Abandoned for Years: 1957 Mercedes 190SL

For a few years, the formerly unloved Mercedes-Benz 190SL experienced a rapid rise in value. Long in the shadow of the classic 300SL Gullwing and Roadster, the 190SL was considered the cheaper, unloved sibling. That led to many questionable examples fetching high prices, and although the values have peaked, that doesn’t mean complete basketcases like this 1957 model here on eBay have ceased to pop up with continued regularity. 

The seller is not foolishly optimistic, and does disclose that the 190 sat abandoned for years in a barn. It is completely rotten and missing body panels, and appears to have been crudely repainted at some point, though its original gray paint still peeks through. No word on the location of the hood and forget about the soft top roof; however, the good news there is the factory hardtop is included. As you can see, trim is practically nonexistent.

The interior looks better than expected, but that isn’t saying much. The original steering wheel and gauges may prove useful for a restorer, along with the seats. The daylight poking through at the upper-right corner of the photo is just the tip of the iceberg as it relates to how much rot-through is present, so it seems unlikely that this 190SL is a restoration candidate. And given prices have stabilized, I’m not sure the VIN tag alone is worth that much anymore.

I’m not sure what would compel you to restore this car, unless you had a 190SL with a rotten or accident-damaged front end and could swap out the bad sheetmetal for the good with this car. At that point, you may as well just buy a complete example, but the prices for those survivor-grade 190SL is still high even if not as strong as they were a few years ago. I’d say to pour one out for this particular car and hope that its good parts live on in a road-going example.


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  1. sir mike

    Maybe…just maybe…there might be a few use able parts.Hardtop may be the best part here.,,,what a waste

  2. Scott L

    What a shame but parts are hard to come by so a good parts car somewhat.

  3. Joe Nose

    This thing wasn’t lost for years; the owner always knew it was on the far end of the anchor chain.

  4. ben dobreuenaski

    Junk is junk. Strip it and off to the crusher.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Forget the crusher. A well-placed size 9 boot will finish it off.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Forget wasting money on the crusher. A well placed size 9 boot will do the job!

    • Peter

      Sacriledge !!!!!!

  5. the chucker

    A little naval jelly, and you’re good to go. :-)

    Like 1
  6. Karguy James

    There is no way that car was INSIDE the barn. More like behind it. That seller usually sells similarly rotten Porsche’s.

    • Peter

      Looks more enticing on the interior side.
      Seems as though it surrounded the barn however . I have not seen such bad rust espc at the rear. You can probably buy repro rear clips now for these.
      Put in a bid…

  7. Madmatt

    No amount of “rust converter”will help that poor car.
    It has a usable/repairable?top,and some mechanicals,
    but not much else going for it,Iam sure some “Benz”
    people on here could tell us what is really in demand
    for parts on one of these,could be anything!
    Maybe the clock?Ad should advise buyers to bring safety goggles,
    Buyer will have to “net” this car if towing on a flatbed,
    as the rust and parts blow off at 40mph! LOL
    Such a shame,really cool car though!

    • L.M.K. Member

      The clock is gone…. 😎

  8. ulm210

    “This car was was abandoned for many years and just discovered in a barn, completely rusted out a few weeks ago.”

    Timing is everything… had they gotten there earlier the car would be in better shape.

    The value is in the wheel dollies.

  9. Billy

    I think it is lovely, just needs the right home…like a pound puppy. Needs someone to love it.

    • Dan

      I think it has already been pounded.

      Like 1
  10. nessy

    You guys are knocking it but if this was a 300SL and not a 190SL, the bidding would be insane by now.

  11. Mike

    Bring it to a Mercedes show and put it in the preservation class. Absolutely 100% will get more eyeballs on it than every big $$$ restored car there. People just love a trainwreck.

    • Peter

      True true.. the old ‘barnfind’ ethos does work..

  12. Alex B

    Rust In Peace

  13. Gene Parmesan

    This thing is hammered. Looks like it may have been on fire before being put in that barn. Sad sight indeed.

  14. Maestro1 Member

    Some owner had no class and no respect. This baby is history. Take what you need and call the wrecker.

  15. Clay Bryant

    Early swamp buggy……….

  16. Ryan

    Perfect candidate for a line of tuna cans

  17. Joe Howell

    That will all buff out.

  18. Jack Quantrill

    A quick burial would be appropriate, and some thoughtful words! An utterly hopeless case.

  19. jcs

    To call it a parts car suggests that there are usable parts. Now there’s the problem.

  20. alan

    All you need are the original ID plates to build a new 190SL from scratch.

  21. Rex Kahrs Member

    Should have gone for the Ziebart.

  22. Peter

    Looks like it was blue color if you look at the cracked paint off the door pillar jamb. It is certainly a challenge…

  23. Peter

    Could get other merc projects underway as parts?

  24. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    This car will soon be replacing this one as the feature car at BHCC:


  25. lawyer George

    This has a $6413.00 bid! I looked at the car which PRA4SNW found, and with each picture I laughed harder. Seems to me they should just add some more fuel and compete the cremation. Everything is destroyed–I can’t imagine anyone starting on t his as the parts alone would exceed what one that’s streetable by thousands. Just the dash alone would probably exceed $12000. Just so I could say “are you kidding me?” one more time I hope someone does restore PRA4SNW’s offering so I would know what it actually cost to raise that one from the ashes.

  26. Peter

    OMG … my grandfather had one of those. 65 230SL I think RHD.

  27. chad

    this’n the linked Pagoda look like my bronk (C attached) 30 yrs ago…
    never for the resale value (It’s been an income generator these 4 decades) but I took 3 to make the one U C here.
    Now? Look at the prices these things bring!
    This’d B nother “project of luv” but would it bring the sale price these “1st of the Sports UVs” bring? Doesn’t matter if it was the owner/builder’s joy…

  28. gaspumpchas

    Sold for 8 large—good lord—good luck to the new owner- take whats leff of the body , put on another frame?? Not for the faint of heart anyway u look at it-.-.. here’s a pic for inspiration…

    • Peter

      How much for the ole Indian?

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