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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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