Last week I wrote up a tidy looking 190E 2.3-16, the boxy, 80s DTM-racing inspired version of the W201 from Mercedes that has never really gained the same kind of attention as its obvious competitor, the E30 M3. Perhaps that is changing, as more of these come to market in respectable shape. The general consensus among enthusiasts, however, seems to be that these cars are neither desirable nor fast enough to merit the higher price tags we’re beginning to see. (Once upon a time they were firmly in the sub-$10k category, whereas now sellers seem to want the mid teens and up for non-basket case examples.) But maybe the skeptics will be won over by a an imported 2.5-16 like this one?
While the regular 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth had originally been intended to be a rally car, by the time the company got to producing the “Evolution” models they were fully embroiled in the DTM war of the late 1980s. Massive wings mounted trunklids, fenders flared, and engines roared to new heights of power. While most probably associate the E30 M3 as being the pinnacle of this period, the wildest road-going warrior was the 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Mercedes-Benz made 502 of these cars, replete with AMG-tuned motors and enough wings and flares to make an M3 jealous. It should be no surprise that these cars hold a special place in enthusiast’s hearts and they’ve led the market in value because of their very limited nature:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II on eBay
Last Saturday, I went to the local Cars & Coffee with fellow GCFSBer Craig. While there, we met a gentlemen who showed up in a Smoke Silver 190E 2.3-16. Being the Mercedes enthusiasts we are, we had a lengthy conversation about Mercedes we’ve owned and the car amongst us. But revisiting this vehicle in the flesh made me realize what a departure it was from Mercedes of the era. When this Cosworth engined W201 appeared, we were all getting used to the idea of a smaller Mercedes at the time, but were just emerging from the era of the W123 but were still in an age when you could pop on down to your local Mercedes forecourt and buy an R107 SL, a classic design that had been with us for over a decade at that point. So here comes a tuned version of the baby Benz along, designed originally for homologation purposes the rally circuit but wound up competing in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) instead.
These cars competed viciously against the BMW E30 M3 on the track and while the Mercedes wasn’t an outright speed demon in a straight line, they had respectable balance and poise that led them to be a success both on and off the track. These days, they are a downright bargain as compared to what we see E30 M3s pulling in the marketplace. This 190E 2.5-16 for sale by Gruppe H in the Czech Republic is a variant that we did not see in the US market. This engined offered a slight horsepower bump and double-row timing chains to fix issues surrounding the single chains on the 190E 2.3-16 model.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: Feature Listing: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 at Gruppe H
The 1980s and early 1990s rare DTM inspired car market is hot right now. The Audi Ur-Quattro now costs more than a loaded up Honda Accord and a BMW E30 M3 in nice shape is about as much as a starter home. The next car that’s on the rise is the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16. For years this was a $5,000-8,500 car. Not anymore. Prices have more than doubled. But this post isn’t about that the lowly 2.3-16. This is about the 2.5-16 Evolution II. The king W201. About a month ago Paul featured a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II that was listed for $279,000. If you missed out on that one, don’t worry, this 2.5-16 Evolution II for sale outside of London is your second chance at DTM glory — if you have $333,352.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II on Fast Classics
A few months ago, I happened to stop by Keenan Mercedes in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. For those not aware, the owner of the dealership has acquired a car similar to the one we see here for sale in California, a 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Those not familiar with this winged beast might mistake it for a gussied up 190E 2.3-16, but it was so much more. While 235 horsepower might not seem like much in this day and age, getting that much grunt from a four-cylinder engine 25 years ago was no mean feat. Add into this mix self-leveling suspension, adjustable rear wing and those tasty Evo alloy wheels and you had a limited production car which would sell out before it went on sale. Expensive when new, prices for these rare Evo IIs are heading through the roof. This one for sale in California has just 10,000 mies on the clock and is surely amongst a handful that have found their way to these shores.