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    Sometimes our office car park makes you feel as if you’ve fallen through a hole in time to wind up in the early ’90s and last week two of our project cars provided the perfect retro composition: the shot needed only a monochrome filter adding to look for all the world like the directors’ parking spaces, circa 1992 . Who says you need a De Lorean for time travel...?

    / #Saab-900 / #Saab / #Mercedes-Benz-190E / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-W201 / #1992
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    Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 After being enchanted by the mere sight of it at the Ring, Duff gets to drive Senna’s Cosworth at Nardo

    / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16-Evolution-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16-Evolution / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E / #Mercedes-Benz-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz /

    Driver’s log
    Date acquired May 2012
    Total mileage 159,661
    Mileage this month 0
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month n/a

    You’ve seen this car Before ,most recently back in – it’ s the 190E that #Ayrton-Senna drove to victory in the inaugural race at the ‘new’ Nürburgring in 1984. As such, it’s probably the coolest car in #Mercedes-Benz-Classic ’s 900-strong collection.

    Back in May I couldn’t actually drive it as it had been parked in a museum for a decade. But with the 30th anniversary of the famous race coming up, MB Classic got it running again. And, at the Nardo test track in Italy, I finally got behind the wheel.

    The restoration was purely mechanical, so the cabin felt pretty much exactly as Senna left it, complete with 1984 race harnesses and even the original fire extinguisher bottle. The engine was in rude health: happier to rev than my 2.5’s and pulling keenly through the shorter ‘sprint’ gearing the 20 identical race cars were given. An indicated 100mph on Nardo’s high-speed bowl translated to 6000rpm in fifth. Not bad for an irreplaceable museum exhibit.

    The race cars were lowered and had firmer springs, and even on Nardo’s super-smooth tarmac, Senna’s 190 felt pretty edgy. But the steering was standard and the gearshift action of the dogleg as bad as on every other ‘ #Mercedes-Benz-190E-Cosworth ’ 190.

    From behind the wheel it didn’t feel like a racer, not least as it’s still got a sunroof and even a radio-cassette.

    But it did feel very special. #Mercedes also laid on other significant 190es, including one of the cars that set the still-unbeaten 50,000kmspeed record at Nardo in 1983 (it took eight days, the average being 154mph, including pit stops), plus an immaculate last-off-the-line 2.6 with just 300km on the clock. Only the lack of angels told me I hadn’t died and gone to heaven.
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    Stancing with the Stars MERCEDES 190 ON AIR

    They’re a great staple of any Retro Cars diet, and when they look as good as this it’s pretty obvious why that is. James Brown fell for the ‘Baby Benz’ at a tender age. And you know what they say about your first love… Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Chris Frosin.

    Massively over-engineered’. That’s a phrase you can always rely on. When the chips are down, you’re nervously eyeing your temperature gauge, or you can hear a suspicious clonking noise that you just can’t put your finger on, that handy and reassuring motif will always be there to make everything all right. Not that any of those issues should surface in a Mercedes-Benz-190E , of course.

    This is, in fact, a phrase employed by Mercedes-Benz themselves to describe the model when it emerged blinking into the motorscape way back in late 1982. This car represented the dawn of a new era for #Mercedes , the so-called ‘Baby Benz’ being the marque’s first foray into the compact-executive sector. They poured over £600m into the model’s R&D, patenting a natty new five-link rear and throwing in all sorts of über-modern accoutrements: seatbelt pretensioners, airbags, #ABS … with BMW dominating the sector with the ubiquitous 3 Series, M-B had to go in hard. They needed to over-engineer the thing, it was the only way to muscle in.

    This sort of developmental extravagance has, unsurprisingly, given the car quite a strong following. You tend to find pretty fervent brand evangelists in the retro car world – Mini fans who’ll drive nothing but Minis, Mk1 Golf owners who won’t shut up about Wolfsburg – but it’s interesting to note that Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts are more effusive than most. Once that three-pointed star is emblazoned upon the subconscious, it’s there for keeps.

    Take James Brown, for example. Hailing from the Essex town of Tiptree (a place variously famous for jams and jellies, and the ‘Tiptree Sneeze’ – look it up), he combines his hometown’s trademark mix of saccharine fruitiness and loud noises with a lifelong love of Mercs. His first car was a 190E, he’s had a few of ’em since, and now he’s built this. He’s pretty much incurable. Sure, there have been a few deviations from the path, but true love always shines through.

    “My first car was a red 190E, back when I was sixteen,” he grins. “I lowered it, and put a spoiler on it, and a set of seventeens… but then I couldn’t afford to insure it!

    So I had to sell it and get a Honda Civic.” Thereafter followed a protracted series of modifying experimentations, the Civic receiving the same treatment that the 190E had, before James reverted to geographical type and got into Fords. But when his hot XR2i ended up unceremoniously planted up an elderly gent’s backside (not literally, but almost), our protagonist found himself in a #Mercedes-Benz once more. Well, it was always inevitable really, wasn’t it? Written in the stars.

    “My second 190E was special,” he reminisces, a sparkle of whimsy in his twinkling eyes. “I got it from my good friend John, and to this day I still blame this guy for getting my Mercedes love to flow! He sold me one in the same colour as the current one – it was on some cool seventeens, and on the floor, and I loved that car so much. But then the need for more power came back in my life.” And he was off again, like an easily distracted whippet, finding himself in a heavily modded 106 GTI (a car that dove so deep down the rabbit hole it ended up being featured in Max Power), before reverting back to the Fatherland: an Audi A3 followed, belittling passers-by with its nineteen’s, then a BMW E46 Compact on, ahem, 20in chrome spinners. Hey, if you always make good decisions then you’ve got nothing to learn from, right?

    But it was no use. This multi-marque dabbling was just a distraction from James’s true Mercedes calling. He did the right thing. He bought himself another 190E. It ended up on the cover of Retro Cars in July 2011. And lo, his work was good.

    …but then he started working on an Audi TT project, which was a very involved build, and… wait. No. Stop. This is all but a fleeting distraction from the wholesome pursuit of 190Es. Come back into the light, James. It’s warm in here. You’re safe. Come.

    Oh, and he did. And how. “It was my first love,” he explains, matter-of-factly. “I’ve always been a Mercedes guy, I always will be. I can’t shake it.” And so the endless procession of a long, long line of projects has culminated in this, a straight-as-an-arrow 2.6.

    “After looking at several cars with Jag of Jags Bodyshop, we just kept finding bodged-up, expensive cars that claimed to be immaculate,” sighs James. This is an unfortunate quirk of the 190E, as theoretically they should be borderline bulletproof; when the nuclear winter comes, it’ll just be cockroaches, Twinkies and well-maintained 190Es left on the face of the Earth. Unfortunately, these once-expensive premium-compacts have fallen into the realm of sub-minicab cheapness, so they become disposable. There’s a lot of crap out there, cars that haven’t been looked after. “We ended up settling on an honest car at a reasonable price that needed a bit of paint and tidying,” he says pragmatically. “I was always planning on getting Jag to paint it anyway, so that wasn’t an issue, and a bit of servicing and loving was all it really needed.”

    Of course, this was never going to be a concours resto. You’ve read the guy’s car history, you know what he’s like. The car you see here was pretty much the vision he had in mind at the time, although it wasn’t always a clear path from vision to reality. As you can no doubt hear Samuel L. Jackson booming in his best scary Pulp Fiction voice, “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men”. But whatever – challenges are character-building, aren’t they?

    So, without further ado, Jag set about painting James’s new ride. “Jag’s always painted my cars, and I’m always able to trust him to get my ideas perfect – although I do totally blame him for my OCD-esque cleaning habit,” he says. The car’s been repainted in its original shade, but as you can see that’s really all it needs – an overblown or ostentatious colour would have ruined the simplicity of the thing. You see, there are a lot of people that decry the ‘stop, drop and roll’ approach to modifying – the idea that a reduction in altitude and some well-chosen wheels are all that’s required to allow the car’s aesthetic to speak for itself – but James’s 190E is the ultimate proof that the formula works. And this is due, in large part, to his rather wonderful choice of wheels.

    “Brian at Rotiform was great,” he smiles. “I showed him a picture of the original Mercedes 8-hole wheels and said ‘I want the biggest dishes we can get away with’! The finished product has really become the talking point of the car.” You can see why; the genius of the design is that it pays respectful homage to the car’s original factory alloys, but they are in fact all-new wheels custombuilt by Rotiform to offer something that no other 190E has. This makes James the king of the double-take – his ride-height and the cleanliness of the thing draw you in, then as you turn away your brain says ‘Hang on a minute, what’s up with those rims?’… and the answer is that they’re a head-spinning, bespoke set of two-piece wheels with hidden hardware and the valve caps cunningly slipped around the back. It really is a bunch of effort and expense for something that a lot of people wouldn’t even notice. Such is the modern wheels arms race.

    When it came to the suspension, James had Merc’s original Baby Benz ethos firmly in mind. There would be no half-measures here, it had to be ‘massively over-engineered’ or nothing at all. “I wanted the best,” he explains. “When it came to air-ride, I always said I wanted this car to be 100% – no leaks, no issues, no nothing. So it went to Luke at Plush Automotive, as I knew he’d get the job done. Not many people had used these BMW AirLift struts at that time, and it’s fair to say it was a little more involved than just bolting the things on!” The system is governed by AirLift’s world-class V2 management, and to help things along Jag had already tickled the arches out a little, by 10mm at the front and 15mm out back, in order to ensure the perfect clearance and fitment.

    Plush’s work wasn’t done there either – check out the sublime boot build housing the Viair treats and hardlines along with a full-house Vibe Black Air audio setup in the shelf. The crispness of the install looks almost factory, provided that you can set aside the fact that James has stuffed a load of choice modern hardware into the Merc’s nooks and crannies.

    A bona fi de, über-polished showpiece, then? A pampered trailer queen? No, not a bit of it. James barely needed encouraging to pull a cheeky burnout for our shoot, and if there’s one thing he really loves, it’s driving around in his meisterwerk and showing it to the world as what it is: a massively over-engineered cruiser. “I use it mainly for summer evenings and weekends, and I did some of the shows last year,” he says, “but I love just going for random drives in it. Hopefully this year I’ll be taking it all over Europe – possibly not even for shows, but just for the sake of enjoying road trips with other Merc enthusiasts.” And that really is the crux of the build. At its very essence, it’s a driver’s machine; James has simply enhanced every element that he felt required enhancement, to make the best even better. Because even if something’s overengineered, there’s nothing to stop you taking it further.

    SPECIFICATION / #Rotiform-MBZ / #Rotiform / #Mercedes-Benz-190E / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-190E / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.6 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.6-W201

    ENGINE: #M103.940 2.6-litre straight-six / #M103 / #Mercedes-Benz-M103
    TRANSMISSION: #Mercedes-Benz-722-400 automatic gearbox
    SUSPENSION: BMW E36 #AirLift front struts, custom rear mounts and universal airbags, #Viair-444C compressors, #AirLift-V2-management / #Air-Lift-V2
    BRAKES: Stock 190E
    WHEELS & TYRES: 8x17in (front) and 9.5x17in (rear) #Rotiform MBZ 2-piece with 195/40 (f) and 215/40 (r) tyres
    INTERIOR: Momo Prototipo steering wheel, flushed #AirLift V2 controller, Vibe Black Air audio system inc. front and rear components running twin amps plus 2x 12in subwoofers

    EXTERIOR: Full respray in original colour, arches extended 10mm (front) and 15mm (rear)

    THANKS: “Jag - Jags Bodyshop 07976 830145, Luke - Plush Automotive, Carl Taylor, Brian - Rotiform Wheels, Tommy Teapot - Meguiars UK, Mark- Vibe Audio, Luke, Viv, Jaylos & John Russell. And Becky for putting up with me constantly cleaning it.”


    Damn that sits well on the custom-made 17in Rotiforms!

    This 190E epitomises the ‘stop, drop and roll’ approach to modifying.

    Bulbous Mercedes airbag steering wheel has been eschewed in favour of this natty little Momo number.

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    The Mercedes that thinks it’s an M3 but for half the cost. And this one has a manual box, reports Paul Hardiman / #1990 #Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 £15,500

    This Mercedes was extensively restored around 2008 with new metal in the rear wheelarches, new front wings and fresh paint. Structurally it remains solid beneath and has no bubbles in the body panels. The Almandine respray is holding up well, with no significant chips or scratches to fuss over and the plastics are all in good shape.

    The wheels have been upgraded to AMG-type 16in alloys in place of the standard 15in Fuchs Gullydeckels and the tyres – 205/50 R16s all round – comprise 2014-dated Falkens at the front and older Events at the rear. All have decent tread. The unmatching 16in spare wheel wears a Yokohama tyre.

    Some of the suspension bushes have recently been changed; a little digging in the history file shows that the engine mounts have also been renewed and the steering box rebuilt.

    Inside, the leather is lightly creased but nowhere near worn and the rear seat looks unused. The carpets and dashboard are in good shape, with both the trip computer and temperature read-out still working. All four electric windows work but the nearside rear switch has been wired back to front – possibly when it was replaced – so up is down and vice versa. The trim is also slightly loose on this door. The heated seats and electric driver’s seat adjustment work perfectly and the original first-aid kit remains unopened in its compartment in the rear parcel shelf. The only area that lets the side down is the centre console veneer, which is starting to crack.

    The motor is tidy, with its coolant pink and to the correct level in the header tank. It was treated to a top-end rebuild with new valves and guides not many miles ago and as a result is less rattly than many of these cars. It starts easily and shows the correct Mercedes full-scale three-bar deflection on the oil pressure gauge when warm. The temperature gauge holds steady at 80ºC. The motor pulls well towards the 7000rpm redline but there is a hint of blue smoke when accelerating from rest. There’s only a tiny – and normal – amount of play in the steering and the dogleg gearchange shifts easily with good synchromesh. The brakes are strong and pull up straight. However, there’s a hint of differential whine that concurs with an advisory on the last MoT certificate suggesting an oil leak.

    The service book was stamped up to 85,060 miles in 1999 and there are bills to substantiate further servicing and care since. It’s only done 5000 miles in the past two years, with a total now reading 147,517. It comes with the original owners’ manual and will have a new MoT at sale.

    These Mercedes are good value compared with E30 BMW M3s, which would fetch twice as much in similar condition.

    Leather seats in the front look used but not worn. The rear seats look untouched.

    Motor had a top-end rebuild recently and is rattle-free. It starts easily and revs sweetly.

    CHOOSE YOUR 190
    The 190E 2.3-16 homologation special is launched in 1984 so Mercedes can compete in DTM racing. It has a five-speed dogleg ZF manual or four-speed automatic gearbox, limited-slip differential, quicker steering, self-levelling rear suspension and – thanks to a Cosworth-designed cylinder head – 185bhp. 19,487 are built.

    The 1988-on 190E 2.5-16 adds 200cc and 10bhp, duplex timing chains and ASD locking differential. 5743 are made from July 1988-June 1993. Further homologation of improvements in 1989 give the 2.5-16 Evo 1 a larger bore and shorter stroke, boosting power by 9bhp to 204bhp. 502 are made from 1989-1990.


    Aggressive, wide-arch 2.5-16 Evo II arrives in 1990 with 235bhp delivered at a screaming 7200rpm, a more prominent bodykit – including a giant rear bootlid spoiler – and 17in alloy wheels. 502 are made and sell out almost immediately. Klaus Ludwig finally wins the DTM championship in the racing version of this car in 1992.

    SPECIFICATION
    CAR #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16-Evo-II-W201
    YEAR #1990
    Price £15,500
    Contact The Motor Shed, Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire (vintageandclassiccars.co.uk, 01869 249999/07718 764463)
    Engine 2498cc inline four-cylinder dohc
    Power 195bhp @ 6200rpm
    Torque 174lb ft @ 4200rpm
    Performance
    Top speed: 146mph;
    0-60mph: 7.2sec
    Fuel consumption 24mpg
    Length 4430mm
    Width 1760mm
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    A new car is added to JJ’s ever expanding fleet. It appears he’s got himself something of a bargain too!

    SIX APPEAL / #1990 #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.6 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.6-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E / #Mercedes-Benz /

    In need of a comfortable yet entertaining daily driver, JJ turned his thoughts to a saloon sporting the three-pointed star on its bonnet.

    John-Joe Vollans
    MANAGING EDITOR
    MILES RECENTLY: About 800 per month, it’s my new daily
    WHAT’S BROKEN: Steering lock, heater blower, prop-shaft coupling, gearknob, balljoints (all of them!), brake discs and pads, bushes, rear suspension spring, wiper mechanism, basically it’s tired!
    HOW MUCH SPENT: Four figures comfortably already!
    ON THE ROAD: 1988 VW Golf GTI 16v, #1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6, 1999 Alfa Romeo GTV
    ON THE GO: 1974 Opel Manta A, 1982 Porsche 944, 1984 VW Scirocco Storm, 1992 Range Rover Vogue


    As regular readers will know, our Golf 16v build has been taken very much in the track/race direction, which is great, but it does make it a less than ideal daily commuter prospect for me. My Alfa GTV is currently down with some electrical gremlins (big surprise!), the Manta is in the workshop for a winter of welding, as is the Range Rover. The Porsche 944 is a track toy as well and the Scirocco has a list of problems as long as my arm, all of which means that in order to actually get into the office over the colder months, I’m faced with a dilemma. Most logical people would simply buy a newish car that would fi t the bill, or even simply fix the cars they already own! But that’s not how I roll…


    With six logbooks already in my name I decided to add a seventh. In fairness the initial plan was to simply sort out the Scirocco and use that, but as usual it’s fought my every attempt to return it to the road. This led me to ‘just have a look’ online in the usual places and as usual when I look, I found something worth having. This time it was a straight looking Mercedes-Benz 190E that had been bought by the previous owner to strip but the seller thankfully realised that it was too good to break. The reason the previous owner bought the car was its super rare combination of a 2.6-litre six-cylinder #M103 engine and a 5-speed manual gearbox.


    The result is a 190E that has 166bhp sent to the rear axle through a proper manual transmission that allows the 1197kg saloon to get to 60mph in 7.8 seconds and top 132mph. Not too shabby by any stretch and when you factor in the heavenly six-cylinder engine under the bonnet and comfort levels that shame many a modern saloon, the desire to buy proved irresistible. Oh and the icing on the cake was that the car only cost me £380! No, that’s not a typo, I haven’t missed a digit off the front of that price tag, it was listed as a project car and I guess it scared off a lot of people as the seller didn’t even mention that it ran! A call to said seller revealed all and I even did a deal with him to deliver the car directly to my driveway.


    When my new 190E arrived on the back of the garage’s transporter I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a very straight and pretty tidy car sat there (admittedly on totally horrible alloys) with little to no rust and simply in need of a good clean. Buying unseen is never advised but having had a few 190s in the past and feeling reassured by the seller’s honest description of the car over the phone, I took a chance. Once I got the insurance sorted out and the MoT booked it was shipped off to the local hand car wash and then onto the MoT station where it astonishingly passed first time, with only a couple of advisories (most of which I’d already spotted or the seller had told me about).


    So a day after it was delivered on the back of a recovery truck, I found myself driving my new purchase on my usual 40-mile round trip to our Peterborough office. It didn’t actually drive badly at all but these cars are so over-engineered that they can drive fairly well despite having a number of faults. The drive home was performed with a little more liberal use of the right foot and this did start to reveal a few issues. The 190 has a 10-link rear suspension that was class leading when the car was launched and has been adopted by Mercedes-Benz in almost every model since. The only problem is that every one of these links has a bush at each end. So there are 20 bushes that can, and do, perish leading to some pretty unwelcome rear wheel articulation.


    There are also drag links that transmit steering input from the steering box (that’s right no rack-and-pinion here) to the wheels and there are three of these with two ball joints each. So when these wear out they make the steering feel vague or make the wheel wander. It’s not just ‘the way they are’ as forum ‘experts’ will often tell you. Lower balljoints are a known failure point, which in extreme cases can lead to suspension collapse. All of these items passed the MoT but it was clear on a spirited drive that things were pretty tired underneath.


    Now the elephant in the room that I’ve avoided mentioning so far are those truly ugly CLK rims in these photos. They’re so out of place on an 80s saloon that it hurt my eyes when I first saw them! They don’t even fi t well either as they rub when the suspension compresses fully. So for all of these reasons and more the wheels had to go. I found a couple of sets that seemed to fit the bill, one was a nice set of Keskin 9in dished rims but these turned out to be way too wide. So another online search was conducted and revealed some very promising #BBS rims. They were listed as RAs but this was clearly incorrect as there was a 3-4in dish to them. A quick search online on Google images showed that they were in fact the much rarer (and more expensive) Mahles.

    The excitement of finding such wheels for sensible money was added to by the fact that they’re 16in, which is an unusual size, and are obviously in Mercedes-Benz 5x112 pcd. A trip over to Wolverhampton on the first available Saturday to collect the wheels was a little disappointing as the condition of the wheels wasn’t anywhere near described. The seller had listed them all as straight and in ‘above average condition’. Sadly on closer inspection one of the wheels had signs of a heavy impact on the inside edge and there were numerous other marks that weren’t listed. A bit of haggling got the price down even further to cover these imperfections but I was worried that they might be beyond restoration. However, I didn’t count on the skills of the engineers at Lepsons (www.lepsons.com), but that’s a tale for next time…

    Above: The silky smooth M103 six pot from the E Class found its way into the 190E in 1986 and transformed the compact class saloon into an Autobahn heavy hitter that could punch well above its weight. Mine runs like clockwork (as you’d expect from an ‘eighties Mercedes-Benz) though it’s safe to say there’s plenty of room for detailing under here! Top right: Before it was driven off the trailer onto my driveway this 190E hadn’t turned a wheel in over six years. Though it had been dry stored, the spiders clearly took a liking to the airbox and cold air feed. Above right: The condition of this radiator sums up this car rather well. It’s not pretty (at the moment) but mechanically it’s spot on.


    Above: Since my 190E had been left abandoned for so long it was absolutely filthy and the grime that came off it in this initial wash was shocking. After this I still had to go over the door shuts, engine bay and arches with a pressure washer. Top right: Never leave bird crap on your car, this is why. After what must have been several years on the car’s sunroof panel this particular mess had solidified as hard as concrete (no really!). I eventually shifted it with alcohol and a lot of patience. Above right: These headlight wipers are activated from the screen wiper stalk and amazingly still work. Though they’re not currently making contact with the glass of the lights.


    There are only a couple of minor areas of surface corrosion on my 190E which is great news. This one’s most likely the result of a stone chip. The grille will have to come off to sort it out but that’s a five minute job. The door shuts were disgusting on first inspection and needed a pressure wash to remove the grime and algae that had collected. The leading edge of the sunroof on the driver’s side has this small bubbling patch of rust that will hopefully be a simple fi x with the roof in place. The tilt function of the roof will give me better access. The badges have parted ways with the rest of the car but they were included in the boot, however we’re warming to the idea of dropping a 3.0-litre motor into this 190E and leaving those behind us guessing! More surface rust this time around the base of the rear indicator lens. Though all of the original Mercedes-Benz instructional stickers are here it’s filthy! The Germans do love an instructional sticker; there are loads on the 190E most of which are genuinely useful like the green one reminding you of correct tyre psi for normal and fully loaded driving conditions.

    Above: Just a day after having the car delivered to my driveway, and doing nothing but washing it and adding a little fuel, the car was up on the ramp at my local garage. Fully expecting it to fail and get a hit list of things to fix, imagine my amazement when I got the call to say it had passed! Top Right: One of a surprisingly small list of MoT advisories (and one I’d already spotted) was this hole in the boot floor. It really is the only area of significant rot on the car and it will just need a 4in patch welding in when I get a minute in the workshop. Above Right: They work pretty well on the CLK giving the late 90s model a muscle car feel, but on a car styled in 1982 they look abysmal. Don’t worry the replacements have been found and they’re stunning, more on these next time.

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    1989 Mercedes 190E Cosworth Price £19,950

    This Maltese Cosworth has escaped the vagaries of the British weather and thus rust, says Ross Alkureishi

    This is the desirable 2.5-litre version of the 190E Cosworth DTM homologation special and was imported to the UK from Malta in 2013. It comes with the original sales brochure and service handbook. In its history file are receipts for services since landing here and also for a raft of recent work, including £1526.89 for two new shock absorber rams, a reconditioned hydraulic pump, new pipes, bleed and height reset to the self-levelling rear suspension. A new timing chain was fitted too and the clock reads 63,268km.


    The Maltese climate has been kind to the body and it presents extremely well. It’s very clean on the underside, with no corrosion visible and up top has straight clean flanks with a nice lustre to the blue/black metallic paint. There are a few minor scuffs on the front spoiler but these have been touched in well; the rear boot spoiler has a small crease discernible only when the light hits at a certain angle. Also in the history file is a receipt from MB Guildford for panelwork on all four lower doors; it doesn’t state exactly what was carried out, but all fi t perfectly and their finish is expertly matched to the rest of the body. The black door handles have faded to grey.

    Inside, a new dashboard and centre panel have been fitted, as well as new tops on all four door cards. The air-conditioning functions, as does the sunroof, and it has a fresh lock and key kit. The seats are still in tip-top condition with no signs of wear or tear present. Similarly well presented are carpets and headlining. The wood veneer around the gear lever and on doors is still good, and there are optional rear headrests and illuminating vanity mirrors. All electrics function as they should, except for the nearside front and offside rear windows but the vendor will rectify this prior to sale. Under the bonnet the engine is relatively dirt-free, there’s no evidence of any leaks. The oil is clean and to maximum mark, and the coolant fresh and again to correct level. All hoses and pipes remain in good condition. The original 15-hole Fuchs alloys are unscuffed and there is plenty of tread left on all four #Avon-ZV-5 tyres.

    The 16-valve unit starts first time and settles into smooth tickover. A refined unit, it feels bulletproof and pulls strongly from 2000rpm to its 6800rpm redline. The ’box shifts firmly and the brakes are strong, pulling up straight when called upon. The investment in the suspension means there are no gremlins and other than an as-normal firm ride, the car handles superbly.

    Unlike its arch-rival the M3, it’s taken a little longer for the Cosworth to start feeling the love; but now Evo I and Evo II prices are disappearing over the horizon and 2.3-litre and 2.5-litre prices are firming. Now could be the time to buy.

    Leather and cloth interior looks fresh from the showroom; carpets are top-notch too. 2.5-litre engine pulls strongly and smoothly once wound up – DTM dreams start here.

    CHOOSE YOUR 190E W201

    Homologation special released in 1984 featuring M102 four-cylinder 2.3-litre engine with a Cosworth dohc 16-valve cylinder head. Power is 185bhp and 0-60mph is hit in 7.5sec, with top speed 143mph. Four-speed automatic gearbox an option in 1985. Catalytic converter becomes an option in 1986, designed to run on 95 RON fuel and with power down to 170bhp, while US cars have a lower 9.7:1 compression ratio and 167bhp.

    In 1988 the 2498cc unit replaces the old engine and power rises to 204bhp (194bhp in cat form). An automatic electronically controlled limited-slip differential replaces the old unit.

    Evolution I arrives in March 1989. Revised engine (194bhp) and rear axle ratio combines with larger brakes, tyres, a sport exhaust and large rear spoiler to make it the fastest variant to date. Optional AMG power pack raises output to 225bhp.

    1990 Evolution II has 235bhp, larger 17-inch tyres, improved brakes and aerodynamics. Production of 2.5-16 ends in 1993, with 5743 sold.

    SPECIFICATION
    Car #1989 #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16V-Cosworth / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-16V-Cosworth-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E-2.5-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-W201 / #Mercedes-Benz-190E / #Mercedes-Benz

    Price £19,950
    Contact Charles Ironside, Alton, Hampshire (01420 520635, charlesironside.co.uk).
    Engine 2498cc dohc 4-cyl
    Power 194bhp @ 6750rpm
    Torque 173lb ft @ 5000rpm
    Performance Top speed 146mph, 0-60mph 7.7sec
    Fuel consumption 23mpg
    Length 4430mm
    Width 1706mm
    INSURANCE £206
    COMPREHENSIVE, 5000 MILES PER YEAR, GARAGED CALL: 01277 206911
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