Bring a Trailer NO RESERVE auction in progress: Three California owners since new with current ownership spanning 44 years. Matching numbers, late production example offered with factory hard top.
1963 Mercedes Benz 190SL (auction ends Wednesday May 18th)
Chassis No. – 121042-10-025685
Engine No. – 121.928.10-003622
Exterior Color – White (originally DB50G white)
Interior Color – Black with Black canvas top and white hardtop
Engine – 1.9 Liter Inline-Four-cylinder SOHC
Transmission – 4-speed manual
Current Miles – 50,003 (TMU)
Current Owner – Purchased in 1978 with approximately 107,000 miles
Highlights of this Car
-Three California owners since new with current ownership spanning 44 years
-Original matching numbers engine block as identified with factory records and receipts
-Late production car, 196th from the last 190SL built featuring all production updates
-Factory hardtop, correct and complete set of tools, and documentation
Introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show in prototype form (alongside the 300SL Gullwing), the 190SL was a glamorous yet affordable way to enjoy Mercedes quality and refinement with open coachwork. Principally motivated by US distributor and marketing pioneer of European imports, Max Hoffmann, the 190SL positioned Mercedes-Benz as a premier brand in the growing North American market. Priced at around $4,000, the 190SL was slightly more than half the price of the 300SL, making it an attractively priced sporty car with durable mechanicals. The enticing value coupled with irresistible looks motivated nearly 26,000 buyers to purchase these sporting cars between 1955 and 1963, generating a far greater market impact over the lower volume 300SL. The 1900cc SOHC engine with twin Solex carburetors coupled to the 4-speed transmission, delivered spirited driving for the day, supported by double-wishbone, coil spring front suspension and swing axle coil spring rear suspension. Today, the 190SL remains an attractive and highly desirable classic, blending elegant open motoring with modest mechanicals.
Throughout the eight years of production the 190SL evolved with improvements and features that continue to be prized among collectors seeking the very best examples. The last series cars produced in 1962 and 1963 were outfitted with locking steering columns, push button start, and a column mounted turn indicator lever.
According to the Mercedes Benz Classic Center record, this 190SL has been a California car since delivered new to the first owner, May 13, 1963. A late 1962 production car, only 196 cars were built after this car. Records accompanying the car indicate the first owner was Dr. Robert C. Millard of Pebble Beach, CA. The first service invoice retained with the car is dated March 25, 1974, when the starter was replaced and a valve job performed, then showing 87,561 miles. Additional Monterey, CA service records include service in October 1974 with 91,851 miles. On or around that period, the car was given to Millard’s son who used the car while in college, electing to sell the factory hardtop that came with the car, eventually offering the car for sale through Cochran Coachcraft who sold the car on May 8, 1976, to the second owner, Glenn J. Pratt, Hope Ranch, CA. At that time 103,549 miles were indicated (mileage statement retained with records). The car was serviced by Cochran October 18, 1976, with 104,073 miles indicated.
After exhaustive searching for a 190SL, the third and current consigning owner saw the car advertised in the Santa Barbara News Press (add included with the car). The current owner purchased the car April 10, 1978 (bill of sale retained with records). Photos of the car dated May 1978 show this 190SL with another Mercedes Benz also part of the family collection. Documentation included with the car supports mileage accumulated since purchase and services performed under current ownership. The car was stored from 1979-1984 and mechanically recommissioned by Jones & Fischer, Santa Barbara, CA. Regular services have been performed on the car including recent mechanical work.
Services performed under current ownership:
9/20/1978 Koni shocks 111,000 miles (originals retained)
6/27/1979 New exhaust system
3/27/1984 Jones & Fischer mechanically freshen the car after storage
5/18/1984 Insurance appraisal 119,477 miles
12/1/1986 to 2/30/1987 Engine and transmission overhaul by Jones & Fischer
Original Solex carbs #55471 (rear) and #55485 (front) rebuilt by Will Samples at S&S
8/10/1987 Car service at Jones & Fischer 131,127 miles
6/28/1988 New fuel tank and sending unit
3/25/1995 Owner installs German carpet and cloth top
10/20/2000 1962 190SL hardtop purchased with original DB 50G paint.
10/2002 Miura specialist Jeff Stephan rebuilds head at 145,924 miles
6/27/2007 Christenson Plating re-chrome all exterior chrome.
9/2021 – 3/2022 Owner installs NOS Factory Ate Brake Booster and replaces all gaskets and diaphragms on Solex carbs. 149,980 miles
Under the first ownership (prior to 1974) the front passenger fender at the headlight area was damaged and subsequently repaired. At this time, the car was repainted a slightly brighter white than the original factory white finish. Evidence of the original white paint can be found under the taillight gasket when the housing is removed. Also under prior ownership, the front seats were recovered in black vinyl material, and a rear speaker hole was cut in the lower portion of the rear bulkhead.
Today this 190SL presents as a nicely preserved California car with pleasing cosmetics, confident mechanical features, and a confident blend of original and refurbished features. Under the past 44 years of ownership, the car has been thoughtfully enjoyed and cared for with authenticity in mind. The white paint is smooth and glossy with consistent color and coverage but shows evidence of age in various areas. The forward portion of the passenger side front fender has cracks in the paint surface while minor chips appear in other areas of the car, door edges, and various surfaces. And while close examination reveals these areas, the overall presentation is very harmonious and reflective of long-term ownership. The hood and trunk will need some adjustments for even panel fit, but the doors shut very well, retaining very good panel gaps and crisp latching. Under first ownership, prior to 1974, the car experienced front fender damage on the passenger side which was repaired. Evidence of the repair can be seen underneath the front fender area. The car appears to have been completely repainted at this time. The exterior chrome is in excellent condition, with beautiful luster and bright reflections, having been redone by experts at Christensen Plating. All lenses, lighting, and glass are in very good condition. The windshield has some delamination in the corners but is an original unit with the correct Sekurit branding etch, both of which also appear on the side glass. A set of original type painted slotted steel wheels, wheel covers, and trim rings are in generally good condition fitted with a set of contemporary Yokohama radial tires. Although this car was originally fitted with a factory hardtop, the hardtop included with this car is a late series unit from a 1962 car, recently purchased by the current owner. The hardtop will need to be adjusted for fit and latching.
The interior is a very nice display of handsome and correct finishes offering a rewarding and cohesive presence, blending original features with previously restored areas. The seats were reupholstered in vinyl nearly 50 years ago but have held up well and match nicely with the remaining interior materials. A set of vintage style seatbelts have been installed. The dashboard is particularly nice with excellent gauges showing authentic light patina to the dial faces and beautiful chrome finishes. The excellent condition of the chrome bezels and refined detailing of the dash, steering wheel and other interior elements are a delight including the working Becker Grand Prix radio. The interior door panels, armrests, and various trim are all in very good condition settling in harmony with the seats and dashboard. The carpet and matching floor mats, replaced in 1995 using the correct German square weave type, exhibits minimal wear even in the driver’s footwell area. The convertible top is in excellent condition, very likely seldom if ever used outdoors since it was installed in 1995 and the car has always been stored indoors. The clear plastic rear window, excellent stainless trim, and correct material headliner appear as new. The trunk is very clean and properly finished in satin black including the satin black trunk lid underside, correct trunk mat, and factory type jack. The matching full sized spare tire is properly mounted in the wheel tub with the factory retaining clamp in place. Although stored separately for the sake of preservation, a full set of tools in the tool roll are included and can be stored in the tool storage bin on the driver’s side under the trunk mat.
The engine compartment is very well done with proper presentation using correct parts and nicely enhanced with a polished aluminum cam cover and polished aluminum intake plenum feeding the correct twin Solex carburetors. The owner has recently replaced all seals and diaphragms for both carburetors. Clearly repairs and general services have been performed with attention to correct lines, hoses, and electrical as needed. Even the heater boxes, often collapsed or damaged, are in excellent condition. The various and correct Mercedes-Benz numbers, build plates, and stampings are all documented to be consistent with the body and chassis sequences for original cars. The engine block is stamped with the correct number and retains the correct engine tag, both of which correspond to the documentation accompanying the car. The chassis is in excellent condition representative of a dry California car showing no visual evidence of structural compromise to the floor pans or suspension mounting points.
A short driving video is included here.
Items Included with the Car
The car is accompanied by a hardtop, a set of trim rings for the wheels, still in wrapping, a spare ivory steering wheel and center emblem, various spare body trim pieces, a set of used shock absorbers (reportedly original to the car), a spare cam cover, a spare set of top latches, spare mechanical parts including a clutch, a carburetor tuning video, selected service invoices and bills of sale going back to the first owner, a 190SL owner’s manual, an original MB 190SL Catalog (C, 1959), a MB 190 Service Manual, a MB 190SL Service Manual, various MB literature, a factory jack, and a complete original tool kit and roll.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608