Lot 193 - 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
|£128,000 - £148,000
- A rare and very low mileage RHD example
- 1 of just 562 cars built across all right-hand drive markets
- Known to the vendor and his family for the past 30 years
- Just three former keepers shown on its V5C Registration Document
In 1954, Mercedes displayed a concept version of the 190 SL at the New York Auto show alongside the 300 SL ‘Gullwing’. This concept came to market in 1955 as the 190 SL. A more approachable, less intense sports car compared to the record-breaking 300 SL Gullwing. While the 190 SL featured a carburetted 1.9 litre in-line four-cylinder engine compared to the 300 SL’s direct-injected 3 litre slant six, they shared basic engine design, suspension system, and level of detail and craftsmanship which defined Mercedes-Benz. The new engine, which shared the same bore and stroke of the 300 SL, was paired with dual Solex carburettors and produced just over 100 horsepower. This powerplant was mated with a fully synchronized four-speed transmission which sent power to the rear swing axle. The 190 SL implemented the same suspension systems as the 300 SL, albeit with a more stable low pivot point assembly, affording it confident handling and drivability without the tail-happy nature of the 300 SL Gullwing. While the 190 SL did not quite offer the performance of other sports cars of the era, the impeccable quality and attractive styling made the 190 SL a massive success – selling 25,881 units before production ceased in 1963. Many of these models were delivered to the United States, where its driving demeanour and elegant styling were highly valued. Nevertheless, the factory did offer an option for the casual weekend racer: a Rennsport packaged 190 SLR, which included options of an aero screen, cut down doors which one could convert, and bumpers removed to reduce weight. A Rennsport derived 190 SL participated in the Mille Miglia, hence its eligibility today. Other notable achievements include a 1956 Macao Grand Prix victory for Doug Steane, and Mr W. Sulke’s SLR won the 1958 Rally of Hong Kong.
Only a few right-hand drive examples were supplied new to the UK market during the 1959 model year, this example was one of those few, chassis 121.040-20-014566 was originally finished in the striking hue of DB534 Feuerwehrrot (Fire Engine Red) with new beige hood. Issued with registration number ‘5 BOF’ on 23rd September 1959, this example has spent the majority of its life in Surrey. This car is 1 of just 3,949 190 SLs made during the 1959 production year and 1 of just 562 cars built across all right-hand drive markets. The previous owner, Michael Pearce, purchased the car as a sixteen-year-old from Banstead Motors in 1968 by which time the exterior colour had been changed to grey (though, the red painted dashboard and cream upholstery remained untouched). Known to his family for the past three and a half decades, the current vendor still vividly recalls encountering the Mercedes-Benz and its last registered keeper who retained possession for thirty-four years at a Camberley petrol station. Many conversations were had with the then owner as he lived in neighbouring road to our vendors wife’s family. Remarking on how few miles it has done, and that he knew the person that he purchased it off in 1968. As the proprietor of a classic car restoration business that achieved a world record price for a right-hand drive 190 SL of £219,375 in 2021, the vendor was familiar with the model and jumped at the opportunity to acquire ‘5 BOF’ when it came to market from the deceased estate in 2023.
The two-seater’s late custodian is understood to have treated it to an engine overhaul and bodywork restoration some years ago but the seller could not resist refreshing the cosmetics and undertaking some mechanical fettling. Having known the car for so long and the minimal usage that its last two keepers put it to, he is confident that the 29,700 shown on the odometer represents the total covered from new, citing the condition of the underside as further evidence of low mileage. He tells us that he has spent significant sums rejuvenating the Mercedes-Benz including an exterior bare metal, photographically documented respray, brand new Beige hood at a cost of £2,500, new interior including recent new carpets and partial engine overhaul (with the original Solex carburettors being reinstated) all in early 2023 with minimal use since.
Our vendor states the car presents beautifully and drives without fault. Shod with a new set of whitewall tyres which help accentuate the shiny Fire Engine Red paintwork, the 190 SL boasts a fully refurbished matching hardtop as well as a new soft top roof. The glovebox has an inset clock and the dashboard carries a Becker Mexico radio which is thought to be original to the car. Still among the most attractive Mercedes-Benz cars ever made, one of the best available, this rare and desirable right-hand drive 190 SL is offered for sale with V5C Registration Document, original handbook and history file.
*Interested parties should note that the original brown hood has been replaced with a new beige hood since the photoshoot.
Previous lotLot 192 - 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo SE
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each Lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.