Motor City

30 July 2016

Previous Next

Lot 161

1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

  • Chassis no. 121.042.7501407
  • Engine no. 121.921.7501428
  • Body no. 121.072.7500660

Sold for $154,000


120 bhp (SAE), 1,897 cc SOHC inline four-cylinder engine with dual Solex carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear independent coil spring suspension with front control arms and rear swing axles, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

  • Recently completed restoration to excellent standards in original colors
  • Comfortable grand-touring car with roll-up windows and full interior trim
  • Optional matching hardtop as well as soft-top included for year-round enjoyment


While the prototype 300 SL Gullwing on the platform at the New York International Auto Show in 1954 attracted most of the attention and headlines for Mercedes-Benz and spearheaded its re-entry into the U.S. market, from 1955–1963, nearly 20 times as many customers would actually buy and experience the 190 SL unveiled next to it on the platform. Both models were created at the insistence of Max Hoffman, primary American importer for the three-pointed star in the early 1950s, that there would be a customer market for sports cars based on the Silver Arrows that brought Mercedes-Benz back into international motorsports at Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana in 1952.

This 1957 190 SL, so attractive in its original blue-gray paint with blue leather interior, is an excellent example of what attracted nearly 26,000 buyers to what the brochures at the show called “the Sports car you’ve waited for.” Affordable as compared to its sibling 300 SL, the 190 SL is both collectible and enjoyable, not to mention comfortable, well-built, and exceptionally fun to drive.

The current owner acquired this example several years ago. A high-quality restoration had been initiated, with body, paint, and interior work already done to an exceptional standard. The owner took his time to complete the remainder of the project, including procurement of a factory hardtop, which was finished as original to match the body color. Currently the car is fitted with a set of aftermarket Weber carburetors, which remain on the car because they perform so well; a set of correct Solex carburetors are included as well.

All of the work was completed last year, and the car has been thoroughly checked out, but not yet driven any significant distance or presented publically. The car is equipped as produced with one of the few available options, the Becker Europe high-fidelity radio. Included is also a tool kit, original owners’ manuals, and shop manual, as well as a spare hubcap and ring.

This is a car that should do well in any multi-marque concours competition, provide the opportunity to participate in MBCA and International 190 SL Group activities, and be eligible for any organized vintage tour.

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

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+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

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+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

drose@rmsothebys.com

+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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+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

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+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

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+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

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+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

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+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