Lot 234: Mercedes-Benz 190SL
Absent from international competitions immediately after the war, this star make made a dramatic comeback in the early 1950s, carrying off a whole range of trophies. Riding on the crest of this wave, in 1953 Mercedes Benz launched the legendary gull-wing 300 SL, which immediately enjoyed great success, especially in the United States. The exorbitant price of the model, however, limited its production, although the car market of the New World wanted a toned-down version that was clearly an echo of its magnificent cousin but cost less to buy.
Thus was born the 190 SL, officially launched at the Salon de l'Automobile in Geneva in March 1955. This cabriolet clearly has the same contours as the 300 SL roadster, but is fully 300 mm shorter, with a total length of 4.29 m. The contours however are kept in the details through the careful work of stylists Karl Wilfert and Walter Hackert, taking away some of the sheer power of the 300 SL and replacing it with a more accommodating appearance. The "sporty" feel has been removed and the accent is more on comfort and elegance. The base is that of the fine Berline 180.
The impeccable presentation and quality finish are evident on first sight. Vast amounts of room for both occupants and luggage make the ride comfortable. Despite its appearance, in fact, the 190 SL is not a sports car or even a Gran Turismo model, but a great roadster that allows those travelling in it to make the best of the landscape. With powerful acceleration, this four-cylinder is as quiet as it is robust and reliable.
It has a vertical four-cylinder 1897-cc engine with overhead camshaft, producing a total of 105 HP. The engine is fed by two Solex carburettors. 26,881 separate cars of this model were produced between 1955 and 1963, 2,722 of these in 1958.
The model on offer is coloured "Feuerwehrrot", or fire engine red, reference DB 534, and has the serial number 8501055. The passenger compartment is in its excellent original condition. The windscreen has two windows of transparent Plexiglas with metallic borders. The carpets are of beige wool. The seat and door-panel coverings are pale beige in colour. The mechanics have been completely overhauled and work perfectly. The clock shows a distance of "05223 km". The car still has its Spanish grey card.
The exemplary robustness of the Mercedes 190 SL, meant to be an affordable car, has allowed it to survive the vagaries of fashion and overcome its Italian and British rivals with their more ephemeral beauty and less determined characters. This alone is reason enough to consider it an outstanding model in the history of star cars. No reserve
Automobiles d'Exception a Retromobile|
Bonhams, Porte de Versailles, Paris
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||€46000|
|Engine capacity (cc)|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors||2|