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40 Years Parked: 1960 Mercedes 190B


The allure of a true barn find (or garage find) is sometimes too difficult to overcome, even if the project that lies behind those barn doors is more trouble than it’s worth. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Joe for spotting this 1960 Mercedes 190B here on craigslist in New Jersey, with the seller looking for offers.


I don’t mean to sound negative. It’s just that I’ve realized with the arrival of my own barn find that while the price may be cheap, you’ll eat that up quickly fixing years of neglect. It’s eye opening just how much work develops from merely sitting indoors, away from the elements. This 190B supposedly got sidelined when the radiator blew and the owner found the costs of replacement to be too high.


My best guess is this 190B has the Mercedes M121 SOHC 4-cylinder under the hood. This engine was certainly nothing powerful, so be thankful you at least have a manual transmission in this particular example. I also believe this was shared with the 190SL roadster. However, the seller’s attempts to draw some connection between this car and the increasingly valuable convertible is a stretch.


One benefit of long-term indoor storage is that the interiors usually don’t suffer if dampness isn’t an issue. This 190B appears to have a clean, intact interior, so hopefully that’s one less project for the next owner. The engine will need a proper going-through and the cosmetics are rough. The seller says to throw him an offer – what price would you put on this garage-find Benz?


  1. Avatar photo ydnar


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  2. Avatar photo RON

    It would be an interesting old car to stable. I would be lost at where to start on one of these but as many Studebaker people have an interest and a number of the Studebaker people have Mercedes simply because of the early tie between the 2 Manufactures as Studebaker being the first US Dealers in this country and the consequent law suit over Badging in 53 which brought the end to the association down.

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  3. Avatar photo James

    My brother is in the middle of restoring one of these for a customer.
    there’s been some serious cash dropped into this so far

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    • Avatar photo David Member

      The car your brother is restoring is an entirely different animal and could be quite valuable when completed. If the car your brother is restoring is a 280SE (it looks like about a 1970) for example, it would easily be a six figure car and well worth restoring. However, I restored a Mercedes in a similar situation to this 190 over 20 years ago (a 1965 220S) and even though I spent more than it was worth, the many years I have enjoyed my old Mercedes have more than made up for the extra money.

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  4. Avatar photo MountainMan

    really ydnar? We cant all have crusty old ford trucks

    This would be worth big bucks if restored but will take even bigger bucks to do so. Labor of love for sure but really special car when done

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  5. Avatar photo L.M.K.

    ydnar isn’t far off the mark….This will not be worth big bucks and probably isn’t worth throwing any money at , other than revival costs, if somebody really wants to bother. I don’t believe the accuracy of the mileage claim or the story.
    It’s a parts car and the seller is fishing for a selling price and is hoping for a windfall. Sadly for him , this one won’t produce a windfall.

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  6. Avatar photo z1rider

    If it really was parked because of the radiator the main question mark for me would be whether or not the engine turns. If it does, this might not take much to get going.

    Still, it will not be worth much. The Pontons do have quite a loyal following though.

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  7. Avatar photo Jaimekop

    This guy seems to be a flipper, and doing a bad job at it. The car was listed on CL back in December for a few hundred dollars and sold with in a few hours. I figured it would be a great parts car, as rust looks like an issue.

    I contacted the current seller to ask if he was the same guy or not, and got a pretty rude response. The least he could have done was taken some new photos!

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  8. Avatar photo bcavileer

    If the inner fender shown in engine pic is any indication, the jersey tin worm has been feasting on this for quite some time. Will take a major undertaking to repair this poor old girl.
    Shame, they were very pretty sedans in their day. Maybe someone is ambitious.

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  9. Avatar photo fred

    In 1971 at the age of 14 I purchased (for $95) an identical looking ’59 180A- same body color, same red leather upholstery. Boy does this bring back memories! It had sat under pine trees and was covered with sap drops. I figured out what solvent would remove the sap without harming the paint and a day later it was clean. Then I buffed and buffed the finish until it looked new. The upholstery cleaned up nicely. The engine ran but had a “tick”, so of course dear old dad was in charge of that. An engineer with his own machine shop, he did a complete rebuild but it still had the tick. He tore it down again and found nothing. Turned out to be an interference issue in the OHV system that could have been fixed by pulling the valve cover! But for a couple hundred I had a beautiful car that today would be considered a nice “survivor”. I wasn’t allowed to drive it on the road, but dad did let me drive the 200 feet along the road in front of the house. I do remember that my dad, A WWII veteran and not a fan of German or “Jap” cars, was not impressed with the “cardboard” heater ducts. I have Super 8 footage I took holding the camera in one hand while shifting the 4 speed column shift with the other. Not sure how I steered!

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    • Avatar photo Joe

      Fred, great story. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Avatar photo Bob in Bexley Member

      I’ll 2nd the thanks for sharing. I wish more people would discuss fond memories than discussing turning a quick buck.

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      • Avatar photo Wayne S.K.


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  10. Avatar photo Doug M. (West Coast)

    I have restored one of these (a 220s, which is similar, but the next model up). Great cars to work on. However, as mentioned above, the ending value is limited. If he gets $1500-2500 he should take it and smile. As to the rust, the engine compartment is not giving good signs. The floor boards are double-layered, so this seller may be observing solid first layer and not seeing what could be extensive rust underneath?? Only upside is that the red interior looks pretty decent and it is a good color combination. Here is a picture of my project a few years ago:

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  11. Avatar photo Doug M. (West Coast)

    Here’s the pic: (I hope??)

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    • Avatar photo Dave Wright

      Your 220S is a very different car. Much higher quality and more rare. The 180-190’s were taxi cabs. Stout well built simple cars that did yoman’s duty all over the world. The 220 was a high end expensive car. The top of the line consumer car for the brand. Off course, there were 300’s that were over the top cars owned by wealthy family or government people. The 220s has wonderful hand crafted wood and leather throughout, a larger engine that is an engineering masterpiece. These little cars as wonderful as they are, are more common and simple. Your 220s even has the Webasto top. Very nice piece. All the pontunes are going up with the best coupes and cabriolets commanding close to 250,000 these days. A really good 220s is bringing 30-50,000. A small body taxi like this is Maby 10-12,000 in exceptional shape. In this condition I think your 1500-2500 range is on the money. I have an exceptionally rust free 220S in my garage that I have yet to start. It has good orignal paint is undamaged and complete. It sat in a barn for several decades, even the cardboard heater ducts are good. These are one of the cars that have become very hot on the German oldtimer market and Mercedes is activley searching for to remarked. The 190 sedans not so much…..unless they are in exceptional condition.

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  12. Avatar photo Joe

    Doug, looks really good. Silver with the red is a great combo.

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  13. Avatar photo Chris A.

    At least the car in question is the gasser. In Europe most of the taxis were diesels. The comments about the 220S pontons are right on as the build quality and materials were top notch. In 1966 towed home a 220S in Brazilian Nut Brown the color of dark chocolate w/tan interior that didn’t run for $500. Blown head gasket due to a leaking side plate and cracked radiator and the engine was a mess. A deer strike had wiped out the grill and cracked a radiator fitting resulting in overheating. A little rust that was my job to clean up while Dad started to work on the pulled engine and sent out the radiator to be re soldered. A lot of new engine parts and a cleaned out cooling system and we had it running and tuned up. I came home from work and he said he’d sold my Borgward TS and I could have the MB. It was the wedding car for the girl across the street and then for my wedding. I should never have sold it. Not a good city car but wonderful on the open road. The 220S ponton sedan is a nice bridge between the 50’s and 60’s. I still want one and best yet, it is still the only vintage car my wife likes after 46 years..

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