NEC Classic Motor Show Sale 2017

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1962 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

Lot No.: 615

Registration: XKW 323
Chassis Number: 12104220024440
Engine Number: 12192820002335
Number of cylinders: 4
CC: 1897
Year of Manufacture: 1962
RHD/LHD: Right Hand Drive
Sold for (£): 118,125

Built alongside and sharing many of the iconic styling features of the legendary 300SL Roadster, the Mercedes 190 SL combined superb build quality with understated styling and a not insignificant, 104 BHP from the 1.9-litre four stroke engine. An instant hit, the three-pronged star sparkled among the gloom of post-war austerity. The 1955 launch of the 190 SL cemented Mercedes Benz's reputation as the car manufacturer for those who wanted elegance, build quality and a good turn of speed. Its hugely successful production ran to 25,881 cars from 1955 until 1963, mainly in left-hand drive form, with most going to the North American market. Understandably few were made in right-hand drive and according to records, the total number of cars consigned for the British right-hand drive market stood at 562, with only 53 of these arriving here in 1962.

XKW 323 has the distinction of being one those ultra-rare right-hand drive cars, no doubt taken out for a top-down spin upon first registration on the 18th. May 1962. This beautiful little roadster is finished in, what we believe, is the factory correct 050 paint code, and the red interior was retrimmed in red leather, again a period correct colour combination, some ten years ago. With just four former keepers, two of whom were garages, XKW 323 was exported to Dublin in 2004 to be enjoyed by its previous owner.

Remarkably, for a car that is over fifty-five years old, the history file contains the original UK buff log book, data card, original 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL brochure, and MOTs dating back to 1981, with two sets of keys working on each lock. Subject to a bare metal respray and restoration before purchase by the previous owner and kept in a heated, ventilated garage. These included re-chroming of the bumpers, a deep clean of the leather, and a full respray in white. This respray wasn't necessary because of any surface rust issues, but merely vapour bubbles caused by a heavy old blanket that resisted the urge to dry out fully in the garage. Bought by our vendor from us in 2015, the car was to be subject to substantial works to the brakes, suspension and the correction of some under-body corrosion.

The hard top, the bane of any 190 SL owner, had seen better days by 2015 and it too was fully restored. Although this consignor cannot envisage anyone driving this car in weather that would necessitate a fitted hard top, our vendor has enjoyed many jaunts with the hard-top attached. The car is supplied with a mohair hood in black, as seen in the photographs. The invoices and receipts in the file amount to some £20,000, with the major works conducted by restorers Cotswold Classics Cars Ltd and Thornley Kellham of Cirencester. The car was part of our vendor's eclectic private collection some of which he purchased from Silverstone Auctions over the past few years. A new house build has necessitated a trimming of the collection to ensure enough garage space.

Still on its original Solex carbs, the Mercedes is presented to auction with the largely original components behaving as they should. Offered to auction with a fresh MOT, the odometer shows some 93,500 miles, remarkable for such a good driver's car of this vintage. It must be noted that the Mercedes 190 SL and its successor the Pagoda have enjoyed enormous growth in values in recent times, and this rare UK supplied right-hand drive example must be of serious consideration.