“The Bible” 190SL
Dubbed “The Bible” 190SL by marque expert/restorer Bruce Adams for outstanding qualities that exemplify the model, this fully documented 15,845 miles from new, multiple award winning example retains exceptional factory originality and all the hallmarks that have come to distinguish the 190SL as a truly elite Mercedes classic.
Curtis Johnson (Original Owner 1961-1991)
Delivered new to Yates Motors Corp. of Worcester Massachusetts in January of 1961, this 190SL was first purchased by Curtis Johnson of Auburn, Massachusetts in October of the same year. The list price at the time on the dealership floor was $5,614, but Mr. Johnson was able to buy the car for $5,000. Mr. Johnson was 26 at the time of purchase and as it turns out, as seen in the documentation accompanying the car, it was Johnson’s father who actually purchased the car and at the outset transferred it into the Curtis’ Grandfathers name, Alfred Benson).
Before taking delivery of the car, Curtis’ father insisted that the car be repainted as the door on the right side was yellowed and not matching completely with the rest of the car. It was unclear at the time the sun from the showroom had caused the discoloration or if the particular paint used on that door was bad. A factory representative from Mercedes-Benz came by and approved the repaint. As with the above, it is noted in the documentation that the white paint did not do well on the aluminum doors.
Curtis drove the car about 2500 miles the first year and about 1000 miles for each of the next few years gradually winding down to about 30 miles the last year that he would drive the car, 1981. At that time, he stored the car in the garage for the final years of his ownership tenure. He would start it up every few months to maintain the mechanical integrity of the 190SL, but this came to end as well, when several years prior to its sale in 1990, the gasoline went bad and the car was not started again.
The 190 was only driven by Curtis Johnson on nice days. He said that to the best of his knowledge, the car had only been rained on once. That one time was a chance circumstance when the weather turned bad before he had a chance to get home. Mr. Johnson noted that the car had never been in any kind of accident, large or small. Curtis noted that the original tires had never been off the car, not even for a flat tire, but when the car was sold, it was noted that the spare was actually on the car and it was noted that he did this because of wear on one of the front tires in particular.
Of particular note are the storage conditions under which Curtis Johnson maintained this Mercedes for the duration of his time owning the car. He kept the car in the garage on a raised wooden floor that was covered in tar paper. This kept the car in a moisture free environment for 30 years which further explains its incredible condition top to bottom today.
The only damage incurred during Curtis’ stewardship was a very small dent on the top of the front fender on the drivers side. This happened while the car was being stored at his residence and a rake fell off the wall and slightly dented the fender, although no paint was chipped off.
In December of 1990, Curtis Johnson, the original owner of the 190SL, would sell to dealer and Mercedes-Benz authority Hatch and Sons of Sudbury, Massachusetts. At the time of this sale, the mileage is documented as 14,409 miles. Bob Hatch, during his short tenure at the helm of “The Bible 190”, would go on to show the car at the 190SL Group 7th Annual National Meet and Concours d’ Elegance where the car won its class.
Current Owner (1992-Present)
Consigned by Bob Hatch to Barrett Jackson’s Auction in January of 1992 and sold for $56,672 (believed to be a record at the time) with an odometer reading of 14,563 miles, this 190SL found a new home in scenic rural Washington State as it entered the second chapter in an exceptionally rare meticulously kept history of care and automotive stewardship. During this ownership period, the Mercedes has been kept in a continuous 70 degree environment on low profile carpeted and heated floors. The car has been driven roughly 1000 miles since 1992 and has undergone well documented regular maintenance as well as proper servicing during periods when the car was unused road-wise. In 1998, the current owner made the decision to remove the original wheels and tires to preserve them in their original condition and so that use of the car could continue with compromise. As expected, the original tires and wheels are included with this car.
Of particular note during this ownership, it was decided that the car should be repainted in concert with 190SL restorer of note Bruce Adams, that because the car had been repainted before leaving the dealership and due to the fact they could not be sure what base/primer was used in the repaint at the time, it would be a prudent idea to take the car down to bare metal and repaint it to a concours standard. Adams, because of his particular fondness for this example, was interested in showing the car on the East Coast, and subsequently did at the 190SL Group 14th Annual National Convention And Concours event in Pinehurst, North Carolina 1998 and 2015 in Lehigh Vally, Pennsylvania where it won the People’s Choice Award and Most Original 190SL, the only car there to win two awards.
THE CAR TODAY
This 190SL is in exceptional and true factory specification condition. The outstanding paint work done by Bruce Adams still presents as concours standard and fresh, in a condition that speaks both the application of the work done and care since. The completely original interior is still soft, supple and without cracks though subtly shows the patina of originality that allows an understanding of age yet a level of condition that can compete with restored interiors. The engine bay is still in original condition with only cleaning and mild necessary maintenance over the years. This 190SL example, “The Bible” 190, is in exemplary condition and ready for concours events or show.
This fine Mercedes 190SL example comes with a complete history file separated into two extensive volumes along with all original documentation, books, tools, original wheels/tires and factory spare. This car also comes accompanied by a plethora of model specific literature and several trophies from its few times being shown competitively.