For many years, the 190SL has suffered from the overwhelming shadow of its big-buck brother, the 300SL. And, to be fair, I didn’t mind. The 300SL has strong proportions, lusty engines, race-bred heritage and other qualities that make the 190SL seem like you’re dating Peggy Olson while you stare lustfully at Joan Holloway. Fortunately, just as the tide has turned for the formerly ugly duckling in AMC’s smash hit, so, too, have the fortunes of the 190SL, with values quickly rising but still a relative bargain compared to its buxom sibling.
The car featured here is how we hope all of our cars will end up once we send them on: cherished by owners, kept out of the rain, and on the receiving end of a sympathetic restoration as a preventative measure. Although this fire engine red ’62 didn’t need it, the second owner commissioned a full cosmetic restoration. Unlike some restorers that just can’t help leaving their signature on things, this car is described to be true to the original colors it wore the day it rolled off the assembly line. The hubcaps and factory hard top are nice touches, too.
Engine: 1.9 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 73,311 mi
Price: Reserve auction
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1962 Mercedes-Benz 190SL on eBay
Offered for sale is an absolutely gorgeous, exceptionally strong running and original 1962 Mercedes 190SL Roadster finished in ever-striking factory-correct “Fire Engine Red” (DB 568) over a beautiful, restored Black leather interior. Sold new to a US Military physician stationed in Europe, he shipped the car back home with him when his commission ended and he carefully kept and maintained the car for the ensuing 25 years, eventually selling it in 1988 to a colleague, another doctor in Los Angeles.
Since that time the car has been the second owner’s pride and joy and daily driver, used to commute every fair weather day for the past 25 years between his home in Malibu and his practice in Beverly Hills. Despite having received consistent use throughout its 51 years, it was always fanatically maintained and babied, always kept out of the elements and in excellent running condition. Consequently, the car offered today is as tight and solid as many recently restored examples.
While still a presentable survivor without any significant rust or accident history, in 2005 the second owner decided it was finally time for a cosmetic freshening and he commissioned a high-quality repaint in the original Fire Engine Red and a correct reupholstering of the interior in black leather. The Cardex obtained from the Mercedes Classic Center confirms that this was the way the car originally left the factory.
The results of his efforts are fantastic, the finish deep and lustrous, marred only by minimal imperfections too insignificant to appear in any of the pictures. The body is straight with consistent panel fits and gaps and the chrome is in excellent original condition, free of any dings or dents and showing only minimal wear despite its years. All of the glass and rubber is in great shape, the hubcaps and beauty rings are free of any significant dings or imperfections and the tires have plenty of remaining tread. The car comes with both soft and hard tops, the black soft top freshly redone in the correct material and the desirable, optional “big window” hardtop with a freshly reupholstered headliner.
The car’s interior is excellent, the leather seats, interior panels, dash and carpets showing only negligible wear. The ivory steering wheel is in fantastic, un-cracked condition and everything works, including the gauges. The car retains its original clock and, while the original radio was replaced with a modern Alpine unit in 2003, we have sourced and purchased a correct, original Becker Europa model that will be installed summarily.
The car is mechanically exceptional, the original, numbers matching engine starting effortlessly, idling consistently and pulling strongly and smoothly through each of the original transmission’s gears. The troublesome original Solex carburetors have been replaced in favor of Webers, providing the car with vastly improved reliability and the necessary performance to match its elegantly fast lines. Compression is excellent, hardly surprising considering that the engine was completely rebuilt in 2010. In fact, since 2005 the car has receipts for over $15,000 in service at Malibu Motors, an independent Mercedes specialist in Santa Monica, CA. Due to their consistent maintenance, we can also report that ride quality is superb, the car braking and handling as it should without any noises or vibrations. It’s a joy to drive, certainly as a weekend cruiser, but even as a daily driver, evidenced by the 25 years of frequent service it provided its prior owner. Despite that use, the engine compartment is rust-free and clean and the undercarriage remains solid, dry and original, undoubtedly owed to its garaged history in a dry environment.
This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a beautiful, solid and mechanically strong example of a rare, late production 190SL with an optional “big window” hardtop. With recent outlandish $200k+ auction results pushing 190SL values higher on a daily basis, the timing couldn’t be better to acquire an investment that can be enjoyed both aesthetically and on the road, and finding a better one than this example will be no easy feat. Please bid accordingly.
We want this car to go to great home and would be happy to further discuss it and answer any questions, so please feel free to email us or call us at 805-202-4557. You can also visit us online at GoodmanReed.
While I love the 300SL, both in roadster and coupe form (something about those droopy European headlights), I’ll likely never be able to afford one, much less pay for its operating costs. Similar in spirit to the Porsche 912, the 190SL may not be the heavy-hitter in the family, but it’s certainly just as adept at fair weather cruising.