1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL made its debut in 1955, targeting individuals who admired the iconic styling of the powerful 300 SL but didn’t require its top-notch performance reaching 160 mph. Although positioned as a more affordable option, the 190 SL didn’t compromise on style or substance. This remarkable sports car drew inspiration from its larger sibling’s design language and incorporated cutting-edge engineering, including a similar independent suspension system.

To keep production costs in check, engineers opted for the adaptation of the older W121 chassis instead of the tubular spaceframe found in the W198 platform of the 300 SL. Additionally, the 190 SL was equipped with a 1.9-liter inline four-cylinder engine, derived from the 300 SL’s 3.0-liter straight-six, to deliver power.

Right from the beginning, Mercedes-Benz positioned the 190 SL as a capable touring car, intended to rival the Porsche 356. Despite its folding roof mechanism influencing the design of the upper portion of the car, it comfortably accommodated two passengers along with their luggage for a weekend getaway. Unsurprisingly, the 190 SL enjoyed immediate success.

Source: RM Sotheby’s