Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way: this 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E’s asking price is $700,000. No, I’m not joking. For that amount, you could purchase many things; planes, sailboats, vacation homes – all on top of your normal home. You could send many disadvantaged youth through secondary education, or you could feed most of Darfur through the rest of the year. But you’re not into those things, you’re into cars – so what makes this Batmobile-inspired W201 so special? Like the M3 and V8 quattro, it was a DTM star, and like all of the Evolution models they were not imported to the United States. That makes them covetous for marque fans, cars that adorned true racing fan’s walls and imaginations in the late 80s and early 90s, and gives you instant credibility at any European event you turn up to. Well before “Evo” became synonymous with Mitsubishi’s physics-defying Lancer, Evo meant that BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz were attempting to homologate some aero tweaks and a hotter motor to win in the DTM race series. Along with the M3 and Quattro, these were the cars that spawned an entire generation of go-faster flares, vents and wings that can still be seen evolving on the WRX and, aptly named, Lancer Evolution. But while the M3 is a known quantity and the market star of the three big DTM cars from the early 1990s, to me the Mercedes-Benz was the one that really nailed the look with their road going version. The Evolution II looked the business; more aero and extreme than the M3, more special looking than the V8 quattro’s Evo kit, it stood apart from the crowd. All of them were special, but somehow the Evolution II was a bit more special:
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As I have mentioned previously, there are not many Mercedes models that I really lust after. Sure, there are models that I certainly wouldn’t mind driving if someone handed me the keys to them but very few that I really desire. The car you see here is one of those few, in fact it’s at the very top of the list. I would take this car over an SLS, C63 or even the new AMG GT any day because while those cars might be luxurious, pretty and insanely fast, they lack the uniqueness Mercedes and AMG were able to instill in the car you see before you. The 190E 2.5-16 was a rare car to begin with, but in 1989 Mercedes added the Evo I designation to the mix creating a new tier of rare for the brand. Only 502 of these fantastic machines were built and like the regular 2.5 liter equipped 190Es, none of them came to our shores. If you want to own what I consider the coolest Mercedes ever built, you’ll have to import one or move out of the U.S. I hear Portugal is quite nice almost year round.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.5 16 Evo I3 Comments
Some forbidden fruit today, coming to us from Japan via Canada. It’s the beefier 2.5 Cosworth that we never got in the US, bringing with it dual timing chains and 17 extra horsepower. The optioned automatic gearbox is interesting as most 190E 16s came with a dogleg 5-speed to keep the racy feel. The 2.5-liter 16-valve should keep things at a nice pace though, even if it needs some love. The whole car needs some attention, from a few interior and exterior blemishes to the too-low suspension. Sitting on Lorinser monoblocks, though, it’s hard to deny the appeal of this E30 M3 counterpart, especially when you take into account that it will cost at least 75% less than the Bimmer.