:
Left

Description

Offered for sale is this 1962 Mercedes-Benz 190SL, 

This is a real rarity - an unrestored, original 190 SL in very good condition. Embarking upon its journey on the 4th of April, 1962, in Sindelfingen, this exquisite Mercedes-Benz 190SL emerged in white grey attire, with a black convertible top, matched with an ivory steering wheel and shift knob. Commanding an impressive sum of 17,873 German marks, this automotive masterpiece was bought by a lady of refined taste. On the 2nd of August, 1962, the 190SL found itself in the hands of an Italian gentleman named Gino, who was attending a wedding in Rome. Before leaving to the US, Gino decided to take a road trip through the scenic landscapes of France, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and his native Italy. Upon concluding this continental adventure, the 190SL was transported across the Atlantic to the sun-drenched shores of California, where it would bask in the limelight of special events, movie sets, and the glamorous soirées of Hollywood.

Over the decades the 190SL remained a cherished artifact, carefully garaged, a symbol of automotive elegance meticulously preserved by its devoted owner. In 2017, leaving Gino’s garage, the car embarked upon a triumphant return to its European origins.

Documentation of unparalleled thoroughness accompanies this notable vehicle: the original invoice, data card, vehicle title, sales contract, and registration certificates – a testimony to its unbroken lineage – insurance documents, service records, brochures, a pair of vintage orange-black California license plates, original service booklets, owner manuals, and even a meticulously curated compendium of service stations across Germany and Europe were kept by Gino. The myriad of photos taken is another testament for the owner’s love of the car.

A valuation conducted by Mercedes-Benz in 1979 underscored the impeccable condition andrarity of this automotive jewel, appraising its worth at a princely sum of $19,600, its odometer reading of a mere 52,000 miles at the time.

“For a sports-touring car….the 190SL is about as close an approach to perfection as any of us are likely to see.” 

So said respected automotive scribe Griff Borgeson, writing in Sports Car International in his review of the Mercedes 190SL.

While historians may argue about exactly who invented the automobile, both Daimler and Benz are always front and center in the conversation. Indeed it seems likely that Benz often gets credit because he - or more precisely his wife, Bertha, who believed in and financed his work - insisted on patenting his innovation. As such, that tricycle, often called “the first car”, is properly named the “Benz Patent Motorwagen”. In 1926 with the economy in trouble the German government asked Daimler and Benz to combine. The new company built cars under Daimler’s “Mercedes” nameplate, using the three pointed star logo, symbolizing mechanized transportation by land, sea and air. 

Rebuilding after the Second World War, as soon as they were able Daimler-Benz returned to racing with the Mercedes 300SL. After it had won important races such as Le Mans in 1952, US Mercedes importer Max “Uncle of Dustin” Hoffman suggested a road going version. Thus was born what many consider the first supercar, the roadgoing Mercedes 300SL of 1954.

The 190 SL was created in the image of the 300 SL, sharing the beautiful styling, outstanding engineering integrity and timeless design of the 300 SL, but at a far more attainable price point. It was first displayed at the 1954 New York Auto Show and launched in 1955, remaining in production until 1963. Inside Daimler-Benz, it was known as W121. Instead of the 300 SL’s exotic, expensive tubular spaceframe chassis (which demanded the unusual “gullwing” door arrangement) there was a shortened Mercedes sedan chassis. It was powered by a new single overhead cam inline-four cylinder engine, the M121, which saw service across the entire Mercedes range, although in high output form in the 190 SL. It shared design elements with the 300 SL’s inline-six, and its power was impressive for the time. The “190” designation arose from the M121’s capacity of 1900ccs.

The 190 SL’s exterior design is smooth curves, and decidedly not finned, even as Detroit was aggressively moving in this direction. The distinctive “eyebrows” over the wheel arches are a styling flair so unique as to be signature to the SL and were carried over from the 300 SL. Roof down and stowed, the freestanding slim-framed windshield is attractive in a way no modern, roll-over protected modern convertible can be. Inside the controls are distinctively Mercedes: a utilitarian yet handsome chrome accented dash is dominated by broad diameter narrow rimmed steering wheel.

The 190 SL’s driving characteristics make them usable and easy to enjoy. More of a Grand Tourer than a sports car, 190 SLs have a compliant ride making them ideal as Sunday cruisers. Compared to moderns, they are involving and enjoyable to drive, with a distinctive induction roar from the pair of twin choke Solex carburetors, a fruity, four-cylinder rasp of an exhaust note and a long throw shifter mated to a firm clutch, demonstrating the 190SL’s rich character and delivering sufficient performance to easily keep up in modern traffic.

The things which made the 190SL appealing in 1955 remain attractive in 2024; elegant design which transcends fashion, first class materials and build quality, and an enjoyable driving experience.

This 1962 Mercedes-Benz 190SL is finished in white over a red leather interior with a black fabric convertible top. It is powered by a 1.9 liter, inline-four cylinder engine with 120hp, sending power to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transmission.  This 190SL has extensive records of its ownership and upkeep, with invoices, photos, and documentation. Information known and available includes - 

  • Matching numbers, only two owners until 2018
  • Original painting and leather interior
  • History documents, photos, invoices, original handbook and service book
  • Original set of factory keys

Auction summary

Auction ends: 25 April 4:01 PM
Auction views: 5.74K
Favorited: 37
Location: Tatabánya, Hungary
Seller: MotorClassic
Unsold
Ended 25 April 4:01 PM
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