Economy With A Touch Of Class: The Four Cylinder 190E

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When it first arrived on the scene, the Mercedes 190 ruffled a few feathers, as traditional Mercedes buyers were fearful that a small Benz might cheapen the brand image. Fast forward 30 years since its arrival on the scene, and it’s hard to imagine this conservatively styled, if compact sedan, offending anyone who is a fan of the marque, such has been the proliferation of new models in the lineup. Having grown up with a 190E 2.6 in our family, I’m a big fan of this car’s competent performance and classic build quality. It’s a car that did everything well yet didn’t shout about it. This 190E for sale in Germany isn’t a 2.6, but comes with a decent amount of kit and a 5-speed manual gearbox to get the most out of the powerplant.

Today, we’re featuring two four cylinder 190Es, one here in the US and another for sale in Germany. First, let’s take a look at a 190E 2.3 for sale in Kentucky.

Click for more details: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 on AutoTrader

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1990 Audi Coupe Quattro

While earlier this week I reviewed a importable 1989 Audi Coupe, the car we received in the United States in late 1989 was this car, the 1990 Coupe Quattro. While on paper the new B3 chassis car had specifications very similar to the U.S. spec Audi Quattro that it replaced, the truth was that the new Coupe sported much more luxury and the accompanying weight, dulling performance and making the car feel fairly sluggish. What the B3 coupes did gain was a much more user-friendly design and a less driver-dependent all-wheel drive system. With a commodious hatchback and fold-down seats, it was now easier to carry large items that the Quattro simply couldn’t fit. Further, where the early car had driver-selected lockable differentials, the new car sported the next generation of quattro, with Torsen torque-splitting diff in place of the old lockers and a electronic lockup for the rear that was disabled above 15 m.p.h.. Despite the dumbed-down for the driver but smarter for the car AWD system, these Coupes were nearly as good as the previous generation cars in snow and ice. They arrived expensive and at a bad time for Audi, so it’s no surprise that they’re a rare find these days:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro on eBay

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Party Like It’s 1989 Week: 1989 Audi Coupe

While we’re still a year away from importing the first 1990 Audi S2s, in 1989 Audi released the new Coupe. The car the United States got started coming in late 1989, and while the world received several engine and drivetrain options, the U.S. only got the quattro variant with the 2.3 20V “7A” powerplant for two years before the Coupe was pulled from these shores. That hasn’t stopped plenty of people from making S2 replicas while we wait until 2015 to start importing real S2s. However, for something a little bit different, the first 1989 coupes are now importable. This particular variant is a front wheel drive replacement for the aging Coupe GT model, though it effectively picked up the same 2.3 10V “NG” drivetrain that the United States saw in the 1987.5 Coupe GT “Special Build” models. Not often thought of as an option, one of these handsome front drivers is for sale today on Ebay.de:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Audi Coupe on eBay.de

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1991 Audi 100

When talking to automotive enthusiasts about the car you own, most would lose interest when the answer to “Is it a quattro?” is “No”. But as a non-quattro Audi owner, let me be the first to say that circumstance just isn’t the end of the world. Indeed, because of their quattro-baised layouts, the front wheel drive Audi platforms from the 1980s are some of the best handling FWD cars made and are quite enjoyable to drive. This extends not only to the mid-sized 4000 and Coupe GTs, but also the 5000 and later 100/200 variants. Though heavy for their power output compared to the large BMW and Mercedes-Benz competition, the front driver 5000/100 is a well composed cruiser that’s quite dependable and even gets reasonable fuel mileage due to the great aerodynamics. 1991 was the last year of the Type 44 100/200 platform, and though they’re rare to see in good shape a nice 1991 example has popped up on Ebay:

Year: 1991
Model: 100
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-5
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Mileage: 95,000 mi
Price: $1,600 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 100 on eBay

********JUST INSPECTED************
Badge good until end of November 2014
Clean Car. 95 K miles
STOCK!!!
Front Wheel Drive
Moonroof
Heated Seats
Good Tires
West Coast Car No Rust
Radio does not work

Buyer Responsible for taxes, license plate, registration, transportation,
All sales are final
Anybody can stop by and drive it before they bid…..I have no problem giving test drives before end of auction
Winning bidder owns the Car
I am selling the car locally so I can end the Auction at any time
If you want it click on Buy IT NOW.or shoot me an email for an offer

Sure, the automatic isn’t to everyone’s taste, but having owned one of the Audi 3-speed autos it’s not a bad ride – and let’s not forget it isn’t a 20V Turbo. This is one of the top-spec 100s from 1991, with leather and heated seats. The 2.3 liter inline-5 is smooth and has reasonable torque. If you’re looking for a little style, dependability and a reasonably fun driver, this might just be the ticket – the price is sure spot on for a great condition winter beater!

-Carter

1990 Audi Coupe Quattro

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It’s been a few months since we posted the rare Ginster Yellow Coupe Quattro. That’s indicative of the market; coming by clean and well sorted Coupe Quattros or 90 20V Quattros is extraordinarily hard. Already rare cars to begin with, unmolested and clean examples are as rare as the proverbial hen’s tooth. Those that are unmolested are usually pushing 200,000 miles or in need of serious repair. However, once in a while a clean example pops up, as this sharp Pearlesant White with grey leather example proves today:

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Year: 1990
Model: Coupe Quattro
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 126,000 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro on eBay

This is the cleanest audi coupe that I have ever seen. It has new bbs 17″ wheel with new tires, (original speedline wheels included). This car is an early production model which has the tubular header. The car has many new parts including a new fuel pump and a new water pump. This car is also for sale locally. Please don’t hesitate to call with any questions, I can be reached at 908-685-2671 Tom

I’ll start off with the likes; like a big, all-wheel drive GTi, these cars are fun to drive. Though not seriously quick in stock form, they’re also not hugely slow, especially once on the move. Yes, you need to rev the 7A 20V to get the car to shift, but that’s where it makes great noises, so enjoy your trip up the tach – which you can easily do for the next 100,000 miles or more given proper maintenance. The early models have the stainless tubular header which is a work of art though unfortunately covered by the necessary heat shield. Some recent maintenance ticks the right boxes, and while Pearlesant may not be everyone’s favorite it sure fits the character of the late 80s/early 90s Audis well.

Is there a downside? Well, I don’t really feel like the wheels fit the car particularly well despite being one of the biggest BBS fans in the world. I’d rather see the mentioned Speedline wheels clean and on there. Want an upgrade? Plenty are available, such as these Team Dynamics wheels currently on Ebay (click the picture to link to the auction):

Otherwise, I think the only drawback is the entry price; clean Coupe Quattros have maintained a strong market in the mid to high single digits; still, it’s a lot of car for that amount – most enthusiasts are now considering $10,000 the number for a clean E30 non-M3 to put this into perspective. Ditch the US spec diving board bumpers for some S2 units, throw in some Euro lights and an S2 wheel, and if you have to go crazy, drop a 20V turbo into it; you’ll slay E30 M3s in a drag race and with proper suspension components, you can keep up with them around turns, too – all for less than half the amount of a well sorted M3, and you’ll be in a much more rare car. That’s a win to me.

On Ebay right now are some parts to dress it up and make it quicker (click the item to take you to the auction):

AAN 20V Turbo Motor

RS2 OEM Headlights

Audi Sport Nardi Steering wheel

-Carter

1987 Audi Coupe GT “Special Build”

Since I’ve come aboard GCFSB.com, I’ve really wanted to write up an Audi Coupe GT. In fact, long before I started writing for the blog, I wanted people to appreciate these cars more. Perhaps it’s because I’ve owned a long string of Coupes, or perhaps it’s because not many people even know what they are. I missed the white 87 Special Build Paul wrote up later in the month. I found this particularly disappointing since I love the Alpine White Coupe GTs, especially the CE 1986 and SB 1987.5 with their color matched trim. Still, I always keep my eye out for another, so I was greatly excited to see a clean Tornado Red 1985 pop up on eBay – only to see that Paul had grabbed that one too! Not dissuaded, I challenged him to a “Coupe-off” and found another white 1987 Coupe GT Special Build on eBay. Now, I’ve owned two Oceanic Blue coupes (85 and 86), a 85 Zermatt Silver, a 86 Tornado Red one, and my current Black 1986 GT, but I’ve still always wanted one of the triple Alpine White models, and even more so one of the last of the run, a Special Build 1987:

Year: 1987
Model: Coupe GT “Special Build”
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 200,720 mi
Price: Reserve auction, $2,000 opening bid

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build on eBay

This is a survivor, pretty much original except for front, adjustable coil over springs with shocks and the Momo steering wheel but the original parts also come with. Runs great and looks distinctive! Of 1,600 Special Build editions built, about 850 were imported to the USA. They use some of the heavier 5000 drive train pieces like the inner CV joint and transmission. This is the successsor to the famous ralley cars that ran all wheel drive with a turbo 2.2 engine. Advantage here is much more reliable and economical. (You don’t really intend to ralley, do you?) The GT Coupes were voted among the best handeling cars of their time and still do pretty well with modern tires. Original Ronal 14″ wheels white powder coat makes them easy to keep clean.

The Special Build came in 3 colors with the trim including the spoiler and wheels matching body color; white, black and red. They have a heavy duty 5 speed transaxle, four wheel disc brakes, digital dash which incorporates a computer read out of mileage, range, etc. The 5 cylinder 2.3 ltr. NG high compression engine has multi-port electronic fuel injection and a larger throttle body that gives 130 H.P. from the factory. Audi started using this in the new of the lines in 1988. I regularly get 26 +mpg on the highway, but I tend to drive a little fast.

New are the battery and starter. The tires have less than 1000 miles on them and are performance 195x60x14″ BFG G Force Super Speed.tires. I installed new front wheel bearings and strut bearigns when I converted to the coil over front shocks a couple of years ago, so they are virtually new, too.

No obvious rust, dents or scratches; although he car is 25 years old and has been used so there are a few very minor chips and things. Original paint still shines. I had the front of the hood repaired to remove rust on teh front edge 3 years ago. Seats are fine, clean and with little apparent wear. Dash is not cracked. All instruments and controls work except for the right side window, the malfunction is in the counsel switch, I think. Check out Forutitude website for more information.

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I’ll be honest – I think I’m over telling everyone what a great car the Coupe GT is. I’m tired of dragging out the old magazine reviews where it was one of the ten best cars and proclaimed the best handling GT car. I’m tired of telling people that it’s an affordable classic. I’m through explaining why a stock Coupe GT will beat a stock U.S. spec Quattro around a track without four wheel drive or a turbo. I’m not even sure why I’ve defended Audi’s honor, considering they barely acknowledge this car existed. From now on, I’m going to agree with all of the typical Audi commenters, so let me sum this up in a few sentences.

“It’s got 200,000 miles. Who would buy a car with 200,000 miles? It’s sure to break before you even buy it, and then repeatedly every time you look at it. All Audis are horrible. It will cost you the best part of a million dollars to own this car for anything more than a month. It’s sure to rust away to nothing by the end of the week. A good friend of mine once owned an Audi, and after it raped him and killed most of his family, it stole his identity and charged up a storm in Eastern Europe. This car would be great with a quattro conversion. What, no turbo? The RS4 is the only Audi worth looking at.”

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, about this car. It’s one of the rarest of the Audi Coupe GTs. The 87 Special Build cars are indeed special and were the highest performance version of the car, and it’s more than capable of holding it’s own against most of its contemporaries. It appears to be in great shape and cared for, minus the one poorly placed political sticker that may be hiding something. I’ve owned enough of these to know the window “switch” issue could be diagnosed quickly – pop out the ashtray, wiggle the switches out of place and swap the switches to find out if it’s the harder to replace regulator, or perhaps the wires broke in the door. Otherwise, it looks like this car is ready to be a fun driver. I bought my current car with 192,000 miles on it 15 years ago, and it’s still running strong. Although there is little dealer and manufacturer support, there is an avid community to back these cars up and keep them running. Parts are reasonably cheap, they look good, get respectable mileage, and are fun to drive. But please, keep thinking they’re horrible and don’t buy them up, because I’ve seen what happened to the E30, and I’d like to be able to afford one of these Special Builds one day.

-Carter

1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3

I’ve always had a sweet spot for the 190E. This was a car that brought Mercedes-Benz ownership closer to those who wouldn’t dream of owning one before, but still was engineered to a point, not a price. My father owned a 1992 190E 2.6 while I was growing up and I was very fond of that car. Sadly, it met an untimely end, as someone broadsided him in an intersection after running a stop sign. The car was totaled and to this day, I miss that 190E. I’m always on the lookout for clean examples of the baby Benz, and this 190E 2.3 for sale in California fits the bill.

1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 on eBay

Gorgeous 1992 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3 Litre. Rare Signal Red with Black Interior. 100% California Rust Free Mercedes. 94,000 Original Miles. Completely Original Inside and Out. Purchased New at the House of Imports in Buena Park, California. Runs and Drives Excellent. Easily Passed California Emission Testing. Recent Service and New Motor Mounts. A/C is Cold, Power Windows, Power Seats, Power Mirrors and Power Sunroof all Work Properly. Interior is Like New. No Dash Cracks. Tires have 70% Tread Life Remaining. Perfect 190E for any Collector or Enthusiast. Buy it Now or make an offer.

The asking price of $5,500 is almost in line with what one could expect to pay for a late model 190E 2.3 in good condition. If this car is free of any issues like the seller has described and has records to back it up, I wouldn’t hesitate paying this kind of money for a modern classic like this. While I’d prefer the 2.6 liter engine, some buyers might prefer the 2.3 for fuel economy purposes. Red isn’t the most agreeable color, but on a car this small, for me, it looks rather sharp.

-Paul

1991 Mercedes-Benz 2.3: REVISIT

The mint, low mileage 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 located in Texas that we featured in July is back up for sale. It’s not the powerhouse of the 190E crew, but with mileage this low, this car has a lot of life left in it and would be a great buy for someone seeking old school Mercedes engineering mixed with a good dose of economy.

1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 on eBay – REVISIT

The below post originally appeared on our site July 26, 2012:

The Mercedes-Benz 190E was the car that introduced consumers to the idea that of a compact Mercedes-Benz. This small luxury sedan would eventually be revered for its longevity and brought the idea of Mercedes ownership closer to upwardly mobile consumers in the 1980s. My father drove a 1992 190E 2.6 for a few years and while it wasn’t the most exciting car I had ever driven, I remember it fondly for it’s smooth power, excellent build quality and durability. It’s getting harder to find nice examples of the Baby Benz, as it was called, these days. But two have cropped up this week, one with the 2.3 liter four cylinder engine, the other with the 2.6 liter inline six.

First up, we have a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 with a very low 50,000 original miles for sale in Texas.

1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 on eBay

Hi Folks,

Up for grabs is a beautiful low mileage 190E finished in Pearl Blue over Blue. Car has been garged and well maintained. It gets compliments everywhere I go. You just don’t see very many in their orginal well preserved state any more. I am a huge Mercedes fan and really enjoy driving and caring for older Mercedes. We are in the middle of a move, and the wife would prefer I not bring along all the toys. My prior Benzes included included a 92 300D diesel, an 83 300SD and and an 85 300D.

This car was owned by an elderly couple and then transferred to the son and subsequently, grandson, who I purchased it from (hence the multiple owners). When I purchased the car last year, I went through the entire car to ensure its roadworthiness. It was used sparingly by us for in town driving.

MECHANICAL:The 2.3 L four cylinder engine is smooth and efficient, with adequate power. Only 50k original miles. Transmission shifts smoothly through the gears. It drives efforlessly at 70 MPH. No leaks. COLD AC and heat. Recent service highlights include:

– AC recently serviced, with a replaced AC relay. I had the system checked for leaks (which there were none) and topped off. It blows very cold.
– New Bosch Alternator and Battery
– New spark plugs/wires/rotor
– New accessory belt tensioner.
– Replaced heater valve. Heat works great.
– Replaced radiator last year. New radiator hoses replaced aging hoses.
– New air filter
– Suspension is tight.
– Slight vibration at idle and may benefit from new motor mounts.

EXTERIOR: Finished in pearlblue (perlblau) paint (code 348), the exterior is in great shape. No fading or oxidation, even on the roof. No RUST or oxidation anywhere. Lower plastic panels are in great shape. Has been mostly garaged. Sunroof delete model so more headroom and no leaky or clooged drains to worry about.

– The headlight and tail light lenses are in great shape and not faded.
– 15″ inch OEM wheels in good shape with fairly new tires.
– Windshield is in good shape. Has a tiny chip. No cracks.
– There are shallow hail dings in the trunk. They do not show up well in the pic and can only be seen up close.
– Small crack in the right rear bumper trim, but I have a replacement trim to accompany it. Has a small ding right above it.

INTERIOR: Matching blue interior is in great shape and well preserved thanks to being garaged. NON SMOKER.

– The dials and the needles in the instrument cluster are bright and orange, and not faded, another sign of being garaged.
– The seats are firm and supportive, without any tears or sagging. The mesh storage inserts behind the front seats are still taut. They usually sag in cars ofthis vintage.
– The Zebrano wood is in excellent shape without any cracks or delamination.
– NO DASH CRACKS
– Headliner is perfect. Sun visors are perfect.
– OEM factory radio and speakers are in good shape.
– Clock and temp indicator work great.
– Carpets are in good shape. No unsightly stains. Driver’s side floor mat has some wear.
– All power windows work great. Functional power side view mirror.

In summary, you are getting a wonderful piece of German engineering that will continue to provide years of motoring bliss. The car is not new and not perfect, but is very clean for a 21 year old. It is not concours but can easily be. They don’t quite build them like this anymore. Be realistic in your expectations and you will not be disappointed.

-Paul

Two Mint Baby Benzes: 1991 190E 2.3 & 1993 190E 2.6

The Mercedes-Benz 190E was the car that introduced consumers to the idea that of a compact Mercedes-Benz. This small luxury sedan would eventually be revered for its longevity and brought the idea of Mercedes ownership closer to upwardly mobile consumers in the 1980s. My father drove a 1992 190E 2.6 for a few years and while it wasn’t the most exciting car I had ever driven, I remember it fondly for it’s smooth power, excellent build quality and durability. It’s getting harder to find nice examples of the Baby Benz, as it was called, these days. But two have cropped up this week, one with the 2.3 liter four cylinder engine, the other with the 2.6 liter inline six.

First up, we have a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 with a very low 50,000 original miles for sale in Texas.

1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 on eBay

Hi Folks,

Up for grabs is a beautiful low mileage 190E finished in Pearl Blue over Blue. Car has been garged and well maintained. It gets compliments everywhere I go. You just don’t see very many in their orginal well preserved state any more. I am a huge Mercedes fan and really enjoy driving and caring for older Mercedes. We are in the middle of a move, and the wife would prefer I not bring along all the toys. My prior Benzes included included a 92 300D diesel, an 83 300SD and and an 85 300D.

This car was owned by an elderly couple and then transferred to the son and subsequently, grandson, who I purchased it from (hence the multiple owners). When I purchased the car last year, I went through the entire car to ensure its roadworthiness. It was used sparingly by us for in town driving.

MECHANICAL:The 2.3 L four cylinder engine is smooth and efficient, with adequate power. Only 50k original miles. Transmission shifts smoothly through the gears. It drives efforlessly at 70 MPH. No leaks. COLD AC and heat. Recent service highlights include:

– AC recently serviced, with a replaced AC relay. I had the system checked for leaks (which there were none) and topped off. It blows very cold.
– New Bosch Alternator and Battery
– New spark plugs/wires/rotor
– New accessory belt tensioner.
– Replaced heater valve. Heat works great.
– Replaced radiator last year. New radiator hoses replaced aging hoses.
– New air filter
– Suspension is tight.
– Slight vibration at idle and may benefit from new motor mounts.

EXTERIOR: Finished in pearlblue (perlblau) paint (code 348), the exterior is in great shape. No fading or oxidation, even on the roof. No RUST or oxidation anywhere. Lower plastic panels are in great shape. Has been mostly garaged. Sunroof delete model so more headroom and no leaky or clooged drains to worry about.

– The headlight and tail light lenses are in great shape and not faded.
– 15″ inch OEM wheels in good shape with fairly new tires.
– Windshield is in good shape. Has a tiny chip. No cracks.
– There are shallow hail dings in the trunk. They do not show up well in the pic and can only be seen up close.
– Small crack in the right rear bumper trim, but I have a replacement trim to accompany it. Has a small ding right above it.

INTERIOR: Matching blue interior is in great shape and well preserved thanks to being garaged. NON SMOKER.

– The dials and the needles in the instrument cluster are bright and orange, and not faded, another sign of being garaged.
– The seats are firm and supportive, without any tears or sagging. The mesh storage inserts behind the front seats are still taut. They usually sag in cars ofthis vintage.
– The Zebrano wood is in excellent shape without any cracks or delamination.
– NO DASH CRACKS
– Headliner is perfect. Sun visors are perfect.
– OEM factory radio and speakers are in good shape.
– Clock and temp indicator work great.
– Carpets are in good shape. No unsightly stains. Driver’s side floor mat has some wear.
– All power windows work great. Functional power side view mirror.

In summary, you are getting a wonderful piece of German engineering that will continue to provide years of motoring bliss. The car is not new and not perfect, but is very clean for a 21 year old. It is not concours but can easily be. They don’t quite build them like this anymore. Be realistic in your expectations and you will not be disappointed.

Next up, we have a 1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 for sale in California with an even lower 43,000 miles on the clock.

1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 on eBay

1993 Mercedes Benz 190E. Although this 190E is 19 years old it does not compromise its luxury and style through the changing years of Mercedes-Benz. The Mercedes Benz 190E offers all you would hope a Mercedes-Benz would. This particular 190E is in immaculate condition and when I say immaculate, I really mean it! The interior is flawless and looks like it did the day it was born! This is a car that will impress even the most fussy buyer! To top it off, it’s a one owner California car!

Both of these 190E sedans are very appealing. Personally, I’d rather have the 1993 2.6, mainly because of my familiarity with this version and because of the color combination. However, the 1991 2.3 could be an excellent, efficient commuter car for someone who couldn’t bear being seen in a modern day econobox. It’s nice to see clean W201s out there, as many were used up and thrown away. These cars deserve to be preserved, as they are great examples of good things coming in small packages.

-Paul