Wed, 27th Apr 2022 13:00

Pavilion Gardens, Buxton

Lot 49

1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
A rare RHD example

Sold for £38,250

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: Unregistered (formerly 'YBR 384')
Chassis No: 121.040-20.020930
MOT: Exempt

  • 1 of only 562 cars built across all right-hand-drive markets (from a total production run of 25,881)
  • Current ownership since 1989
  • 1 of just 3,792 190SLs made during the 1961 production year
  • Off-the-road for approximately thirty years and offered as an exciting right-hand-drive restoration project from long-term ownership

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 a 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 round.

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 were 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 (just over two percent of which – some 562 cars - were to right-hand drive specification).

Completed during the 1961 model year, this particular right-hand drive example – chassis 121.040-20020930 – is understood to have been supplied new to the United Kingdom, with the original chassis plate text presented in English and previously registered 'YBR 384'. Having restored another 190SL with her father during the mid-1980s, the vendor purchased this example in the summer of 1989 from a gentleman in London. Collected by the vendor (while sporting Mercedes-Benz cap and overalls!), the 190SL was then driven to a garage who were asked to store it while the vendor and her father undertook a second joint restoration. Regretfully, the tale takes a sad turn here as not only did the vendor’s father become unwell, but the garage dismantled the car completely and stole the engine, gearbox and one of the axles (amongst other parts).

With her father’s health continuing to deteriorate, the 190SL was retrieved and placed into hibernation until this year and is now being offered for sale for the first time since 1989. The engine, gearbox and one of the axles are known to be missing from the Mercedes-Benz, although there may be further absent parts too. The full selection of parts that are available with the Mercedes-Benz will be updated on our website. The mortal remains of ‘YBR 384’ are offered with the original chassis and body plates and a small selection of invoices. Being one of the 562 right-hand drive examples manufactured, this is a scarce and exciting opportunity to acquire a restoration project 190SL from long-term ownership.

A donation is being made from the sale proceeds to a vascular dementia charity in memory of the vendor’s late father.

PLEASE NOTE: In addition to the items photographed, the bonnet and boot panels are accompanying and further parts may be re-discovered in the run-up to the sale.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Cheetham
07538 667452


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