1959 Mercedes-Benz SL 190

Type R121


  • Year of manufacture 
  • Mileage 
    1 000 km / 622 mi
  • Car type 
    Convertible / Roadster
  • Chassis number 
  • Lot number 
  • Reference number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Interior colour 
  • Interior type 
  • Number of doors 
  • Number of seats 
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
  • Gearbox 
  • Drivetrain 
  • Fuel type 


Serial number 121040-01-4269
Nice restoration condition
Important file of original documents
Original Hard Top
French title

"Baby SL »

Designed for the American market at the instigation of Daimler-Benz importer Mr Hoffman, the 190 SL was launched in 1955 as the "small" 300 SL Gullwing which caused a sensation across the Atlantic after a victory over the Carrera Panamericana. The two models have very similar aesthetics; its nickname "Baby SL" comes from its less powerful and less noble mechanics than the 300 SL but also from its size, 30 cm smaller than its big sister. Powered by an 1897cc 4-cylinder engine developing 105 horsepower thanks to two Solex dual-body carburetors and an overhead camshaft, the 190 SL could reach a top speed of 175 km/h. Together with the 300 SL, the two cars are the first of the SL range for "Sport Leicht", which can be roughly translated as "Light Sport"; and even though the 190 has aluminium doors, it still weighs more than 1100 kg, a very German concept of lightness compared to the English roadsters that were common in the mid-1950s. Thanks to a chassis based on independent front suspension and rear swinging half axles with coil springs and 4 hydraulically operated drum brakes, the 190 offers a very reassuring comfort to its occupants and is very pleasant to cruise in a German quality leather, chrome and bakelite interior. Produced in just over 25,000 units up to 1963, it will be replaced by the W113 model, Pagoda with a design that breaks with that of the 190.

In 1959, Mrs. Carol D, a 21-year-old American, ordered this 190 SL from the parent factory in Germany. However, she was not content to just have the car delivered to the United States but set off to Stuttgart herself to pick up her convertible and drive it around Europe. The period documents preserved until today bear witness to this road trip thanks to the stamps left by the Mercedes dealerships throughout her journey. Here are some of the destinations listed below :

28.9.59 - 464 km - Mercedes, Cologne (Germany)
16.10.59 - 3,180 km - Mercedes, Munich (Germany)
12.11.59 - 6,800 km - Mercedes, Florence (Italy)
3.12.59 - 9,832 km - Mercedes, Valencia (Spain)
11,960 km - Kolligian Motors Inc, Cambridge (USA)

In 2010, the car underwent a restoration in the United States and changed its configuration with an exterior paint scheme DB538 Red and leather upholstery DB210 Beige. The current owner acquired the convertible in 2018 and undertook mechanical work to make the car particularly enjoyable on the road, as it was originally. The transition from Solex to Weber carburettors, now installed under the bonnet, allows for better reliability and a small gain in power. An electric petrol pump and a tailor-made exhaust system have also been installed in the Mercedes.
During our test drive, we noticed that the gearbox and brakes work well, the engine rises well in revs and the sound produced by the new exhaust system is very pleasant.
The dashboard elements of the 190 works as well as its original 8-day VDO watch.

Delivered with many period accessories including the Hard-Top in the same colour as the bodywork as well as the third seat, it still has its jack and tool kit.

In a good state of presentation, it shows a patina notably on the paintwork, some scales are to be noted on the right front wing. The black mohair bonnet also needs to be repaired but it remains waterproof.

Having already taken part in many historic rallies, this 190 SL is a beautiful convertible just asking to take the small country roads during the beautiful days to come.