In the 50’s there was the Mercedes 300SL. Which was a car everybody wanted, just because it was the fastest production car available worldwide. However, the 300SL was very expensive. Because it was so exclusive. But Mercedes wanted to exploit the success of the 300SL and sell more affordable cars. So this car was introduced, the Mercedes 190SL. And even though the car looked similar to the 300SL with the same lines and exterior. There are some big differences. For example, this car is built on the shortened W121 platform. Which was called the R121 platform. Which was actually the chassis for the old Mercedes Ponton. Which was more like a family car compared to the 300SL which used the, for that time, that very advanced W189 chassis. And because of that they could push the price down significantly. The engine is different as well The engine in this car is a litre 4-cylinder.
Which was actually the 6-cylinder from the 300SL but with 2 cylinders less. The bore and stroke of the engine are almost similar to the 300SL. And there are 2 solex carburetors mounted on it. And those were diffucult to configure which was the reason that not all 190SL’s were running smoothly. And became a little notorious for those engines. I must say that I haven’t noticed anything about this car. The engine just runs perfectly smooth after starting. The engine produces about 105 horsepower. Which isn’t surprisingly much But it doesn’t feel very slow. When you see this car and read on paper that this is the 300SL’s little brother. You might think that it isn’t fun to drive. That it might be more of a cruiser than a sports car. Which is partially true. This car is ideal to drive long distances in a relaxed way. But on occasions it is just great to drive fast and to trow it into corners. Maybe this is because the engine isn’t really powerful, so you really have to step on it in order to go fast. That’s possible..
But maybe it’s just the car’s character which just fits the car. It’s just a beautiful car to look at. Even though I am not a Mercedes fan! So I must admit that when I read 190 in the invitation to drive this car. I thought it was that old taxi model.. So the letters SL make a big difference! This car was produced in the 50’s. And that is visible throughout the entire car. The interior is very retro. But very nice nonetheless. Lots of chrome, many nice dials and buttons. And as is usual in a car this old it isn’t really clear what all buttons do until you try them because they aren’t marked. This is just a trip down memory lane as one might say. The 190SL is obviously a convertible. But it was available in two models a softtop version, like this one.
Or with the optional hardtop. And if you would like to transport a third person then there is space in the back. This car isn’t fitted with that option but a crosswise third seat was available as an option. Which could facilitate a garden gnome without legs. Which can’t be too long, even for a garden gnome.. It just isn’t spacious in the back at all. The car we are driving today has done just under 29.000 miles. Originally this car was delivered to New York in 1959. But now it’s in the Netherlands, and it has been completely renovated. The bonnet, doors and the trunk lid are still made out of this cars original steel the remainder has been retouched but the car is back in top notch condition. As usual this car is borrowed from Gina Classics. They have the full documentation belonging to this car and pictures made during the renovating process. Offcourse all invoices are complete as well. This car is for sale for 109.000 euros.
But if you ask me, that money buys you one of the best looking cars from the 50’s!