Unveiling the Inaugural 190SL Production with a Twist: Let Us Clarify.
Built in 1954, this Mercedes-Benz 190SL was once thought to be doomed for destruction. However, it was miraculously gifted for no cost and is now up for sale. Numerous events occurred along the way that led to this moment, but the key point is that this specific vehicle with chassis number 5500001 is currently up for bidding on coveted auction site Bring a Trailer.
According to the tale, during the years 1953 and 1954, Mercedes was conducting tests and displaying the initial prototype of their upcoming production car, the 190SL, set to be released in early 1955. However, this initial model did not accurately reflect the final product, and when the project received approval, Mercedes had to construct a 190SL blueprint to facilitate mass production on the assembly line.
This is the vehicle that is present in front of you.
The second prototype of this car was initially identified by its internal “Werks” or factory chassis number 8467121081/1. However, Mercedes made the decision to repurpose the vehicle in October 1964 after conducting a brief period of testing and evaluation. This involved upgrading the car to meet production standards. As a result, it was assigned a new chassis number (121042-5500001), a new body number (RA 121042-4500001), and a new engine number (121-921-4500001).
The vehicle was officially recorded on January 19, 1955, once all modifications were finalized. Nevertheless, although it was initially assigned the earliest production numbers, the process of converting the car into a production model took longer than expected. As a result, examples 00002 and 00003 were constructed before it.
Once 00001 was finished, it remained on the assembly line for an additional seven months. During this time, it served as a trial model to ensure that the first batch of 190SLs was properly fitted and ready for production. Eventually, towards the end of the year, the car would hit the streets as more than just a prototype.
In August of 1955, Mercedes was requested to supply a sports car with right-hand drive for an English diplomat. Responding promptly, the company converted 00001’s steering and put it through a road test before presenting it to the diplomat on October 18th of that year. Interestingly enough, the vehicle was registered under its original Werks chassis number, but it wasn’t until 70 years later when it underwent restoration that its documentation aligned with its true history, including the 1955 chassis number.
Unsurprisingly, the precise mileage of this car remains a mystery; however, it does boast a new 1.9-liter single-cam four-cylinder engine. Its exterior is clad in silver paint and topped with a striking blue convertible roof. The interior is adorned with lavish blue leather seats, adding a touch of luxury to the overall look. Additionally, a matching body-colored hardtop is included, although it has suffered some damage during the stripping process. Therefore, if you want to restore it to its former glory, you will have to make an additional investment.
With just eight days remaining, the ongoing bidding stands at $100,000. This may seem like a steal for such a stunning and unique car, particularly when a brand new Mercedes-AMG SL currently starts at a higher price, even for the entry-level SL43 model.