16-17 August 2013

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Lot 141

1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster

  • Chassis no.

Sold for $269,500

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

  • Just completed, no-expense-spared, frame-off restoration in Germany
  • Stunning Anthracite Grey over Cognac leather combination
  • Complete with hardtop, soft top, and matching Cognac leather luggage

As the brainchild of legendary European car importer Max Hoffman, the first Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster was designed to serve as a more lifestyle-oriented complement to the outlandish 300SL Gullwing Coupe.

Hoffman built on the racing-oriented gullwing's curvaceous shape, allowing both the hardtop coupe and the subsequent roadsters to share a design language that was unique to the Stuttgart automaker in the early 1950s. Both the six-cylinder 300SL and four-cylinder 190SL models were marketed, but the less expensive latter vastly outsold its “big brother,” proving that Hoffman's knack for success was unparalleled among automobile importers. Both the 190SL and the 300SL were virtually identical cosmetically.

That the 190SL was both stunning to behold and a good deal more practical for real world use helped seal the deal for well-healed buyers, particularly in trendy Southern California. More than 26,000 found owners during the 190SL's 1955 to 1963 production run.

While 190SLs are not uncommon in the collector car market, rarely does the opportunity come to acquire one that has just been restored to factory specifications not far from where it was originally built. This 190SL was subjected to an extensive, frame-off restoration by noted SL experts, “SL – Classics” in Düren, Germany.

The 190SL was sourced from California before being shipped to Germany for the year-and-a-half long restoration. Virtually all of its original parts were retained and restored rather than replaced with inferior reproduction or aftermarket units. Eighteen months after being sent to Germany, the 190SL returned to California aboard a Lufthansa cargo jet, just as if it had rolled off the assembly line. It is perhaps the finest 190SL in existence.

Swathed in Code 172 Anthracite Grey Metallic, the 190SL is set off by a Tobacco Brown canvas soft top and a sumptuous Cognac leather interior, which is an upgrade over the vinyl that adorned the seating surfaces of most 190SLs. A matching Anthracite hardtop is also included, as well as a full set of tools and matching Cognac leather luggage.

Since its restoration was completed, just a handful of “break in” miles have accumulated on its odometer, meaning its next owner will truly feel as though they have been transported back to 1961.


Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more