Aspen Snowmass
Automobiles
LOT112
1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster PHOTOGRAPHY BY Bill Pack
Estimate: $145,000 - $165,000 USD
  • 1957
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • 190 SL Roadster
  • 121042-7500616
  • 121921-7500616
  • 121042-7500252
  • Light Blue with Blue Canvas Top
  • Blue Leather
  • Produced on April 10, 1957
  • Matching Numbers
  • Excellent Provenance since New
  • Restored between 1986 and 1992
  • Excellent Mechanical Condition
  • Excellent Cosmetics
  • Owners and Parts Manuals Included
  • Receipts for $35,000 in Service and Restoration Work since 2004

Top Down Motoring from Mercedes-Benz

This Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster is a stunningly beautiful automobile in light blue with a blue leather interior. It represents a rare opportunity to acquire a nicely restored example of this highly desirable model. This automobile is in excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition and will be a delightful automobile to enter in a concours or a rally over winding country roads. In comparison to its peers, a 190 SL is a more sophisticated sports car with wonderful driving characteristics as well as excellent build quality and comfort. From an historic perspective, the 190 SL also marks the beginning of that long line of highly successful Mercedes-Benz SL roadsters that continues to this day.

This Car’s Past

Factory production records confirm that this 190SL Roadster was completed on April 10, 1957 and delivered to its first owner on October 4, 1957 by the San Francisco Mercedes-Benz Distributor. The first owner was the Kaufmann family of the Pittsburg department stores of the same name. Famously they are the family that also commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 to produce the most architecturally important single family residence in America, Falling Water, in Mill Run, Pennsylvania. The second owner of this 190SL has been identified as a Mr. Nadomley. He sold this automobile in 1965 to James Clarke, a Ford Dealer in Pennsylvania, who drove the car until 1968 and then put it into storage. Joseph Druzak purchased this car in 1975 but appears to have used it only sparingly. In 1979 this 190SL was purchased by C. Dean Strosnider of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and he owned this automobile for the next twenty-seven years. Between 1986 and 1992, this 190SL was the subject to a complete mechanical and cosmetic restoration. A Greenwich, Connecticut resident purchased this 190SL in 2004. Then in 2013 it was sold to a vintage automobile enthusiast from Westchester County, New York. In 2015 this 190SL was sold to its current owner, also a vintage automobile enthusiast from Westchester County. This Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, whose restoration was completed in 1992, has received excellent care from its recent owners as evidenced in part by receipts totaling $35,000 since 2007. The result is that this 190SL Roadster is an exceptional automobile that is very solid mechanically as well as a stunning beauty.

Notable Events

Historic Context of this Model

Mercedes-Benz premiered the prototype of its stunningly beautiful 190 SL Roadster alongside the 300 SL Gull Wing Coupe at the New York International Auto Show in February 1954. The 190 SL marked the beginning of the long line of highly successful Mercedes-Benz SL Roadsters that continues to this day. The 190 SL features a unit-body of steel construction with a subframe that supports the engine and front suspension. To reduce weight, aluminum is used extensively throughout including the doors, hood, trunk, dash and other parts. The engine is a 4-cylinder unit of 1897 cc displacement, and utilizes an overhead camshaft and twin sidedraft Solex carburetors. Suspension is independent all around and features A-arms and coil springs in front and the famous low-pivot swing axle with coil springs at the rear. Control of the 4-speed transmission is floor mounted, and braking is via Alfin drums with a vacuum booster. The 190 SL is an automobile of enormous beauty whether in roadster or coupe form and a delight to own and drive. In comparison to its peers, it is a more sophisticated sports car with better build quality and comfort and a bit more weight. Top speed of the 190SL was stated by Mercedes-Benz to be 110 mile per hour. If that performance was a bit less than what a buyer wanted, then the factory had the perfect solution for said buyer – the 300 SL Coupe or Roadster. Indeed the 190 SL was very well received by the sporting public, and by the time production ended in 1963, a total of 25,881 units had been produced.

Restoration / Preservation History

This Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster is a beautiful automobile that is in excellent condition both cosmetically and mechanically. Dean Strosnider, who owned this automobile for twenty-seven years, carefully restored it between 1986 and 1992. This 190SL has seen limited use since then. The engine has been completely rebuilt as have the transmission, brakes and suspension. These mechanical components are all original and numbers matching. This automobile has also received a repaint in its original light blue DB344 which is in excellent condition. The original leather interior been replaced and is now also in excellent condition. Color of the interior has been changed from the original red to a beautiful shade of blue which compliments the exterior very nicely. The top has also been completely restored with new canvas in navy blue. All rubber seals have been replaced as has the windshield. All bright work has either been replaced with new parts from Mercedes-Benz or has been triple chrome plated.

The original speedometer has been replaced by a new one which currently shows 10,088 miles. However the original speedometer comes with the car and has an odometer reading of 69,280 miles. Accompanying this automobile are records in the amount of $35,000 for restoration and maintenance work performed from 2007 to the present. This work was done by Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield, Connecticut and Automotive Restorations Inc. of Stratford, Connecticut.

“The 190 SL is tractable, dependable, even economical, and those who see it and own it love it.”Frank Barrett, Mercedes-Benz Buyers Guide, Motorbooks International, 1994.

Market Trend

In 1955, the price of a Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster was $5,100 compared to $6,800 for the 300 SL Gull Wing. This small comparative difference reflected the factory’s belief that the 190 SL was a substantial automobile that would prove to be very popular with their customers. Mercedes-Benz 190 SL values have increased steadily in recent years indicating that the allure of this wonderful sporting automobile endures to this day. Helping to propel these values has been the increase in values of the limited production 300 SL Gull Wing Coupes and Roadsters which, while having softened slightly in the past year, are still firmly above $1,000,000 for examples in average condition. A 190 SL Roadster in excellent condition is in the $200,000 range today.

Summary

This Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster has been nicely restored and is in excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition. The result is a solid automobile that is breathtakingly beautiful from every angle. It is sure to be a welcome entrant to important Concours d’Elegance and Rally events across the country. As a result of the extensive restoration and maintenance work involved, this delightful example of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster is now ready to serve its fortunate next owner very well indeed.John Kleen, Vintage Consultant

References

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