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1959 Mercedes Benz W121 190SL with Blue Leather

White (050) with Blue Leather / 190SL

Principal Facts:

Extremely rare opportunity to purchase a 190SL that’s 95% percent there, with just some minor cosmetic issues remaining to be put right on this 64-year-old survivor. You could simply enjoy using it as it is, of course, the term ‘restoration project’ seemingly a little excessive for this example.

Already in fine order, this 190SL has been seen by SLSHOP expert technicians a few times since it first came to us for work in 2018. We conducted a health check that revealed a sea of green for all the usual areas that plague these cars. Having said that, if you’re expecting a show winner, you might be a little disappointed, but it wouldn’t take a lot to get it back in the winner’s circle (there’s a M-B Club America concours plaque on the dashboard).

All in all, this 190SL represents a fantastic opportunity to pick up a very sound car that just needs one more push to make it fantastic. Project 190SLs do come up from time to time but are usually a pile of rust, hanging on by a wing and a prayer. This example most certainly isn’t like that. If you don’t care about the concours circuit then it’s perfectly presentable and useable as is, but if you do, not a lot of work’s left to get it tip-top again.

Condition Synopsis:

Generally, this 190SL has an awful lot going for it. Its exterior bodywork is straight with paint that still shines up beautifully. The hood is a good fit, though some of its chrome trim will need reattaching here and there. While we’re on the subject of the shiny stuff, the rest of the car’s chrome is in fantastic shape. Just as well, as there’s a ton of it and it’s not easy or cheap to put right these days. The engine bay in this 190 presents well, if a little on the honest side. There’s a clean engine block with no unsightly oil or fluid leaks, but we did notice a little surface corrosion to the edges on the wings, where they meet the bonnet. The same area, but towards the scuttle shows overspray at its edges, both are very minor. Seats and dash look fantastic in an oh-so-1950s shade of turquoise. The leather remains perfect with exceptional stitching and no discolouration or damage. There’s plenty of dials to distract your attention; oil pressure, coolant temp, fuel and the large rev counter and speedo. All remain clear and functional.

History File:

Back in 2018, when we first saw this car, it needed quite a few little bits putting right. We found and cured a few leaks, namely from the engine rocker cover, differential pinion seal and transmission. We also popped in some new engine and gearbox mounts, replaced the centre link rod and clutch lever bush and arm, before greasing all the kingpins and nipples around the car. To finish the refresh off, we had the engine bay cleaned and went through the brakes before getting the car a fresh MOT. The bill for all this work came in at just shy of £7k.

SLSHOP Summary:

The 190SL is one of the most important roadsters in Mercedes-Benz history. It took the model to the masses. Though very far from a sports car for your average man or woman, its semi-mass-produced nature did mean it was now within the reach of the affluent and expanding mid-century middle classes. Your discerning 1950s SL customer expected a little more luxury and creature comfort from a Mercedes-Benz, versus say an MG or a Triumph. The 190SL had a proper enclosed cockpit with side windows and a quality weather-tight hood, something that often owners of the aforementioned British rivals couldn’t boast.
  • 4761
  • 1959
  • Manual
  • White (050)
  • Blue Leather
  • Petrol
  • Exempt

Inspection Report

Report Synopsis: Mechanically sound, this car is ready to enjoy, but needs cosmetic attention if shows & concours events are your thing




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