Answer: I’ve performed many pre-purchase inspections on these cars, and compared to other “sports cars” of the era they are very advanced, making them easy to live with as a weekend driver. They’re well built and drive beautifully, and they’re relatively simple to work on. Given routine maintenance they will always be ready to roll.
With over 25,000 190SLs built between 1955 and 1963, they are not rare. I don’t know what the survival rate is, but I can assure you that whatever it is, demand has outpaced supply over the past five years, with prices for fine examples doubling. Which brings me to your question about the investment potential of a 190SL. In a general sense, the quality of collector cars can range from “substandard” to “concours.” One cannot use the words “substandard” and “investment” in the same sentence when speaking about a 190SL, so if you hope to view this car as an investment, you will have to buy one that is “high end driver quality” or better. The market for these cars is clearly at or near its highest point, but considering the demand, I think these cars will continue to rise in price modestly on an annual basis.
Consider it a “Blue Chip” investment in that although the prices are not likely to double again over the next five years, prices are likely to rise predictably, yet be able to weather any downturns in the market.