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  • Writer's pictureFrank Oles

1957 Mercedes 190SL

Updated: Sep 27, 2023


This car has the longest history with the Oles family. Some of my favorite childhood memories of the car are when Jim would drive it over to our house on the 4th of July.

Jim brought this car home when he was 15 in 1970. Jim, my Father Stan, and my Grandfather Stanley restored the car with a pretty trick metal flake paint job in the 1970s, seen in the photo above. The car was resprayed its current shade of red by Custom Cars Unlimited of LaGrange, IL, some time in the 00s. The finish is still quite smooth and glassy.

We proudly display the car at shows whenever possible. Here it is at the Oakbrook Mall Father's Day Car Show. Its clean lines and classic Mercedes style have only improved with age.

Always the little brother to the 300SL, the 190SL has garnered quite a following in recent years. With 300SLs still in the million dollar category, even though the 190SL isn't exactly cheap, it delivers most of the style for a fraction of the cost.

The rear 3/4 view is particularly striking, with its elegant sweeping lines that define the rear haunches. It looks fast even standing still. Does it get any more classic than a red convertible sports car? Even casual onlookers can appreciate the timeless beauty of the 190SL.

The interior is simple, with some wood trim visible on the door caps. The seats in this car are a special optional extra - the same shell-backed sports seats that were available in the 300 SL. Little details like that catch the eye of Mercedes aficionados.

Parked up next to a 300SL at a recent Fuel Fed meet in Downtown Hinsdale, it is easy to see the similar lines of the 190SL, right down to the eyebrows above the wheel openings. Jim's car might be one of the best running 190SLs in the country thanks to the custom fuel injection setup that was added to the engine. The system is controlled by an aftermarket Haltech ECU, which is the preferred setup on many cars in the Oles Garage.

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