1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Review

Beginning the pre-production process in September 1953, the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL was initially exclusively for the United States market. Maximilian Edwin Hoffman, a Mercedes-Benz importer in the United States, asked the Daimler-Benz executive board to create a more economical version of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. Karl Wilfert and Walter Häcker handled the application as chief designer of the 190 SL.

Mercedes-Benz showed the 190 SL prototype at the 1954 New York Auto Show. This prototype was shown alongside the debut of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing.” The production version of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL was launched in May 1955 and lasted until February 1963. Let’s get to know this compact sports car from Mercedes-Benz in the following review of the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL.

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

What is the exterior appearance of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL features a front grille with a design similar to that of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The grille is box-shaped with a horizontal grille panel and has a three-pointed star logo. The bumper is also identical in design to the 300 SL and is wrapped in a touch of chrome accent.

This car has a higher fender curve than the hood. This curve also changes the position of the headlight so that it is high. The turn signal is placed under the headlight. In the middle of the hood, there is a tight curve. This firm curve is a marker of the longitudinal position of the engine.

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

Mercedes-Benz created this car in an open roof model, also known as a roadster. However, consumers in his day could choose roof options from soft-top or hardtop. There was also a soft-top option with an additional hard top panel that can be installed if required. Consumers can also choose the Competition Package option. Where the front and rear windshields are not curved sideways to lighten the weight of the car.

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL presents a touch of horizontal lines in the fender area. Which, by the way, is one of the hallmarks of the design of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. Rocker panels under the front and rear fenders create a stunning impression. In the wheel area, there are hubcaps that match with white band tire details. That was one of the characteristics of a premium car at the time.

The rear exterior of the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL took on a sloping stern shape. The taillight is positioned vertically on the rear bumper. Its position exactly follows the curve of the rear fender. Uniquely the position of the gas tank cap is close to the rear light on the right side.

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

Mercedes-Benz designed the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL trunk door area in line with the taillight position. This gives an attractive impression to the rear exterior. Especially if you see the large three-pointed star logo with the words 190 SL as a marker for this car model.

A closer look inside the interior

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL features a detailed dash that is designed horizontally. The top and bottom sides of the dash wrapped in leather accents. There is VDO analog instrument cluster as well as a white two-spoke steering wheel with chrome accents. This chrome accent also covers most of the configuration buttons on the dash.

If you look closely, this car does not have a center console. There is only a manual transmission lever with a white handle in that position. For the storage of small items, it can only be placed in a glove compartment. In this glove compartment, there is a classic design analog clock.

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

For 1950s-era cars, the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL comes with a seat that does not yet use a headrest. However, both the driver’s and passenger’s seats already have an armrest in the middle of the seat. Both the driver’s and passenger’s seats are upholstered in leather accents.

At that time, Mercedes-Benz offered two options related to the “rear” seats. The first is to pin the “jump seat” in the area behind the front seat. This “jump seat” is facing the side, not forward like a general passenger’s seat. The second option is to remove the seat to be used as an additional trunk area.

There is no specific information on the trunk capacity of the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL. However, this sports car’s trunk space can be used for 1 large suitcase, 2 medium suitcases, a pair of umbrellas, even the spare tire can be dug into the trunk. In terms of security, some hooks will hold well to each suitcase.

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

What features does the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL offer?

For a classic sports car, the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL features can be said to be comprehensive. The entertainment features of this car are presented by the Becker radio system. An air conditioning system is placed under the dash for a cold air supply in the cabin.

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL

How good is the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL performance?

There are cool things about the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, a fundamental differentiator from the old Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. This difference lies in the chassis, where the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL chose to modify the chassis of the Mercedes-Benz 180 “Ponton” Sedan. As a result, the body code for the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL is W121. While the Mercedes-Benz 180 “Ponton” uses the body code W120.

The use of this chassis also affects the use of the suspension taken from the Mercedes-Benz 180/180 D model. The front-wheel suspension uses double wishbones with coil springs and a stabilizer bar. While the rear suspension uses a single-pivot oscillating axle with a coil spring. 

Although the chassis is taken from the Mercedes-Benz 180 sedan model, it can be said that the engine is new for Mercedes-Benz. This compact sports car uses an M121 1.9-liter 4-cylinder SOHC engine with a Solex 44 PHH twin-cylinder side-pull carburettor. At the time, this machine could produce 105 hp. Mercedes-Benz claims that this car can reach a top speed of 105 mph. This car can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 14 seconds.

Toby Archer

With experience as an automotive journalist since 2016 in well-known media, Toby has also tested various types of cars and visited world auto shows. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Hotwheels since early 2020

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