Classic Convertibles: Mercedes-Benz 190SL History

The Mercedes 190SL is a vintage convertible sports car. In 1955, the German automaker introduced this vehicle as a less costly variation of the 300SL. The compact auto featured a four-cylinder engine, manual shifting and only two seats. It was based on a pair of earlier models that also appeared during the 1950s.


Mercedes started making the model 300 luxury sedan in 1951. Its engineers wanted to create a racing vehicle without devoting resources to a separate design. Within two years, the automaker used many of the 300's components to develop the 300SL race car. It performed quite impressively in European auto races.

In 1955, the 300SL became a production model and entered the U.S. market. A New York importer successfully urged Mercedes to release a convertible version during the same year. Although the new 190SL looked similar to the 300SL, it was partially based on the 180 sedan. This relatively inexpensive model had been introduced two years earlier.


Engineers made a few changes to the 190SL in subsequent years. The car's rear lights became larger and it gained a brake booster in 1956. This was its most successful year; dealers sold more than 4,000 units worldwide. An improved hardtop appeared about three years later. Nonetheless, the company stopped producing this model in 1963.

The Mercedes 190SL continues to gain popularity among collectors. If you're interested in buying or selling this vehicle, please call Gullwing Motor Cars at 800-452-9910.


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