1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E Avantgarde Azzurro

Mercedes-Benz is normally a very serious company. Stay in line, follow the rules and you will succeed. This has been their modus operandi for about the past 115 years or so and it is hard to argue against. However, every once in a while Mercedes will make a car that shows that can have a sense of humor, or at least know how to have a little fun. Today, I have one of those cars.

This is a 1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E. Now you are probably looking at that pretty blue paint and saying that is it a nice color and while it is very nice, the real gem is inside the car. That is because this is a 190E Avantgarde Azzurro. What is that? Well, for the 1992 model year Mercedes made three very interesting 190E Avantgarde special editions. In this situation, the word Avantgarde means literally means its definition of  ”nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer.” In laymen’s terms, Mercedes made three cars with crazy interiors. They were called the Rosso (Red), the Verde (Green) and the Azzurro (Blue). The Rosso was a 1.8-liter with a wild multicolored interior, the Verde used the 2.5-liter five-cylinder diesel with a crazy green polka-dot green interior and today’s car, the Azzurro, used the 2.3-liter with 190E Sportline leather interior trimmed in four different colors. Even better, the Azzurro cars were all in the Sportline trim with a lowered suspension and a 5-speed manual or automatic. Mercedes said their goal with these cars was to draw in a younger crowd but the prices of $31,000, $34,000 and $40,500 in 1992 maybe turned away some people. Production numbers varied  with 2,300 Rosso cars built, followed by the Azzurro at 950 and the Verde at 750. Needless to say none of these cars were ever sold in North America, but now that they are all 25 years-old, they might be worth bringing across the ocean. This example up for sale in The Netherlands might just be the perfect example.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E at Klass de Poel

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16

The original E30 BMW M3 has taken off in terms of value and prominence amongst performance car enthusiasts. Even examples with over 100,000 miles are commanding values upwards of $15,000 to $20,000 these days. This begs the question, how are its contemporaries fairing? Designed with the World Rally Championship in mind, Mercedes-Benz set out to pick up where the 450SLC 5.0 left off in competition. At the same time Mercedes was undergoing development on this model with Cosworth, Audi introduced the Ur Quattro with all-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine. Sensing their car would be outpaced, Mercedes turned to the German Touring Car Championship instead, racking up a series of championships with the model and a few endurance test world records at the Nardo testing facility in Italy. These days, the 2.3-16 isn’t as appreciated as the E30 M3, but it has a loyal following. While it isn’t the fastest performance sedan, it is noted for its well-balanced chassis, dog leg gear shift pattern suited to racing and other touches such as a 7,000 RPM redline and standard limited slip differential. This example for sale in New York has relatively low mileage and shows a little bit of wear around the edges, but nothing inconsistent with the age of the vehicle.

1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 on eBay

Black Metallic on Black Leather, Clean, Stock, 190E 2.3-16V

Vehicle Specs: 2.3L 16V Cosworth Engine (184 hp + 174 ft./lbs. torque), 5-Speed Manual Dog-Leg Close Ratio Gearbox, Limited Slip Differential, Engine Oil Cooler, Recaro Sport Seats, Center Gauge Pod with Oil Temperature, Stopwatch and Voltmeter. Factory Radio Delete with Rear Deck Speaker Delete, Factory Lowered Suspension with quicker dampers, larger sway bars, harder bushings and self-leveling rear suspension. This rare car has resided in Albany NY since new! Never seen inclement weather; no snow or salt, therefore, no rust of corrosion on or under this vehicle. Very clean, stock car with no modifications, changes or additions. This 190E 2.3-16V is truly a time capsule! All Original, 1-Owner Car! This car has all keys, serviced at local Mercedes dealership. Clean Vehicle History Report with No Accidents + No Issues. New Water pump just installed. Paint on side panels and doors professionally redone to perfection. Wheels powder coated too! Does have some wear on driver seat bolster. Adult Owner, Non-Smoker.

Much like the Model T, the color choices for this particular Mercedes were quite limited. Customers could either choose Pearl Black, such as this car, or Smoke Silver. Later on, Astral Silver and Almandine Red were added on the later 2.5-16, which was never sold in the US market. At almost $15,000, this is strong money for a 190E 2.3-16. They are great cars, but less appreciated than the E30 M3. I could see spending up to $13,000 for a car like this, but that would be stretching it. Realistically, anywhere between $10,000 to $12,000 seems about right given the current market.

-Paul

Are Those Old School Momo Wheels on this 2.3-16 on eBay?

Typically I prefer to post discovered examples for sale that are in better condition and/or lower miles. But as I scrolled through the pics, the wheels on this car jumped out at me. They look like either original Momo 5 star or perhaps even Fittipaldi rims. Take a look at this 1987 Mercedes 190 2.3-16 on eBayMotors:

quote from seller’s eBayMotors listing:

Please take a good look at the pictures, and then make a bid on this very special and rare car that is fun to drive and a pleasure to own. The amazing leather interior, front and rear bucket seats, 5 speed (dog leg) racing gearbox, stunning factory original ground effects kit. These cars don’t come up for sale very often so don’t miss this one.

As a young man in high school many moons ago, these were the rims to get. Can you help identify them?

dc