Clean Garage Find: 1960 Mercedes 190SL

1960-mercedes-190sl

We all have certain cars that we dream of finding parked in a barn, garage or shed. Some we want to find because they are vehicles we have always dreamed of having, others because they are incredibly valuable and then there are those finds we’d like to come across simply because of how beautiful and special they are. For me, the Mercedes 300SL is one of those cars I dream of finding not to own or to make money on, but simply because of how beautiful they are. Chances of finding one are slim, but finding it’s 190SL sibling is a bit more likely. Heck, here is one that was recently found in a garage! It might lack the gullwing doors, but it’s still a beautiful machine. Find it here on eBay in Dade City, Florida with a current bid of $40k and no reserve.

1960-mercedes-190sl-interior

I know there are a lot of mixed feelings about these cars, but there’s no denying that the design is iconic and beautiful. The grille, fenders and overall shape just work together, add some dust and debris and you have an incredible sight! I just wish the seller would have posted some photos of this one still in the garage. Clearly the previous owner took amazing care of it though.

1960-mercedes-190sl-engine

Besides lacking the trick doors and roof, the 190SL also lacks the 300’s fantastic engine. Instead it received a 1.9 liter 4 cylinder with about 120 horsepower. This 190SL is actually more closely related to a sedan than it is to the 300, so it’s no surprise that it ended up with the 4 cylinder. Which brings us to most people’s complaints about these cars, they might look like their bigger brother, but they certainly don’t perform like one.

1960-mercedes-190sl-garage-find

Besides their general appearance, the 190Sl is real nothing like the 300Sl, but that doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t be excited to find one! Just seeing that front end sticking out a barn would be enough to get my blood pumping. I know they are heavy and under-powered, but I would enjoy having this Benz. But how about you?

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Comments

  1. Shawn

    Mercedes as found

    Here is the car when I found it parked .

    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Thanks for sharing the as found photo of it with us! It really is a beautiful find! Personally, I’d love to hear the story of how you found it and some of its history, if you happen to know it! Thanks Again!

  2. Shawn

    Ok just did.

  3. Jim L

    I agree, I would love to own a 190SL, just not this190SL. Florida cars always scare me because more than likely, they have been driven on the beach. If you carefully peruse the Photobucket shots you will see that, despite the seller saying he never tried to start it, the battery hold downs are not OEM and are brand new. In the Chassis photos you can see that the car has been pressure washed on the full stream setting and it knocked off some of the salt encrustation. The washers on the seat belt mountings are brand new. ISomone recently replaced the fuel line under the car. The one picture of the rear quarter panel clearly shows Bondo.
    There are just too many inconsistancies in this car to give me a warm fuzzy feeling about it.
    For the seller to say that “he just gave it a light cleaning” makes me think that more likely, there is something major wrong with it (engine siezed?, thrown rod?) and he spent quite a bit of time on it to make it look more presentable in order to get maximum return on it.
    Just my $.02

    • Shawn

      I never changed any thing on this car or steamed cleaned it! This is the way I found it mechanically and from the prior owner told me he hasn’t touched it in over ten years. Now when it came to cleaning the car I only vacuumed, sprayed cleaner on material, and lightly wiped down the chrome. The outside of the car I wiped down the chrome, sprayed cleaner on the top, and sprayed cleaner on the tires. Anybody is allowed to come inspect my car, and see for yourself. You can see from the last picture above I found it sitting in very nice shape and the last time it was tagged was 1999

  4. Dave Wright

    I am a huge Mercedes guy…….have 5 right noe and have owned hundreds. This is one I have never been able to warm up to. They are simply boring. The style is nice and build quality is good but after you have driven it a couple of times…..you are over it. Today’s prices are just nuts on them. All they are is a Mercedes 190 (gas taxicab) with a body trying to invoke a 300SL……that is worth the astronomical price they are selling for today. These little guys are a struggle to keep un corroded as well. Parts are not difficult with the huge number interchangeable with the 190 sedans that have low value but other than looking at them……they are boring. When I returned from living in Germany in 1979 I brought a 1959 220S coupe, a 1965 300SE sedan, a 1970 300SEL 6.3, a Maserati Mistral and a 1978 Chrysler Lebanon. All were great cars…I passed over many 190SL’s after working on and learning about them.

  5. Adam Wright

    My first barn find ever was a 190SL, bought it off an old friend of my mom’s, got it running and drove it for a couple of years. Like some women I have dated it was beautiful but no fun. It drove like a pregnant Yak, very slow and unresponsive. They are actually very large cars, it was as big as my brother’s Passat wagon. Great to look at, no fun to drive. I sold it and bought a Speedster and have never looked back.

  6. Adam Wright

    Another shot, my grandfather loved it!

  7. Shawn

    Now the story on how I found this car began when I went to go pick up a 1960’s BMW R26 I bought off eBay. When I got to his property this car was parked next to it and that’s when I took the picture above. The car was originally owned by his father and he used to drive him in it when he was a child. Unfortunately his father fell ill and he parked it since he said it wasn’t the same without his father driving it. After I bought the Bmw I got a call a few months later to see if I wanted to buy it and I did.

    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      Nice Shawn! So what happened with the BMW?

  8. Eddie

    Very Nice Car !!!

  9. George

    I found my father’s 190 in 1978. After 5 years work, it was ready to serve as a Sunday driver. It now sits in my shop and will someday be my son’s. I disagree with those that claim it is just a 190 sedan with a different body. The 190SL was designed by Max Hoffman to serve as a less expensive import than the 300SL. Remember that a 300SL cost around 10K in 1956 and the average salary was less than $2500. They sit on a 180 chassis and for the era, handle well. They were never designed to be anything more than a touring car. They ride well, but yes, they are down on power compared to Healeys or Italian sports cars of the era. They are fun and draw lots of attention when driven. Like any MB, parts are available but expensive to the average do it yourself owner. Enjoy the cars you have and dream about the cars you want.

    • Dave Wright

      So……how is it not a rebodied 190? The drivetrain, frame, suspension even the wheelbase is the same as I remember…..even the factory museum admits that. My 220S sedan is much more powerful and sophisticated. Max only designed the body.

  10. Jack

    It must be 190 SL day. There is a 1957 also for sale on eBay that was featured today over on “German cars for sale blog” that is already bid up to $76,200 reserve not met.

  11. Bruce Best

    They are NOT QUICK, good cruisers but not a true sports car. Most of the engineering is solid as the best of the Mercedes cars but watch out for those eyebrows over the wheel wells. They are leaded in and any kind of break in that seal inner or outer will allow that metal behind to rust out completely. That the 300 SL has the exact same problem is not a help.

    There are other rust traps in that body and from what I have heard getting body part and especially trim is almost impossible. So you will get the joy of hand making sheet metal and trim. It can be done but is is time consuming, complex and very expensive.

    I love the look of the car and if there ever was a car that should have had a supercharger and better shocks this is it. Perfect to take the wife out to dinner but as others have stated boring.

  12. Hoos Member

    I have always wanted one of these cars, and If it was known if the engine is free, maybe Santa……..(Hey, it could happen) I do not understand why this car has rear reflectors in both locations. The earlier cars had reflectors suspended under the bumper, and later cars had them mounted just inside the tail lights. Being a ’60, it is a later car, so the lower ones are incorrect. It is a nice looking car to start with. I’ve certainly seen worse.

  13. Paul B

    Nice find for someone who wants a relaxed ’50s/’60s cruiser. Nice interior and dashboard. As others have said, it’s no sports car, so just be aware of that. I used to see these things around, with their blatty econo-Mercedes exhaust note and somewhat ponderous-looking bodies and awkward handling through the curves, and wonder what was the point. I guess it was marketing. This is a piece of history and at a pretty high price, but it’ll be right for someone who wants to cruise with the top down on a spring evening and think of times gone by. GLWTS!

  14. Dolphin Member

    It’s often acknowledged that people usually buy these because the like the look and history of the 300SL but they don’t need the speed. What they want is the look, the style, and the M-B name. It pretty much has to be that way—-unless a buyer never test drives the car before buying.

    I knew a young woman who used to have a Sprite but traded it in on a used 190 SL. She didn’t want or need speed, but loved the look and style of the 190 SL.

    Plus, she looked real good in it…..which I suspect she knew and didn’t mind at all.

  15. Daniel

    300 SL are price rocketing since long time ago and 190 SL are just following them, at respectable distance.
    When you want a 300SL for the style and can’t afford one, you can buy a 190SL : you have the bottle but not the drunkness.
    I love the body style, but you don’t have to expect driving a sport car.
    For quite the same budget, you can have an E-Type, with much more fun driving experience and it’s a real piece of art.
    That’s what I have done and I never regretted it, after having first looked for a 190SL.
    That said, this 190 SL seems to be very solid with original floors, which is not common.

  16. rich voss

    Curious as to why no one has pointed out that the ebay ad calls this a six cylinder car. Is that TOO obvious ? Agree with most of the “car guy” comments here about this model. Saw them while I was stationed in Germany in the 60’s and was NOT impressed after the hood was opened. Doubt that four banger could get them up to the speedometers’ “140” mph on the Autobahn. I know that the new SLs when I was there couldn’t catch me at 130+ in my Fairlane GTA. Had a well dressed gentleman chase me from appx Frankfurt to past Wurzburg and followed me into the gas station & “politely” insisted I open my hood and tell him “how many liters” that 390 ci V8 was. Hm.

  17. Daniel

    Sold for $58,375
    Seems to be a good deal for the buyer

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