We’ve already looked at the work of Zender on these pages with its 280TE W123 – a vehicle produced to showcase the very best that the company was capable of in the early 1980s. Later in that decade the company released another show car, this time based around the smaller and more recent 190E model. The car was an expression of luxury, developed around the new wide-body 190 bodykit.
“The interior followed the warm-hued theme, with two tone caramel and brown leather.”
From the outside, there was no way this car could be called a standard 190 W201. Even the colour was new, a Zender specific shade of metallic gold which was more vibrant than any Mercedes hue of the era. Initially the car was fitted with a standard 190 grille albeit colour coded, whereas it later received a large central star in the style of the SEC C126.
Zender fitted its full bodykit to the car, with new bumpers, side skirts, and modifications to most side panels to fit large wheelarch extensions in the style of the Audi Quattro. A large three-piece spoiler was added to the tail, and the whole creation completed with a set of 16” Zender Turbo alloys.
Completing the look was a pair of painted door mirrors to match the body colour The interior followed the warm-hued theme, with two tone caramel and brown leather. The front seats were Recaro CSEs with full electrical operation, matched by individual Zender bucket seats in the back. Between the rear seats was a console with Blaupunkt Heidelberg radio, cassette holders, and two pairs of Sennheiser headphones to ensure comfort and calm from those in the back. Ideal for fans of 80s excess with young families, perhaps? Front seat passengers were kept entertained by a Blaupunkt Bamberg stereo. All four seats were heated, and weren’t the only items of interior trim to be covered in leather. Unlike the standard 190, the majority of surfaces in the car were hide-trimmed. The dashboard, centre console, door trims, headlining and side rails were all trimmed in caramel leather, finished with a caramel Zender steering wheel. Even the pillars and sun visors were leather-trimmed. The parcel shelf was refinished, incorporating six radio speakers. To have replicated this car in period using the Zender catalogue would have cost something in the region of 100,000DM – when a Mercedes-Benz 500SEL V126 as around the 75,000DM mark, it becomes clear that this was an overt expression of wealth and not a car many were likely to see in their local environs. Zender later developed additional bodykit items for the 190, including an SEC style bonnet and different rear spoilers. But none of these cars matched the visual drama of the initial widebody kit.
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“To have replicated this car in period using the Zender catalogue would have cost something in the region of 100,000DM.”