The Mercedes 190 SL has stood the test of time as an iconic automobile. Built from 1955 to 1963, the little two seat roadster was considered a less expensive alternative to the larger 300 SL. But being less expensive than its big brother didn’t make the 190 SL a cheap car. It still carried the top quality engineering and design that Mercedes is known for.
It was designed to compete with the Morgan, the Jaguar and the Aston Martin in the two seat road car class. Though not specifically designed for racing, it provided enough handling and power to please its owners. The 1.9 L in line four cylinder engine sported twin two barrel carburetors and a four speed gear box. Mercedes was one of the first company’s to offer a fully independent suspension, both front and rear. The 190 SL came equipped with the double Y suspension as a standard feature, allowing it to grip the pavement better than most at the time.
For looks, the 190 SL retained Mercedes’ simple elegance, but with a far less boxy appearance than its larger models. A convertible by nature, the 190 SL offered a soft top convertible and an optional hard top convertible that could be stored in the trunk. With leather bucket seats, a subtle accent of wood trim and Mercedes’ trademark lack of dashboard clutter, the interior was comfortable, functional and pretty to the eye.
Because of its quality and limited production, the 190 SL remains a highly coveted collector’s automobile. Those in possession of a 190 SL know that whatever the current condition, it is a vehicle worth restoration. A top quality restoration presents problems for some owners, as the availability of genuine parts; the skill needed to properly restore it may be beyond their limits. Many of these owners feel it may be wiser to sell their 190 SL to a deserving owner who will provide a good home to their collector car. As specialized dealers, they are a little more in tune with the limited collector’s market.
Fortunately, there are companies available that specialize in Mercedes’ automobiles and are willing to place a willing buyer and seller together and may help negotiate a fair price for both parties. Some dealers may be willing to purchase it on their own and complete the restoration process. If the dealer offers a fair price to the seller, it is a win for both parties. The seller receives the going rate for a rare automobile and the buyer obtains the ability to restore an automotive classic to its original beauty.