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Lot 237: Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster

The Monaco Sale, Bonhams (11 May 2012)

Alongside its hyper-expensive race-bred sports car - the 300SL - Mercedes-Benz offered the less exotic but no less refined 190SL. Announced in 1954 and based on the 180 saloon whose all-independently-suspended running gear it used, the 190SL did not enter production until January 1955, the delay being caused by alterations aimed at strengthening the saloon's shortened platform to compensate for the open body's reduced stiffness. Mounted on a detachable sub-frame along with the four-speed manual gearbox, front suspension and steering, the power unit was a 1,897cc overhead-camshaft four - the first such engine ever to feature in a Mercedes-Benz. Breathing through twin Solex downdraft carburettors, the M121 unit produced 105bhp DIN (120bhp SAE) at 5,700rpm, an output sufficient to propel the 190SL to 100km/h (62mph) in 14.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 171km/h (106mph). With its four-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox, servo-assisted hydraulic drum brakes and fully independent suspension, the 190SL was both more refined and more comfortable than any British sports car. The model was a big hit in the USA where many of the slightly fewer than 26,000 produced between 1955 and 1963 found homes. The 190SL offered here was delivered new to Stockholm in April 1959 and first owned by one �ke Nils Johanzon, who used it only in summertime when the weather was good. Following Mr Johanzon's death in 1973, the car remained in storage until around 1980, passing to his son, Ulf Anders �ke Johanzon. Philipsson, the agent for Mercedes-Benz in Sweden, sent the engine to Germany for renovation in 1983 (see invoice on file). Ulf Johanzon used the 190SL rarely, and the car had been laid up in storage for some years when the current owner bought it in September 2004 and brought it to Belgium. During the winter of 2005 the 190SL underwent major refurbishment in Brussels and prior to registration in Belgium was checked for roadworthiness, passing the Contr�le Technique on 28th April 2005. The accompanying Certificat d'Immatriculation is dated 26th May 2005. Also on file is a letter from the second owner, stating that the car had covered fewer than 48,000 kilometres, probably much less, when sold in 2004 and no more than 10,000 since the engine rebuild. The current owner has driven it only some 1,000 kilometres or less. Finished in black with red interior, this car represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a classic Mercedes-Benz soft-top possessing impeccable provenance and in original condition.

Lot Details
Auction The Monaco Sale
Bonhams, Monaco
TypeCar
Lot Number237
Estimate€60000-€90000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€60000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€69000
Year1959
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number1210428500661
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2