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MERCEDES-BENZ 190 SL 1955 - 1963

1960_Mercedes_190_SL_f3q.JPG (36228 bytes)In my opinion the 190 SL looks its best in ivory or black. This ivory colored car makes a wonderful flowing and creamy impression and the color softens the distinctive lines of the car into a balanced composition. Red seems to be a more popular paint color, but I think it makes the design look less elegant.
From 1959 to 1960 Mercedes continued to change and improve the car on details. Most notable changes were a new range of color schemes for both in- and exterior, new front-screen washers and a new, wider boot handle in August 1960 (not correct on this car, see the picture below).

1960_Mercedes_190_SL_r3q.JPG (48640 bytes)The rear of this particular car still shows the old-style boot handle and it's also lacking the button-on cover over the folded roof. Starting from 1959 the lock in the lid of the glove compartment was without dust-cover, something that can be used for dating a 190 SL. Some other changes in 1960 were the replacement of the 15 Watt light bulbs in the turn-signal lights by 18 Watt bulbs, new safety door locks by Bomoro, a modified Bosch VJR BR 24T distributor and new galvanized head-light casings for improved rust prevention.

1961_Mercedes_190_SL_f3q.JPG (66170 bytes)This 1961 car shows the correct front turn-signal lights with clear lenses. It also has a remarkable streamlined drivers-side mirror on the fender which you don't see very often, possibly an optional extra. Cars which were sold in Germany were fitted with orange lenses on the front turn-signal lights starting from June 1961 because of local legislation. For some reason these orange lenses are a popular choice with restorers of the 190 SL, appropriate or not.
In 1961 the engine of the 190 SL was updated to put right some minor problems; the bodywork saw no changes. The steel 13 inch wheels on the 190 SL were the same as those of the 180 sedan and show a wide variety of hub cap styles, which are useless for dating the car. All hub caps have the centered Mercedes-Benz star logo in common though.

1961_Mercedes_190_SL_interior.JPG (67379 bytes)Visible changes in 1961 were in the interior: the adjustment handles of the heating system were now made of the soft Hostalen-plastic for safety reasons and in October 1961 seat belts were introduced, although for some reason you rarely see them in a 190 SL nowadays. The mirror in the passengers-side sun screen was introduced in September 1959, only on the roadster models. The hardtop models did not have a passengers-side sun screen as standard. When the car is in original condition this little mirror is a great identifier.
The rear view mirror was fitted on the center of the dashboard, as you can see on this picture. A thin chromed rod was attached to the bracket of the rear view mirror and the top of the windshield frame. This spoke limited the amount of spring to the windshield frame when the center latch of the convertible top was secured.
To the right of the rear view mirror there was an ashtray with a lid and underneath the mirror was a small reading lamp.

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