Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster

The Mercedes-Benz 190SL was the vision of Max Hoffman, Mercedes’ representative in the United States. Hoffman understood that while the 300SL “Gullwing” might certainly catch American buyers’ attention, it had two drawbacks; early models were coupes, and it was very expensive. With remarkable insight into the American market, Hoffman pressured the upper management of Mercedes-Benz to build a simpler, less costly and open model specifically for the United States. The result was the Mercedes-Benz 190SL.

The 190SL incorporated many advanced Mercedes-Benz engineering features. Powered by a single overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine, and equipped with four-wheel drum brakes, conventional doors and a simple yet effective swing axle rear suspension, the 190SL was best suited for stylish cruising rather than competition. Max Hoffman’s understanding of the American car market was spot-on once again, and the attractive convertible remained in strong demand throughout its production run, which spanned from 1955 to 1963. The 190SL demonstrated the successful niche that existed for Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. and elsewhere – providing comfortable, luxurious cruising with excellent road manners and stylish good looks.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2009 at the The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida, in October of 2009 at the Battersea Evolution, London and in October of 2011 at the Battersea Evolution, London.

120bhp, 1,897 cc overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine with two Solex carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, swing axle rear suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tim Scott

Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster