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1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL: Heating Up

1957 Mercedes 190SL

There’s a point when you know a bubble is getting out of control. The Mercedes 190SL is a car that’s been steadily rising in value, following in the footsteps of its big brother, the 300SL. While there have been some optimistic prices, good cars that either have the appropriate bones for restoration or are truly impressive survivors have been finding new homes with ease when they go to auction. But this crispy, fire-charred 190SL here on craigslist in Pennsylvania is sort of a new low for the breed, as there’s little here that looks salvageable or even remotely worth the seller’s $15,000 asking price. In my mind, it’s fine to ride the waves of a bubble, but at least be realistic about what you own. While I am sorry to see such a special car rotting, it’s going to take expert hands to restore and a significant investment to make that restoration a reality. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Troy B. for the find.


  1. RayT Member

    Do you see a single usable part here? I don’t. I suspect even the VIN plate is too toasty to attach to a pile of salvaged pieces. This is probably worth less than a dollar to a scrapper, if the owner takes it to them.

    There comes a point where we’re way past “absurd,” and this goes considerably beyond. If someone really wants a 190 SL, they’d be better off paying for one that has some hope of being restored/rebuilt, and not getting gulled by someone who wants to turn a quick buck. For once, I have to say this one doesn’t even belong here. It’s a sick joke.

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    • bclawrence

      Really now come on. is this guy jocking or just to many cocktail at lunch.

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  2. marc

    One hot fire – the pot-metal star in the grill melted along with the aluminum valve cover.
    Might have been a project to start with as there appears to be parts in the trunk. Even melted the chrome off.

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  3. John H.

    Ad should read: “lightly used, gorgeous patina.”

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  4. DENIS

    Sand lightly, clearcoat….

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  5. patrol

    I am restoring one of these. And i started with a good base car. So far total cost is over $65k and it is nowhere ready yet. Parts are expensive hardly come used and time consuming. I would assume this one would cost $100k to restore plus the purchase price. If you have that kind of money get a proper restored one and save yourself years of headaches.

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  6. Jose

    Believe there’s three too many zeros. $15 maybe. $15,000 or $1500, $150, NO WAY! Even at $15 the thing would be a labor of slavery. Plus, you’ve got to value the thing more than you value your life/wife/house/home.

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  7. Richard Prokopchuk

    I wonder what the blue tarp is for?

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    • Mike

      to pull over the head, like you do anything that has died!!!!!

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  8. Richard

    These cars are worthless in perfect condition. Would rather have a King Midget

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    • Axel Caravias

      Market says another thing : ))

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  9. warren

    There is a reason CL is free……

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  10. Moparman Moparmann Member

    $15K?!? To crib a line from Monty Python: “Surely ye jest!” :-)

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  11. Michael Ponsano

    ha ha ha ha !!!! really!?! really!?!
    $150.00 is WAY insane too much!!

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  12. John E.

    I love an old Europian car’s, truck’s or motorcycle’s. This car, junk! The only thing I see of this car is as a body mold-maker, to create fiberglass body’s for kit builder’s, other then that, I agree with the sentiments here, I’d have to pay the junk man to take it away.

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  13. moosie Craig

    Really ?

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    • John E.

      Yes, really. It was just a thought, a last ditch effort to save even the slightest redeeming quality of this era. If a WV Bug can be turned into a turing car with a Rolls Royce look-a-like front end then anything is a “Really?”

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  14. Bryan Cohn

    I’ve never seen a fire so hot it melted aluminum. That’s 1221F for those of us playing along.

    Wood burns around 451F. Gasoline burns at 495F. Engine oil burns at 420F-485F. Brake fluid 550F-650F. Anti-freeze as low as 750F. Brake Clean 725F.

    All of us have that stuff and more in our shop/garage. What the hell did that guy have in his shop/garage to cause a fire to burn so hot it melted aluminum???

    As for the car, the dude is dreaming and not in a good way.

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    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      May 5, 1973. The day a barn in Damascus, MD burned to the ground. There were several cars stored inside the barn; My 1956 Packard Caribbean sedan [yes, sedan, they built only one], 1955 Packard Caribbean convertible, 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C2600 coupe with an all alloy body, and a 1923 Packard truck.

      The vehicles were all total losses, the Alfa’s alloy engine & gearbox a melted blob with steel parts jutting out. The entire body simply vaporized due to the heat. The Caribbean sedan had the 2X4 carb setup, the carbs had melted into the manifold. The manifold bolts were only finger tight and once it was cool enough I simply took the bolts off without using a wrench. Then I discovered the manifold was warped almost 3/16 of an inch! The entire steel roof of the sedan was now touching the floor, the center posts bent over 180 degrees at the beltline.

      Yes, fires DO get that hot! And for those who are curious, the fire was due to lightning.

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  15. Horse Radish

    He’s already got his money from the insurance after he torched it, with some serious accellerant.
    The rest is just for laughs, kicks or whatever……..

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  16. Tom Stewart

    …otherwise mint.

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  17. taxijohn

    The guys hoping for someone to buy it as a “ringer”, i can’t see any other reason anyone would think this had any value other than scrap weight. And no i don’t approve but it goes on over here, so i’m sure it does elsewhere sadly.

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  18. kenzo

    The ad does say “Or Best Offer”. I thing the 15k was a joke number the seller pulled out of the air to get people talking. It seems to have worked.
    About melting aluminum. I have a colour picture from one of the California forest fires from a few years ago and it is a Dodge passenger van, total burn out with a trail of aluminium (presumably from the trans) that had run out from underneath then solidified. Still have it on my office wall.

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  19. Axel Caravias

    I work on these cars, restore them and collect them. I can tell you that this one is worthless. Besides hood, doors and trunk, A and B pillars are aluminum bolted to a metal unibody. For sure distorted by now. Sheetmetal lost its physical properties on the fire, it is distorted too and brittle. Not to mention the looong list of expensive parts required.
    If a customer comes with a car like this to my shop and wants to restore it at any price because of some sentimental value I can assure you it would cost $200k plus (and I am not talking about 100 points restoration).
    Axel Caravias

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  20. Aaron B.

    Meh….That’ll buff right out!! And would ya just look at that hot motor!! EWW-WEEE!! That be some sweet ride right thar, I tell you what!!


    I don’t think you could use that thing for scrap metal…$15k?? You, good sir, are on glue!!

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  21. Mike

    Why even waste the time to list it, I say call the local salvage yard to come get it and turn it into a block of metal or something!!!
    Why even waste the time to list it on barn find!!!!!

    Like 0

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