Mercedes 190SL 300HP 5 SPEED 32 valve 4 cam V8 faster than 300SL w/ Disc Brakes

1962 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class 190SL V8 300HP 5 SPEED LSD 300SL ROADSTER for sale in Beverly Hills, California, United States

Condition: Used
Item location: Beverly Hills, California, United States
Make: Mercedes-Benz
Model: SL-Class
SubModel: 190SL V8 300HP 5 SPEED LSD 300SL ROADSTER
Type: Convertible
Year: 1962
Mileage: 11030
VIN: 121042-10-022535
Engine size: V8
Number of cylinders: 8
Transmission: Manual
Interior color: COGNAC TAN
Options: Convertible
Vehicle Title: Clear
Want to buy? Contact seller!

Description for Mercedes-Benz SL-Class 1962

Scroll down for Videos of this 190SL and a full history of the Owner and restorer.

Featured at the world famous Rodeo Drive Concours 25th Anniversary Event on June 17, 2018. This car gets more admiration and complements than Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Seems everyone loves this Mercedes and it has won numerous awards. This car exudes class and style.....and now performance as well! Good enough for Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly! (Photo)

Red metallic convertible with a removable subtle Pearl White hardtop that compliments the red paint.

The Ultimate 190SL: A 190SL that's actually fun to drive with a 300 horsepower fuel injected aluminum Four Cam 32 valve V8 and a five speed overdrive transmission in a car that weighs only 2,575 pounds! This amazing aluminum V8 transforms the 190SL from a pretty car that's not much fun to drive into a pretty car that is tremendous fun to drive! It's like having the power and performance of the legendary Shelby Cobra but with the refinement of the legendary Mercedes SL.

To give you an idea as to how much these modifications cost, as detailed below, some years ago Mercedes and AMG took 11 300SL (Gullwings and Roadsters) and because they only made around 200 hp, they installed V8 engines in them. In fact, these were the very first cars to be jointly developed by Mercedes and AMG. The modifications to the 300SL cost $1,000,000 and this million dollars is in addition to the price of the car!

The man who restored and engineered this car, Don Harmon, was an engineer with General electric and his story and the car's history is detailed below.

Don chose this engine because it was quite simply the best, lightest, most reliable, highest performing V8 available anywhere. This motor can go a million miles without needing a rebuild!!!! This motor, the legendary 1UZ, considered by many to be the most reliable 32 valve V8 ever designed. This motor was designed for racing (CART / IRL) which explains why it such a great engine. It is also one of the very few automotive engines that the FAA has approved for use in airplanes! That is how reliable this motor is. It features six bolt main bearings, forged connecting rods and a forged crankshaft. The vice president of TRD USA (Toyta Racing) has stated this 1UZ V8 was designed for CART/IRL, planned for use in GT500 race cars and used in the Daytona Prototype race car. With stock internals these motors have revved to 9,000 RPMs! That's higher than most Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens!

You can read about Matt Farah, host of the Smoking Tire, million mile Lexus with a quick Google search. His 4,000 pound Lexus traveled a million miles with one of these engines! Imagine how far this engine will go in this car that weighs just 2575 pounds!

By comparison, the standard cast iron four cylinder 190SL motor makes only ~100 hp and weighs as much as the V8 and it will never last anywhere near as long or be as reliable as this IUZ V8.

Thanks to the modern smooth shifting 5 speed overdrive gearbox with a new clutch and new master cylinder, this Mercedes is not only more fun to drive, but can, unlike a regular 190SL, be driven at freeway speeds comfortably. (E.g., At 80 mph the standard four speed 190SL is turning nearly 5,000 rpms whereas this 190SL with its overdrive is cruising comfortably at just over 3,000 rpms.

This Mercedes 190SL gets to 60 mph in around 4.6 seconds compared to 9 seconds for a Gullwing. The 190SL 0-60 mph is nearly 14 seconds!

For comparison purposes, the Ferrari 360 makes the same basic torque as this 190SL V8 yet weights 650 pounds more than this Mercedes.

This fuel injected 190SL gets 25 mpg on highway.

The steering was also upgraded from the old worm and roller to more responsive rack and pinion steering. The steering is power assisted which makes this car easy to drive at lows speeds and during parking maneuvers.

Suspension upgrades include high performance front sway bar and aluminum adjustable front shocks that facilitate the fine tuning of the ride.

Also further improving the handling and braking are the upgraded wheels and tires. New unique custom yet classic Mercedes 3-piece wheels made specially to order and imported from Europe. Original wheels are tiny 13" with small 165 mm tires. The wheels and tires on this 190SL are similar in size to the 300SL, 16" and feature brand new high performance 215mm B.F Goodrich performance tires that greatly improve handling and braking thanks to a much larger contact patch.

Brake upgrade. Nearly all 300 SL Roadsters and 300SL Gullwing's and all 190SL have drum brakes front and rear. Given the advantages of disc brakes, I had a brake specialty shop design and manufacture a front disc brake system for this car featuring slotted and ventilated brake discs with high performance 6 piston aluminum brake calipers. (Similar to the ones you'll find on a Ferrari.)

Just like the Gullwing, this 190SL was upgraded and now features a Limited Slip differential to put the power to the wheels.

A new aluminum clutch master cylinder was installed making clutch operation comfortably light.

The timing belt, tensioners and water pump were all replaced in January of 2018. The clutch was replaced in February of 2018 with a new pressure plate, disc, throw-out bearing and pilot bearing. The engine oil and filter (synthetic Mobil 1), rear differential oil (Mobile 1 and LSD additive) and transmission fluid (Redline synthetic fluid) were all replaced in February of 2018.

A new power steering pump was fitted in June of 2018.

New wheels and new tires were also fitted in June of 2018.

A perfect condition Classic White Steering wheel is also included with sale although I prefer the slightly smaller Nardi wheel also pictured.

Quite simply this is the all around most reliable, fun to drive and fast vintage Mercedes SL: A 300 horsepower 190SL that will have owners of Gullwings with 215 hp feeling a sense of envy! The only 190SL that can have bragging rights when parked beside a 300SL roadster or Gullwing. This is the best engineered, best performing Mercedes 190 SL in existence, one that performs significantly better than the iconic 300SL Gullwing and yet is far more refined and inexpensive to maintain and operate.

This masterpiece was the creation of Don Harmon and his pride and Joy. At the end of this description is a bit of history about Don Harmon and his restoration of this Mercedes. Don owned the car until he passed away. He routinely drove this 190SL to car shows all over the Pacific Northwest, year after year. The trunk is lined with plaques from dozens of these car shows dating back at least as far as 1994. Don was a gifted engineer who worked for General Electric.

Don created the world's best sounding and most fun to drive 190 SL or 300 SL. This Mercedes is much faster and more refined than the legendary 300 SL Gullwing. This was Don's pride and joy, his "masterpiece" and I've included a little bio of Don below that was written by his brother-in-law. Don never sold his beloved V8 190SL. Instead he owned it until he passed away. The trunk is lined with dozens of plaques Don received from various car shows dating back as early as 1994. Now this beautifully unique Mercedes is available for the next lucky owner to enjoy..

This SL is a like a cross between a classic Aston Martin Vantage from the 1980s and a Shelby Cobra. Suitably comfortable for daily driving but light and fast with a torque V8. In fact, this Mercedes has a power to weight ratio comparable to the original Cobra yet the Cobra did not have roll-up windows, a luxurious interior, refined suspension, large chrome bumpers, glove box, etc.

The car drives beautifully, solid and without any play in the suspension. This car does not drive like a 1950s era car but feels modern in terms of its solidity. As you can see from the pictures, the suspension and undercarriage are in exceptional condition.

The 32 valve, four-liter V8 idles so smoothly that looking at it you can't even tell its running.

This Mercedes is something truly rare, significant and special. Faster and more fun to drive than a Gullwing or 300SL Roadster, it was owned and driven regularly for decades by the engineer who restored the Mercedes.

Many files of records come with the car including photographs going back a number of years.

This is a very special and unique car for the person who wants to drive a classically styled, 1950s era Mercedes-Benz, but who also wants performance and reliability of a modern car.

If you are familiar with the 300SL and the 190SL then you know the biggest problem with the 190SL is it is frustratingly slow. It also has dual carburetors that need adjusting to run properly and it simply lacks the gearing to drive long distances or at speed on the highway. Yet it is beautifully and solidly built by Mercedes, making it the perfect platform for this modern, reliable, fuel injected, direct fire ignition, four-cam, 32 valve, all aluminum, lightweight V8 with a five speed overdrive transmission and a limited slip differential: A V8 that weighs just 364 pounds, about the same as the original cast iron 4 cylinder 190 engine that it replaces.

This 190SL weighs just 2575 pounds. (A little over 2600 with hardtop on.) That's about 600 pounds less than a carbon fiber McLaren! A 300SL roadster weighs ~3200 pounds, 600 pounds more than this 190SL.

This car's big brother, the 300SL Roadster, sells over a million dollars (one recently sold for $3.7 million dollars) yet this SL is arguably prettier and irrefutably faster, more reliable and stops and handles better as it makes far more power and weighs far less.

Mercedes-Benz 190SL 4 Cam 32 valve all aluminum V8 IUZ with 5 Speed and LSD - YouTube

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Mercedes Benz 190SL 5 speed fuel injected aluminum 32 valve four cam V8 LSD 300HP 2550 pounds IUZ - YouTube

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Mercedes Benz 190SL 5 speed fuel injected aluminum 32 valve fourcam V8 LSD 300HP 2550 engine running - YouTube

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Mercedes Benz 190SL 5 speed fuel injected aluminum 32 valve four cam V8 LSD 300HP in the shade - YouTube

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Click Video link below for a video while driving the 190SL uphill (while holding cellphone camera)


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Restomods are "in vogue" now as new generation of car owners and collectors desire cars that look classic and like rolling art but have modern performance, greater reliability, better fuel economy, serviceability and safety improvements.

"As younger generations become interested in classic cars these individuals want the classic look of an old car without compromising on the performance and safety features available today, so resto-modding is perfect for them....We expect to see resto-modding continue and gain momentum as drivers seek out modern safety and performance features while also taking pride in maintaining the unique aesthetics of a classic car from decades ago.”

"the notion of restoring and modifying your classic to create something remarkable is now hugely in vogue.”

Here are a few articles on this subject:

Why be bothered by a finicky, hard to get parts for a 4 cylinder engine that makes the car slower than any modern production economy car when you can have modern reliability, modern fuel economy, a cleaner running engine and one that will blow the doors off most cars with one of the best V8 engines ever designed?

Another recent restomod was the installation of a fuel injected V8 into a 246 Dino. One of those will set you back around a million dollars as well.


About Don Harmon (written by his brother-in-law)

I met Don in the mid-1970's when he met and married my sister, Barbara. He was a Sonar Engineer, worked for General Electric for several years in both San Diego and Naples, Italy. Because of his specialist skills, he was flown in to do emergency fixes no one else could figure out. In later years, he was part of a volunteer team to restore the Kalakala, a unique streamlined diesel engine ferry that had operated in the Seattle area from 1935-1967.

He was a very focused guy and could fix anything. He always had a project going that usually involved some plan to save money. He installed solar panels to lower the electric bill, had an elaborate, very complicated wood stove burning system in the basement to heat the water, he picked up diesel oil from folks converting their heating systems to save money for his diesel operated Mercedes.

The paradox was, though he was always looking for a way to save a dollar, he would only drive a Mercedes! His license plate read Diesel Don, he was skilled as a diesel mechanic and took care of most of the repairs to this vehicle, another money saver.

Another potential money saving project at one point was the installing of a water wheel in the creek going through their property, He had the cement platform in place, bought a large metal wheel and was all set to go until the Seattle PUD stepped in and put a stop to it!

One day when I arrived at the house, the garage door was open. I noticed what looked to me like a big hunk of metal. I thought to myself, what in the world is that pile of garbage??

It sat in the garage for a few years. Eventually Don began working on it slowly by slowly. At a certain point it began to look a little like the shell of a car.

Over a number of months, lots of scraping, sanding and what all, it started looking more like the shape of a sports car of some kind.

From there, one improvement and hand-picked addition after another - seats, steering wheel, mirrors, wheel covers and hard and convertible tops. His most exciting part was found by a friend of mine in Canada. He was ecstatic when Richard found him the perfect engine. And being a bargain hunter himself, Richard got Don a steal of a deal!

Even with all that, the car still looked a bit rough. But, alas, the final touch to Don's masterpiece was the spectacular paint job - a very shiny candy apple red with ivory beige hard top. Wow, it was unbelievably beautiful! We were all in awe of how Don's vision had become a reality. From the earliest acquisition of that hunk of metal he had purchased those many years before - that stunning Mercedes sports car never left his mind's eye until the final coat of paint.

As a family, we had many years of going to Car Shows with Don. He won a number of trophies and he never tired of talking about every aspect of his masterpiece. Though none of us had much to do with the developing of his project, we all watched what seemed an impossible vision become a reality. Don's sports car restoration project was a genuine full color illustrated life lesson!

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