The Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V is quickly becoming one of those ”snatch one up while you can” cars. Much like it’s rival E30 BMW M3, these are becoming hot buys in terms of driving enjoyment and collectibility. They aren’t quite at the level of the E30 M3 where people are pulling them out of the bottoms of lakes and selling them as-is for $12,000 yet, but probably in the next few years we’ll get to that point. That’s probably why this 1986 is still for sale in San Diego. Well that, and a few other areas of this car certainly need some attention.
Just the other day, Paul looked at a 1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V in Germany, commenting on how in spite of a long race history in the DTM, prices on even very clean examples of these venerable W201 sport sedans have not increased anywhere as close as the BMW M3 or even the Audi Quattro. For enthusiasts, that’s a good thing since it’s one of the few affordable super-sedans of the 1980s that’s left. Performance from the 190E fell in between the Audi and BMW in most conditions, but today a pretty clean example can be had for only a fraction of the others:
If you’ve been watching in dismay as E30 M3 prices have gone through the roof, there’s still two ways to get your 1980s German touring car fix. If you’re unconventional, you do what Audi did and choose the V8 quattro, the dark horse (and two time champion, don’t forget) of the DTM. People that complained that Audi “cheated” to create the winning force obviously aren’t familiar with the creative race constructions of Porsche, BMW or Mercedes-Benz. The latter, in fact, employed Formula 1 in the last of the barely-recognizable 190E racers. But the legend that was Mercedes-Benz created a lesser-known and generally lesser appreciated legend in those 190E racers; powered by Cosworth Technology-designed twin-cam 16 valve engines and originally intended to replace the 450SLC 5.0 in the World Rally Championship, the 190E 2.3 and 2.5-16 Valves found themselves at home on the track, and consequently with an enthusiastic fan base. Today, the 190E 2.3 16V can generally be had for significantly less than their more famous counterpart, the E30 M3. Take a look at this example:
Originally developed for rally racing, the Cosworth developed 190E was the right car at the wrong time. Set to compete against the dominant Audi Quattros, Cosworth switched its sights to DTM (German Touring Car) racing. This was probably the best outcome for Cosworth, Mercedes-Benz and car enthusiasts the world over, as Mercedes-Benz now had to build road going versions of the 190E Cosworth to meet the requirements for competing in the DTM championship.
With help from Cosworth, the 190 went from an economy sedan to a rocket ship for the streets. The M102 2.3-liter 8-valve, received the Cosworth treatment resulting 167 hp and 162 lb·ft. The power was put to the rear wheels by a Getrag 5-speed that featured a ‘dog-leg’ first gear, and a limited slip differential.
This low mileage Cossie for sale in Fort Lee, New Jersey is a well preserved example of ’80s motorsport history.
Classic 1987 Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth
Up for sale is a special 1987 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth with low mileage and vivid history. The car belonged to the Automobile Magazine editor Jason Camissa featuring in 2008 Feb. issued article “Second Hand Thrills”.
The motor is strong and the 5 speed dog-leg shifts well. The interior is very clean and no wear on the leather. All original paint except the grill and hood resprayed to the body color code 199 and mirrors painted to BMW Imola Red color code 405. The Evo II wheels condition is 9/10. I will include the 4 Pilot Sport all season’s 235/40/ZR17s and 500E front pads and rotors with the asking price.
Hella European headlights, Evo II wheels, Bilstein HD shocks and Vogtland springs in the front. The original front struts and springs are included in the sale. Rear Self Leveling System retained and lowered 1 inch by adjusting the linkage/ arms.