Mercedes 190SL Roadster Eng. 121 921207069 FRAME. 121 04220016430 MILEAGE. 79012 $70,000 - $80,000
An early prototype of the 190SL appeared alongside the formidable race-bred 300SL Gullwing coupé at the 1954 New York Auto Show. With its open grille filled with a big Mercedes star and pontoon fenders featuring ‘eyebrows’ over the wheel openings, the 1955 190SL reset the public’s aesthetic expectation and positioned the SL range as one of Mercedes’ most endearing and long-lasting design movements (Mercedes still designs and produces the SL badge). Under the elegant body lines (the doors, hood and deck lid 56
of which are aluminium) lay a new 1.9-litre, OHC four breathing through twin Solex carburettors to make 120hp. Compared to such contemporaries as the 95hp Triumph TR3 or the 72hp MG MGA, the 190SL wasn’t at all underpowered, but it was significantly heavier than were those traditional sports cars and so it provided a solid boulevard ride. Perhaps if it hadn’t shared showrooms and the spotlight with its bigger brother, it would have been considered among the best sports cars of the era: which, in retrospect, it was. It appealed
to a refined and aesthetically aware market and Jacqueline Bisset insisted that the 1961 SL190 be the hero car in her classic 1973 film La Nuit Américaine. The 190SL stayed in production, virtually unchanged, through to the 1963 model year and, despite critical indifference, the 190SL emboldened Mercedes. This example comes with a new soft top and show tires, overall condition of this classic 20th century design is very good. One of only 3,792.
Classic Motorcycles and Cars of the Day auction catalogue