1959 MERCEDES-BENZ 190SL ROADSTER WITH HARD TOP
Chassis No. 8502751
Engine No. 8502773
White with red leather interior and black top
Engine: four cylinder, single overhead camshaft, 1,897cc, 105bhp at 5,700rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: front, independent, rear, single joint swing axle, coil springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
Although it tended to be overshadowed by the larger 300SL, the 190SL was a high quality sports tourer noted for its refinement and elegance. When introduced in February 1954 it was thought to be a little slow, but by 1958 the engine output had been raised to 105bhp, commendable for a 2 liter power unit running with little stress. All this gave the car good performance with a top speed of 110mph and 0 to 60 in 13.3 seconds.
Contemporary road testers found third gear a useful overtaking ratio taking the 190SL to over 75mph. Performance was described as sparkling with a reassuring level of safety. Fuel consumption of 20 to 26mpg with a 14.3 gallon tank gave the car a cruising range of around 350 miles, emphasizing its essentially touring character. Strictly a two-seater, the 190 has good luggage capacity. The car's stability is reassuring and the ride is good even by modern standards.
According to the factory records this 190SL was originally ordered by a Mr. William Kemlin. The early records go blank until the trail is picked up in 1974 when car enthusiast Steve Sizemore of Toledo, Ohio traded his Porsche 356 cabriolet to Mr. Bob Pigg of Columbus, Ohio for the 190SL. Mr. Sizemore drove the 190SL for the balance of the summer at which point the car was parked in the garage for the next 15 years. It was during this time Mr. Sizemore performed a complete restoration. Much of the mechanical work was done by Joe Alexander of Blacklick, Ohio including the engine and transmission. The undercarriage work was done by Precious Metals of Grand Rapids, Michigan where a new floor was installed as well as outer side rails. Likewise the paint and body work was completed by Elite Body Works of Columbus, Ohio while the new interior was purchased from Ron's Restoration in Douglassville, Georgia. Further seats, door panels, leather, carpet, and a new soft top were procured and installed. All the chrome was plated and the gauges were rebuilt with new faces, glass and bezels including a clock and period-correct Becker radio. A receipt summary showing approximately 90 percent of the restoration is on hand in the car's binder detailing most of the items purchased and labor logged. The end product was well worth the personal time and effort as the car was very well presented.
It was then in early 1999 that the 190SL was purchased by the now gentleman owner and car collector. This 190SL has undergone routine maintenance and servicing while residing in his stately collection in south Florida with the above restoration only mellowing slightly. Christie's is pleased to offer such an excellent example now complete with a factory hardtop, an original owner's guide, service book, catalogue "c", workshop manual, and reproduction tools and a 190SL parts catalogue. Finally, this example is fitted with the rare but useful third seat known as the "transverse seat" which provides for additional, albeit snug, accommodations. Known as the 300SL's "little brother" this 190SL is poised for classic all-around motoring.