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Ran When Parked: 1958 Mercedes190SL


We would all love to have a 300SL, but the price tag puts them out of reach for all but the most well-heeled. The 190SL can make a good alternative though for the rest of us. It will never beat its big brother in a race, but they share some looks and have a similar build quality. Unfortunately, they are also expensive to restore, so buy the best you can afford. This 1958 example could be a good candidate. It was parked for over 15 years, but the seller has since gotten it running. Find it here on Hemmings with an asking price of $39,500.


The white over blue color combo looks great. The seller does not mention how much of the car is original and if it has ever been restored. These are selling points that shouldn’t be ignored when dealing in classic cars. Things are ratty inside, but nothing that a little sorting and cleaning couldn’t put right.


This Mercedes was supposedly running and driving when put away over 15 years ago. That claim is not hard to believe since the seller has the engine running again. There is a video included in the listing and it sounds good. Some higher end cars like these Mercedes were parked because maintenance costs were high. It made more sense for some to just store them away than have them serviced.


The included hardtop is a nice bonus, but we would still want the price to drop a bit. There looks to be quite a bit of rust underneath. That isn’t really a surprise considering that this car is located in New York, but it is still going to cost quite a bit to set right. 190SL values appear to have skyrocketed recently though, so maybe their asking isn’t too far off?


  1. mike

    Having just bought a 79 6.9l mercedes that was parked literally in a barn when the dry sump reservoir developed a pin hole, i can attest to people parking/storing a car before selling it. When I asked the owner who bought the car new why it wasn’t fixed at the time–simply told too much money. Not that sitting in a barn for 22 years helped the cause. Now i got an awesome parts car!

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    • scot

      ~ Btw, good score.

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  2. Dolphin Member

    These have seen a BIG increase in auction sales prices lately, drawn up by the prices their big brother the 300SL is bringing… Provided they are #1 cars. This one looks like a #4, so isn’t in that league, which is why the ask is only about $40K instead of the $200K the top cars are now bringing. A little while ago a $40K ask would be laughable here, but not now… At least if you are trying to market it to Europe, which might be what the seller has in mind.

    These are classy, but the performance never matched the looks, or came anywhere close to the performance cars of the day. A good running MGA would easily outperform it, and a TR3 would disappear off into the distance. But these were not really about performance as much as they were about classy personal transportation.

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    • paul

      I have never driven one, I always wanted to drive one, an A or a 3 can out run them? Really?

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      • Dolphin Member

        The 190SL had slightly over 100HP but weighed about 2,600 pounds, which was significantly more than either the MGA or TR3 (under 2,000 pounds). A TR3 could easily outrun a 190SL on both acceleration and top speed. A 1500cc MGA was about equal to a 190SL on acceleration and top speed but could outhandle the SL on a twisty road because it was lighter and had a tighter chassis and steering, and a 1600 MGA could do a bit better. As for the 1622 cc or Twin Cam MGAs, it was no contest.

        The SL was very solidly built but the engine was not very well tuned for top end power, so did not do well against lighter cars with peppy engines. The 190SL was nothing like a smaller version of the 300SL in terms of performance. They were very different vehicles on the road. However, both were certainly very classy cars.

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      • paul

        Thanks Dolphin, I would have thought this car about 500 to 1000 lbs heavier, my Duetto was 2400 lbs & had 110HP topped out at 165 klm, 40 to about 90 was quite impressive do to the twin Webbers cross flow head.

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  3. scot

    ~ I have always preferred the restraint of a 190SL over a 300SL… And 230, 250, 280SL look better than either. That’s just how i feel.

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  4. Horse Radish

    This used to be the trendy ‘chic’ car for the gucci loafer crowd and it still is, just not for the poor.
    Now every dealer and Mercedes connaisseur wants to get in as the prices steadily climb… I like the unusual looks and the ‘understated’ drive train, but I can do without the price tag… $40k for a fixer? I never thought I’d see the day…

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    • Horse Radish

      Watch out for the MickeyMouse rigged electric fuel pump that is about to douse the whole engine bay and set the whole car ablaze.
      Needless to say the carbs need overhaul maybe the whole engine, Holes in the floor, A-pillars and front frame are rusted… It still looks good from the top down… (? ).
      You won’t know how bad it is still you get really into it.
      More likely bad than good, given where it’s been for at least the last 15 years.
      Wasn’t there a lot of (salt water-)flooding recently with the hurricane through NY state?

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  5. Bryan Cohn

    I could have bought one of these back in 1988 for $800. It was a bondo queen then, not a straight panel on it, rattle can red and more rust bubbles than a kids bubble bath. It did run and drive. At the time I thought I was as genius for not taking a 2nd look and after seeing this “fine” unit I’m convinced I was right! This one has some serious tin worm problems and those guys are BRAVe to have put it on that lift…

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    • paul

      That unibody is scary.

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  6. MIkhelin

    This 190SL “Roaster” is a very rare Mercedes Benz, not many around to find. $40K is a very good money to buy right now. At the RM auction, I will bet it up to $200K.

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