The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Sleeping beauty Mercedes 190 SL awake after 45 years
1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL barn find project. A rare RHD example. Estimate £25,000 - £35,000.



LONDON.- If you’ve been wondering about what to do with the next year or two of your life how about this rare and desirable barn find Mercedes 190 SL in desperate need of some TLC?

Just over two percent of 190SL production was built to right-hand drive specification (from a total production run of 25,881). This survivor is one of only 562 cars built across all right-hand drive markets. Off-the-road for approximately thirty-four years, it is now offered as a rare and exciting right-hand-drive restoration project, having emerged from long-term ownership. This barn find has been in its current ownership since 1988.

A 1965 E-Type Jaguar in a similar condition recently sold for £41,400 at the H&H sale at Duxford.

Paul Cheetham of H&H Classics said:

“The 190SL was introduced in 1955 – the year Mercedes swept all before it on the Mille Miglia with the 300SLR. Indeed, the graceful grand tourer was sold alongside the road-going version of the SLR - the 300SL - whose styling it strongly resembled.”

In fact, the underpinnings of the two cars were quite different and, while the 300SL had a purpose-built tubular spaceframe (W198), its smaller sibling was built on a shortened version of the ‘Ponton’ saloon (W121) platform, which was of monocoque construction.

The 190SL also boasted an all-new engine - an over-square SOHC straight-four unit of 1897cc that produced some 120bhp, sufficient to propel the car to a maximum speed of 112mph. The engine was coupled to a manual four-speed gearbox. The suspension comprised double wishbones and coil springs at the front and a coil-sprung swing axle at the rear.

Steering was by recirculating ball and braking by power-assisted drums all round. Built to the highest standards and among the quickest comparable cars of the time, the 190SL featured a well-appointed cockpit, notable comfort for its occupants and relatively generous luggage space.

Under the circumstances, even the steep asking price of £2,693 did nothing to deter purchasers. Options included a third seat placed transversely behind the front ones, which were big enough to carry an adult. The 190SL continued in production until 1963 when both it and the 300SL were replaced by the 230SL (W113). By this time 25,881 190SLs had been produced (just over two percent of which – some 562 cars - were to right-hand drive specification). Will we now see this RHD example back on the road soon? One can only wonder how many other RHD 190SLs have survived.










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