SOLD 08/23

1960 Mercedes-Benz
190SL Roadster

Bring A Trailer NO RESERVE auction preview: Strong driving example with a delightful driver level cosmetic presentation. Offered with hardtop.

  • VIN12104010018277
  • Exterior ColorWhite
  • Interior ColorRed leather
  • Mileage218681 Miles (TMU)
  • Engine1.9L inline 4-cylinder
  • Transmission4-speed manual
  • StatusSold
  • StockFJ2771


1960 Mercedes Benz 190SL

Chassis No. – 121040-10-018277
Engine No. – 121.920-10-9505191
Exterior Color – White
Interior Color – Red with Black canvas top and white hardtop
Engine – 1.9 Liter Inline-Four-cylinder SOHC
Transmission – 4-speed manual
Current Kilometers – 218,681 Kms (TMU)
Current Owner – Purchased in 1970 with approximately 26,000 kms

Highlights of this Car

-Long term California ownership with service records back to 1968
-A complete driver level car with hardtop ready for refinement or restoration

General History

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.
History of this Example

This 190SL is accompanied by the original 1960 Mercedes-Benz data card, original owner’s manuals, and copies of original invoices dating back to 1968 when it was owned by a resident of Reno, NV. In February 1968, Continental Imports replaced the engine block. At that time, the mileage was noted on the receipt as 5,892 kms. The same owner continued service in 1969, subsequently selling the car to the current owner, a resident of San Francisco, CA in 1970. Under current ownership, services and accumulated miles are documented through the 1970s with service records covering fluid changes, new exhaust, tune up, motor mounts, new starter, and a valve job in 1979 with 57,800 kms noted. Services through the 1980s included new brakes, water pump, carburetor service with new intake jets, radiator and thermostat, a new ring gear and clutch in 1985, and a new fuel pump in 1988. In 1989, the odometer had exceeded 99,000 kms, then showing 14,290kms as recorded on the service invoice. During that time, new exhaust, shocks, kingpins, suspension bushings, tie rod ends, and new center drag link were installed. By 1992 accumulated miles were noted at 84,000 kms. In 2019 a new battery was installed. At some point in the history of ownership, the rear of the car was damaged and professionally repaired. Throughout the history of ownership this car appears to have benefited from ongoing care and regular services particularly under documented long-term ownership spanning more than 50 years.

General Condition

Today this 190SL presents as a nicely preserved West Coast, dry climate car with enjoyably used cosmetics, reflecting an honest blend of original and refurbished features. Under the past 50+ years of ownership, the car has been thoughtfully enjoyed and cared for with authenticity in mind. The white paint is smooth with generally good gloss and coverage but shows evidence of age in various areas. Typical road chips are noted on forward facing surfaces as well as minor scuff marks and scratches. And while close examination reveals these areas, the overall presentation is very harmonious and reflective of long-term ownership. The hood, doors, and trunk exhibit very good panel gaps and solid latching. The exterior chrome is in very good condition, with good luster and bright reflections on the bumpers, but pitting appears on various other pieces, assumed to be original to the car. All lenses, lighting, and glass are in very good condition. The windshield has some delamination in various areas while the other glass shows correct Sekurit brand etching. The passenger side window does not roll up fully to the top when cranked by hand. A set of original type painted slotted steel wheels are fitted wearing trim rings and center hubcaps. A set of matching white band tires are mounted. The hardtop included with the car is in very good condition, finished in matching white and featuring the desirable larger wrap around rear window.

The interior is an honest display of preservation and survivorship, offering a rewarding and cohesive presence that only beautifully worn leather can offer. The interior exhibits original features with pride, allowing the next owner the chance to retain as is or restore at their leisure. The seats, door panels, and dash pad are timepieces, reflecting use, toning, and various loose seams. The dashboard is particularly nice, arrayed with preserved gauges showing authentic light patina to the dial faces and surprisingly nice chrome finishes. The excellent condition of the chrome bezels and refined detailing of the dash, steering wheel and other interior elements are a delightful blend of originality and purposeful enjoyment. The interior door panels, armrests, and various trim are all present and in harmony with the overall finishes. The carpet appears to be the correct German square weave type, quite possibly original, exhibiting wear in typical areas. The unrestored convertible soft top, likely original to the car, comes with the car but is not mounted. 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.

The engine compartment is tidy and mechanically sound displaying correct parts, a correct aluminum cam cover and twin Solex carburetors, which are believed to be original. Even the heater boxes, often collapsed or damaged, remain operational and the heater is functional. The various and correct Mercedes-Benz numbers, build plates, and stampings are all consistent with the body and chassis sequences for original cars. The engine block reflects a later series unit installed in 1968 per the invoices included with the car. The chassis is in very good condition representative of a dry California car showing no visual evidence of structural compromise to the floor pans or suspension mounting points. Some rust is evident in the floorboards mainly at the forward passenger side footwell and a few smaller pin holes noted in the same location at the forward corners of the driver’s side footwell.

This 190SL starts, stops, and drives; however, the steering is a bit loose and the clutch slips when warm. This car is best described as a light project that will benefit from modest mechanical enhancements which can be done while retaining the character and patina reflective of prior enjoyable years of service. The next owner can choose to retain these original features or restore the car to a high standard as it certainly presents as a worthy candidate for either restoration or ongoing preservation.

Items Included with the Car

The car is accompanied by a hardtop, the convertible soft top, a spare trim ring, a dated spare wheel, a set of floor mats, two red tonneau covers, selected service invoices and the original data card, a 190SL owner’s manual set including original Becker radio manuals, Mercedes-Benz service manuals, a factory jack, and spare rubber weatherstripping.

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.

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Fantasy Junction  •  510-653-7555  •  1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608