Much like its 300 SL bigger brother, the 190 SL was the brainchild of Mercedes-Benz American importer Max Hoffman. Hoffman believed that a smaller, less costly roadster bearing a family resemblance to the more exotic 300 SL would prove to be just as successful. Given the car’s popularity upon debuting at the 1954 New York Auto Show and subsequent success throughout its nine-year production run, Hoffman was right.
At its heart was a 1.9-liter, inline, four-cylinder engine with dual Solex carburetors rated to produce 120 horsepower and good for a reported top speed of over 105 mph. The 190 SL was an effortless cruiser, and its trunk could easily accommodate a weekend’s worth of luggage for two. Priced at $3,840 when new, it cost nearly half as much as a 300 SL Roadster.
This example benefits from a previous restoration and is finished in the factory-correct colors of Graphite Grey over a red vinyl interior. Importantly, the space behind the front seats is occupied by the rare and desirable, side-facing “kinder seat.” The car is also still equipped with its factory-delivered hardtop, which has been restored to the same standard as the rest of the car. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/1221.