Owned Since ’68: 1957 Mercedes 190SL

Top-shelf 190s still do well at auctions, commanding far more than they did a decade ago, but the market has softened enough that subpar projects fail to garner much excitement. This 1957 model is a case of the former, as it’s a well-preserved and highly-original car that remains in unrestored condition with no rust. Even with a $80,000 asking price, I feel like there’s room in here for further appreciation. Find the 190SL here on craigslist in the Hudson Valley region of New York State.

With a second owner since 1968, the 190SL presents incredibly well down the sides and trunk lid. Chrome bumpers look excellent, and taillight lenses remain amazingly clear and crisp. The ivory white paint with OEM matching hubcaps is a great look, although I could see the color not being exciting enough for some buyers of vintage roadsters. The top looks complete and the back window is clear.

What an excellent color combination – white over fern green. The dash is beautiful, and a vintage Mercedes instrument cluster is as  good as it gets. Rarely are they this nice, however, with perfect paint and the factory Becker Mexico radio still in place. The seller highlights factory carpeting and rubber floor mats as still being in place, and really, it’s incredible how much like new the cabin still looks. Mileage is a tick over 51K.

The M121 SOHC motor was far less powerful than its sibling the 300SL, but that was sort of the point: a more affordable point of entry into Mercedes roadster ownership. Power was reported at 120 b.h.p., and this example likely retains most of that output given the correctness of appearances under the hood. The seller reports the correct, factory-installed Solex carbs remain in place, and that the 190SL comes with a rare aluminum hardtop. Is this one of the best unrestored cars left?


  1. LMK Member

    I like finding them undisturbed & original like this one is. Restorations out price their subjects too quickly these days and just aren’t worth it…. This is the route I would rather choose if I were in the market for one of these. Nice find !

    Like 10
  2. Lynn Israel

    My family owned two of these. They are lovely cars but the driving experience is a bit underwhelming with the four cylinder and my memory is a sedate, sedan-like steering feel. The huge steering wheel was not designed for sporty driving. With $80,000 in hand, one can buy a lot more vintage character and speed in other brands.

    Like 1
  3. Bob McK Member

    This is a beautiful car. Is it really worth 80K?

  4. William Dillon

    Fully restored can go for double. I like it original, but both are cool.https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1962-mercedes-benz-190sl-2/

  5. Brian Puskas

    I bought one for $35 in the early 1970’s and made a killing when I sold it for $210 a couple years later.

  6. Daniel G Rawinsky

    My father bought a 1957 black with red leather, 23,000 miles from a widow, in 1963. In 1967 I bought it from him for $400.00. It was a rust bucket. I drove it from New Jersey to California twice. I hated the window crank which just hit my knee in the wrong place. I had dreams of rebuilding it so I got a job at Mercedes Benz of North America, the importer, home office parts, in Teaneck N.J. I could have bought the whole front clip, brand new, for $500.00. I thought about how much work it would take and forgot about. The image I had of MB was lost while working there. I worked in the Home Office Parts. When a customer, Chauncey Parker, needed a fuel pump for 1954 170. Mercedes could not supply one. My boss told me he should buy a new car. I lost a lot of admiration for MB after that. In 1970 I bought a parts 190SL just for the hard top, doors, seats and transmission. I sold mine in 1972 for $250.00 including the hard top, doors, hood and trunk from the second car. I was so glad to be rid of that junk. I still don’t like MB, too complicated, break down too often and too expensive.

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