Wed, 17th Nov 2021 13:00

Imperial War Museum Duxford

Lot 71

1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL
A rare and truly exceptional RHD example

Sold for £219,375

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: 813 CYE
Chassis No: 1210427503213
MOT: Exempt

  • 1 of just 562 cars built across all right-hand drive markets
  • 1 of just 3,332 190SLs made during 1957 but not UK road registered until April 1958
  • The subject of an exhautsive three and a half year, photographically documented, rotisserie restoration
  • As good underneath as it is on top and the nicest example we have encountered
  • Potentially Mille Miglia eligible

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

Completed during the 1957 model year, this particular example – chassis 121.042-7503213 – was first road registered in London as ‘813 CYE’ on April 14th 1958. Migrating to Oxford and the care of Dr Keith Hawton thereafter, the two-seater was granted a MOT certificate by Alcester Rd Service Station of Kings Heath, Birmingham on September 22nd 1977 at an indicated 63,601 miles. Resident in Yorkshire the following decade, it received a new short block, cylinder head and camshaft plus numerous other parts via Mercedes-Benz main dealer, Derwent Vehicles of Leeds. Returning to London in the early 2000s, the Roadster then relocated to Norfolk for thirteen years before being bought by the vendor for £93,000 during April 2017.

Fortunate enough to have his own bodyshop, the seller is the first to admit that he got carried away with the subsequent restoration. Indeed, he tells us that he has dared not add up the number of hours his team spent on the project! Familiar with refurbishing classic Mercedes-Benz models, they stripped the 190SL down to ‘the last nut and bolt’, carrying out any remedial metalwork repairs as necessary. Hundreds of accompanying photographs document the extent and thoroughness of the renovation with the seller putting the cost at £104,000 (despite heavily discounted ‘in-house’ labour rates). Refinished in its original Anthracite Grey Metallic (DB172) colour scheme matched to Cream leather upholstery and a matching soft-top, ‘813 CYE’ does not want for visual drama.

The previous keeper commissioned a professional engine overhaul within the last few thousand miles but new motor and gearbox mounts have been fitted and the suspension, brakes and electrics fettled. Countless zinc-plated fixings were used in the reassembly, while Classic Mercedes Parts of Belgium supplied many of the replacement components. Among the jewels of his collection, the vendor has chosen to offer someone else the chance to enjoy the Roadster on the show circuit or events such as the Mille Miglia Storica rather than modifying it to accommodate his tall frame. Worthy of close inspection, this exceptional right-hand drive 190SL is accompanied by a V5C Registration Document, owner’s manual and large history file.

A video of the car being painted can be viewed by copying and pasting the following link into your web browser -

For more information, please contact:
Damian Jones
07855 493737


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