1960 Mercedes-Benz 190SL.

December 1, 2011

12 comments

12 comments:

joey said...

Nazi edition

Anonymous said...

That's a little uncalled for, Joey. In 1960 the Nazis were long gone and West Germany was well underway as a free capitalist republic. Mercedes-Benz's quality products were available to anyone in the world, as long as you could pay for for it.

Now onto lighter matters. I've never understood this '55-'63 SL convertible. Where does it fall in the Benz legacy? It's lost in the shadow of the beloved and valuable 300SL gullwing, yet it shares the same front end styling (though not the same tube-frame and certainly not the same engine). I've seen some on ebay, and yet in the same price range as the cult "Pagoda" SL from '63-'71, of which there were twice as many produced.

Any way you consider it. It's still a lovely classic car! Thank you for capturing it.

Tony Piff said...

the '55-'63 300SL gullwing coupe is pretty much a million-dollar car, and the convertible version is just as expensive.

the 190 is the underpowered version of the same thing, and you should be able to get one at a five-digit price point. so you are correct, it's in the shadows, right where it belongs. the next-gen pagodas are fantastic cars, and if i had to pick an open car for the open road, they'd be toward the top of the list. the 190 would not be allowed anywhere near the list.

still, great find, great shots!

Anonymous said...

I don't get this:
" if i had to pick an open car for the open road, they'd be toward the top of the list. the 190 would not be allowed anywhere near the list."

I well understand the attraction of the next generation pagoda - those are gorgeous cars - but I don't understand why you are so negative on the 190SL. Every choice like this (in my case, an entirely hypothetical choice, since I'd never buy a car like this) is some kind of complex compromise between cost, availability, practicality, condition, risk, opportunity and value. Given that, what's not to like about these cars? This is a beautiful car. What's not to like about it? Why not include it "on the list"?

BTW, this is intended as a sincere question, not a veiled argument...

Tony Piff said...

i appreciate the discourse, anon, and i hope you'll consider signing your name in the future. i try to avoid sharing my negative opinions, especially on the blog, but since you asked:

i guess i regard the 190 as a poser car for people who want to look like they're driving a low-production period supercar. the pagoda sl may have less style or less performance, but it's a more "honest" car by comparison, and that honesty is what i value most—in any car.

Anonymous said...

Tony: You obviously don't get it. ;)
But don't worry, many others don't either.

You'd bash Karmann Ghias with same ideology and you'd totally undervalue the car: This (190SL) is made for an older gentleman who has enough money or self confidence than he can drive an expensive and slow car.

This wasn't a cheap car by any means when it was new like you seem to assume. Not so expensive as 300SL Gullwing but 300SL was essentially a race car built with very limited amounts and priced as such. Like comparing Subaru WRX version to more ordinary models and claiming that _all the others_ are posers. Not a very solid claim, I'd say.

From my point of view that's very narrow view of why people buy cars: Most people buy Subarus because they like it. As simple as that. And I'd buy that 190SL any day.

An example about Karmanns: You could buy 1,5 Beetles with a price of a Karmann Ghia. Or a Porsche 356 (Somewhere in early 60s).

Yet some people chose Karmann over Porsche. Could you do that?

Every pretty car isn't a sports car nor was this (190SL) ever marketed as such, at least in Germany. Not even boulevard sport.

Just pretty convertible to drive around.
And that function it fills perfectly.

A Karmann Ghia convertible from 50s would to as well.

Tony Piff said...

well, i take no issue with people buying cars because they like them, but i have a sneaking suspicion that we're all a little more complex than that.

but i also know i overthink things and am guilty of idealizing the world, especially when it comes to things outside my life, like 190SLs.

i know there are "halo" cars that have nothing to do with the rest of a brand's lineup, and if you're going to claim that's what's going on here, i can't argue.

but when i see a porsche 912, i don't think "wow, cool, a porsche, i want it." i think "that sure looks like a 911."

but an old man buying an expensive, stylish, slow car is a familiar notion that i won't disagree with or disapprove of.

Ben Piff said...

Man, I can't believe I waited more than a year and a half to post this car. You guys are making me like it more and more! I just wished I understood my camera settings better at the time.

Ben Piff said...

Man, I can't believe I waited more than a year and a half to post this car. You guys are making me like it more and more! I just wished I understood my camera settings better at the time.

Chuck said...

One must appreciate this car (and this particular example) from a purely aesthetic perspective. It is a beautiful looking car and a beautiful example. My standards are a little different from James Bond's!

Dave said...

The '55 gull-wing was a one year only car patterned after the '52 inline 8 cylinder race car. The gull-wing was fraught with problems- leaks galore and a real pain to get in and out. MB came out with the standard-door 300 SL in '57 and continued until 1963 when the 'pagoda' 300 SL was introduced. The gull-wing is untouchable and the '57-'63 300 SL coupes are obscene. The 190 SL was the economy MB sports car for 7 years providing a 4 cylinder front-engine rear wheel drive car to compete with the Triumphs, MG's, Porsches and the Alfas. Not a purebred race car but definitely a car you can have fun in. Nowadays you can get into one of these cars for a tiny fraction of the cost of a 300 SL. It is for this sole reason that it is a totally cool car. Check out George Segal driving one in 'The Quiller Memorandum' (1966). MB really dropped the ball when they didn't introduce a mini-'pagoda'. As far as the Nazi thing is concerned- well joey, you've been watching the History Channel a little too much. Sure Adolf loved his Benzes, but check out the parking lot of your local Temple on Saturday and you may be surprised to see the number of MB's and BMW's.

Rich said...

Having done a ground up restoration of a 55 190 SL I can comment that the twin Solexes on the 1.9 would leave almost any MG in the dirt. They didn't corner as well due to the swing axle setup in the rear, but the engineering was top rate and would equal a Jaguar in it's hardware and execution of the build. My 190 would run 135 or better ALL day long and the oil pressure was right there. Not bad for a 55 model car of it's type, size and displacement. Rich