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Lot 282: Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Bonhams (29 June 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 left-hand drive, manual transmission 190SL offered here was imported in 2009 from Ohio, USA by the skilled father and son privateer duo responsible for its painstaking, 'ground upwards', restoration, which took two years and cost in excess of �25,000 (bills on file). The engine has received new hoses, radiator, exhaust and bushes, as well as the addition of twin Solex carburettors to ensure that it performs as it should. A bare-metal repaint was executed in the popular Titanium Silver colour, the brightwork and front grille replaced, and the interior beautifully re-trimmed in correct red leather to the seats and dashboard, with new black carpets and re-upholstered headlining to the hardtop. The fuel tank and all the seals and window rubbers have been replaced, new glass fitted throughout and the wheels shod with four new whitewall tyres. The result is a truly impressive 190SL that requires nothing but a sunny day to enjoy. Although the car is unregistered in the UK, import duty and taxes have been paid. A wonderful opportunity to acquire a classic Mercedes-Benz soft-top fresh from recent restoration. The provision of non-standard air filters is the only notified deviation from factory specification.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Festival of Speed
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood,UK
Lot Number282
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£46000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£52900
Condition rating1
Registration number
Chassis number1210407503238
Engine number1219217503257
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2