Very few other than hardcore car lovers may be accustomed to the fact that the Mercedes Benz SLK Roadster goes way back into the pages of history and has a 55 year old story to tell. Let us explain how the Mercedes Benz SLK Roadster came into being. Well in the very beginning Mercedes had its very own small roadster tradition vehicles starting with the 190 SL back in 1955. But the German auto maker produced the concept of the first SLK model in the year 1994 thus highlighting the small roadster vehicles from the company.
The first 190 SL was designed and developed by Maximilian Edwin Hoffman, an American man with modern thoughts and designs. Born in Austria, Hoffman used to who import European cars to the USA then. In 1953, he felt that the 300 SL model of Mercedes could be reduced to a much more affordable version of a sports car model. Hence he insisted Daimler-Benz executives to develop one such model that would be light on the pocket.
February 6, 1954 saw the unveiling of the 190 SL model in New York along with the 300 SL “Gull Wing” model. They took away the tag of a pure sports car from the car and transformed it into more of an elegant two seater model. The engineers surprisingly took only a mere span of 5 months to build the car which was based on the shortened frame floor assembly from the Mercedes 180 (W120) combined with a single-joint swing axle inspired by the 220 (W180). The open top car was also given a front suspension influenced by the 180 model from Mercedes.
This was all about what the car looked like. Now the interesting part is what Mercedes packed under the hood of this car in the 1950s. The 190 SL was based on a brand new 1.9 liter four cylinder engine with an overhead camshaft that could produce 105 horses of peak power. In those times, that much of power was good enough for a car as handsome as this. The car would take off to a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) from rest in a matter of 14 seconds with the speedometer reading a maximum speed of 170 km/h, which is equivalent to 106 mph.
In May 1955 series production for the car began. The 190 SL was presented as a soft-top roadster aka a coupe with a removable hard top. The soft top came as an option for the buyers.
Between the months of May 1955 and February 1963 the company managed to sell 25,881 units of the car in Sindelfingen. The company was overwhelmed with the sales which were quite above expectation.
Tags: 190 sl history , 1955 Mercedes benz190 sl roadster , iconic classic roadstera