16th Mar, 2022 13:00

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Lot 44

1959 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
Subject to a bare-metal, rotisserie restoration

Sold for £151,875

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: 38 YMP
Chassis No: 121040109500961
MOT: Exempt

  • Intriguing early history being supplied new to the Orbis Trading Co. in Ethiopia before arriving in the UK in 1960
  • Subject to a bare-metal, photographically documented, rotisserie restoration with minimal use since
  • 1 of just 3,949 190SLs made during the 1959 production year
  • Recently on display at the Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands
  • Presents very well and is finished in Red with complementary Cream leather interior upholstery
  • Worthy of close inspection!

The 190SL was introduced in 1955 – the year Mercedes swept all before it on the Mille Miglia with the 300SLR. Indeed, the graceful, new two-door, convertible grand tourer was sold alongside the road-going version of the SLR – the 300SL - whose styling it strongly resembled. In fact, the underpinnings of the two cars were quite different and, while the 300SL had a purpose-built tubular spaceframe (W198), its smaller sibling was built on a shortened version of the ‘Ponton’ saloon (W121) platform, which was of monocoque construction. The 190SL also boasted an all-new engine - an over-square SOHC straight-four unit of 1897cc that produced some 120bhp, which was sufficient to propel the car to a maximum speed of 112mph. The engine was coupled to a manual four-speed gearbox. The suspension comprised double wishbones and coil springs at the front and a coil-sprung swing axle at the rear. Steering was by recirculating ball and braking by power-assisted drums all around. Built to the highest standards and among the quickest comparable cars of the time, the 190SL featured a well-appointed cockpit, notable comfort for its occupants and relatively generous luggage space. Under the circumstances, even the steep asking price of £2,693 did nothing to deter purchasers. Options included a third seat placed transversely behind the front ones which was big enough to carry an adult. The 190SL continued in production until 1963 when both it and the 300SL were replaced by the 230SL (W113). By this time 25,881 190SLs had been produced.

Ordered by the Orbis Trading Co of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, who remain a Mercedes-Benz concessionaire to this day, chassis 121040109500961 was built in 1959 to left-hand drive specification. How long the two-seater spent in Ethiopia is unknown but by January 1960 it had been imported to the UK and issued with the Middlesex registration number ’38 YMP’. Belonging to Sheila Marie Buxton of Greater Manchester that same decade (who may or may not have been the radio and tv star of the same name), the 190SL passed to Edward Frederick Sydney Franklin Esq in 1964. Remaining in his possession until at least the mid-1970s, the Mercedes-Benz was subsequently taken off the road. Acquired by the vendor as a restoration project in 2015, he entrusted ’38 YMP’ to renowned specialist Redcastle Classics Ltd of South Wales for an exhaustive two-year mechanical and cosmetic refurbishment. Reportedly stripped down to ‘the last nut and bolt’, the two-seater’s painstaking repair and reassembly was photographically documented in an accompanying album. Refinished in its original shade of Red, the 190SL was trimmed in contrasting Cream leather with the same colour being used for the soft-top and tonneau cover. The result is eye-catching to say the least! Having thoroughly enjoyed his custodianship which, among other things, resulted in an invitation from Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands for the Roadster to join their heritage display for twelve months (with an accompanying letter of thanks in the history file), the vendor has now decided to let someone else enjoy ’38 YMP’. Worthy of close inspection, this stunning left-hand drive 190SL is accompanied by a large history file, which contains the original buff-logbook, the aforementioned photo album, numerous old tax discs / MOT certificates, a current V5C document and further assorted paperwork.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Cheetham
07538 667452


Auction: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, 16th Mar, 2022

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Imperial War Museum
CB22 4QR

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Tuesday 15th March 2022 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 16th March 2022 from 9am

12.5% (plus VAT @ 20%)

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