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Lot 095: Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster

Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (24 June 2009)

Launched in 1955, the Mercedes-Benz 190SL was a beautifully refined cruiser aimed at the mere mortals who could not afford it's hyper-expensive race-bred sibling, the mighty 300SL, which it closely resembled. Sharing the same wheelbase as the 300, it also had similar double wishbone suspension at the front and swing axles at the rear. However, the 190 did not use the 300's purpose-built tubular spaceframe platform, but was instead built on the shortened monocoque platform of the 180 saloon, with aluminium doors, bonnet and boot-lid to save weight.

Power came from an all-new 1.9-litre overhead-cam straight-four producing around 110bhp that combined 100+mph performance with 25-30mpg economy. With a four-speed manual synchromesh gearbox, servo-assisted hydraulic drum brakes and excellent handling, the car was in a league of it's own when it came to refinement and build quality. Even today, a well-sorted example is one of those rare classics that you could hop into and drive to the heel of Italy with no fear of getting stranded on the way. In total around 25,800 examples were made before production came to an end in 1963, the vast majority in left-hand drive.

First registered in May 1962, this original UK market right-hand drive car is really something very special indeed. Apparently bought new by a lady in Yorkshire, it was very soon thereafter acquired by a John Mantell of Farnham who was to keep it right up until 2007. Although there is very little history with the car, we have established in conversation with the Mantell family that the car was very sparingly used until the early 1980s when a serious illness caused it to be taken off the road. At this point it had only covered around 12,000 miles and it was to remain cocooned in storage for the next 25 years or so.

Acquired by its third owner in 2007, it was then recommissioned for the road and repainted in its original Ivory White as the existing paintwork had gone somewhat flat. It is otherwise said to be wholly original and unrestored and has never been welded or dismantled in any significant way. The 12,400 miles on the clock is believed to be absolutely genuine and is certainly borne out by the outstanding condition of the interior which shows virtually no signs of wear. Having driven the car we can also confirm that it performs extraordinarily well, with wonderfully precise controls, a crisp engine and the kind of structural rigidity that you simply do not get on restored or high-mileage cars. Due to have a fresh MOT before the sale, it also comes with a 2008 MOT showing that it has covered some 400 miles since recommissioning.

Supplied with both hard and soft tops  both in superb condition  this is truly a timewarp machine that is sure to be of interest to the serious Mercedes collector who values originality and low mileage above any restoration.

Lot Details
Auction Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster
TypeCar
Lot Number095
Estimate£32000-£37000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1962
Condition rating0
Registration number23 CWF
Mileage-
Chassis number12104220024393
Engine number12192820002273
Engine capacity (cc)1897
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors