The ex-Vlad 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 with plenty of modifications that we wrote up nearly two years ago has resurfaced for sale again. Offered by the buyer from last time around after covering only 3,000 miles, the asking price is close to what the seller paid. However, a few things of note – several items are no longer working, the bodywork is cracked and – most notably – the BBS RS wheels are an optional extra for $3,000. Has the W201 market appreciated 50% on a questionable example like this in a year and a half?
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Sometimes, enough just isn’t enough. The Maybach perhaps personifies that statement better than any other single car produced by Mercedes-Benz. The W221 S-Class certainly is no slouch, even with the smallest motor fitted. But, someone at Mercedes-Benz said it wasn’t enough, so they fit it with a 5.5 liter V12 twin-turbo motor producing 500 horsepower. But then, that wasn’t enough, so they made an AMG version with a M275 6.0 liter twin-turbo V12 which produced 604 horsepower and a mind-bending 738 lb-ft of torque. Insane, right? Well, then someone at Mercedes-Benz said that wasn’t enough, either, and they fit those W221 internals into the even less pedestrian Maybach 57S. In the past few years, Mercedes-Benz has been known for their nutty excess, but even this was really over the top. So over the top, in fact, that very few people bought them – in 2010, despite a budding luxury car market world-wide, Maybach only sold a reported 157 examples of their version of ultimate luxury worldwide, and in 2012 closed down all-together. But some people did buy them, and for them, of course, the standard Maybach wasn’t enough. So off to RENNtech this particular example went for their “package 1” which involves a reflashed computer and new intercooler pump. Sound mild? The result is 670 horsepower and 840 lb-ft of torque:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Maybach 57S RENNtech on eBay
Since their launch, the R129 Mercedes-Benz SLs have held my attention. Perhaps it’s because I was heading towards driving age when I first got to sit in a then-new 500SL, but regardless of the motivation I really wanted one. My father used to take me to the local Mercedes-Benz dealership in his W113, so even though I was a child who grew up in the 1980s I was never particularly partial to the R107 – and I’m still not. Early Euro-spec cars look nice to me, but for the most part they look a bit too soft and large. So the R129 was a revelation – it looked substantially more sporty and was thanks to a new 5.0 V8 good for 320 horsepower mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. But for some well-heeled enthusiasts, the $100,000 price tag (in 1993!) wasn’t enough. AMG was in a state of flux in the early 1990s, but there was a new kid in town that was grabbing some serious headlines – RENNtech:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500SL 6.0 on eBay
The supercar market has always been a bit perplexing to me; get past the glam and the glitz of these showstopping performance machines, and they generally are seldom used toys that depreciate quickly. You don’t hear about someone having saved money their entire life and walking down to a McLaren dealership to buy a P1, for example. That means once they’re no longer grabbing headlines, the well-heeled owners move on to the newest, biggest and best thing to impress their friends. Back up a decade and there was a massive showdown in 2003 between the Porsche Carrera GT and the Mercedes-Benz McLaren. With nearly equal power output, price and performance, one would have presumed that in today’s market they’d share equal value. Both were and are very special cars, and similar production numbers made it to the United States. But today a good Carrera GT will set you back half a million dollars, while you can grab the McLaren for less than $200,000 today:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Renntech R1 on eBay
A few weeks ago, I popped this 190E 2.6 up on our Facebook Fanpage; while it looked quite nice at the time, there weren’t many photos and the pricing seemed a bit high. But the big question was “Why?”; why would someone choose to convert the less desirable 2.6 inline-6 automatic model into a fast Benz when you already have a solid starting point in the 2.3 and 2.5 16V models? In part, the seller answers that in their description below; but to me, it doesn’t necessarily matter what the base model is – after all, there are plenty of people modifying Porsche 912s and 944s, there are countless E30, E36s and E46s that aren’t M3s that people choose, and even plenty of Audi A4s that get turned up in favor of the S4. Why not the 190E 2.6, then?