1960 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster
Chassis no. 121 040 10 017 157
Engine no. 121.920.751 90 45
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. 'Very few new sports cars have been so eagerly awaited or so long in coming as the moderately priced SL version of the Mercedes-Benz,' observed Road & Track magazine. 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 at 5,700rpm, an output sufficient to propel the 190SL to 100km/h in 13 seconds and on to a top speed of 170 kilometres per hour. The fact that the 190's ride was more boulevard than sporting, and that many contemporary sports cars could out-perform it while costing a good deal less, did nothing to deter sales. 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.
This 190SL was imported into Germany from the USA some 25 years ago and then found a new owner in Italy in 2007. Completely restored to a high standard in Italy in 2008, it comes with Italian registration papers and Belgian importation Form 705.