This pristine 1957 Mercedes Benz 190SL was recently restored by Bruce Kelly’s Lake Country Classics in Minneapolis Minnesota, it was just listed on eBay this evening. This particular 190SL is black with a white leather interior. It has been in the same family for more than 35 years. The owner of the car started a complete restoration more than 25 years ago, and as with so many projects, it was started and stopped and started and stopped. Eventually the owner of the car passed away. At that point it was given to his grandson who commissioned a complete restoration by Lake Country Classics in Minneapolis.
Over the past 18 months the car was restored, inside and out. Today, the car runs and drives beautifully. It’s smooth and effortless, I’m always amazed how Mercedes-Benz cars from the late fifties don’t feel at all like other cars from the same period. This was a much easier car to drive, in my opinion, than Jaguars of the same period, and it’s certainly a nicer car to drive than just about anything American made in the late 1950s.
The collector car world has noticed the same things I have when it comes to classic Mercedes-Benz vehicles. They start when you want them to start, they’re reliable, comfortable and generally good, easy cars to live with. As we see prices of the A list Mercedes classics climb into seven figure territory, as we’ve seen regular steel body 300SL Gullwings do recently with 300SL roadsters not too far behind, now well into the $600 – $700k+ territory we’ve seen 190SLs increase in value as well. A rising tide does lift all boats in the vintage Mercedes roadster market.
While 5 or 10 years ago a 190SL like this one might have been a $30,000 – $50,000 car on a good day, it is likely to bring almost double that in 2011. There is a finite number of good cars left, restorations are staggeringly expensive (and getting more expensive everyday thanks to parts price increases and fewer and fewer marque specialists who can actually do the work. The restorations also take a lot of time, time you could be out enjoying a car. If you can find someone else’s completed project, and as long as it’s been restored correctly and to a high standard by a marque expert, like this car, you might just be able to buy it for about the price of the restoration and save yourself the time and headache.