The Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 is still in that area of the market where “project” examples can be found for reasonable money, but a really nice one with low miles can easily reach two to three times those of lesser examples. A $30,000 example? Probably very close to a complete turn-key car without any issues at all. A $10,000 example? Start ordering parts. What lies in between is where you can either score or strike out majorly. Today’s examples up for sale in New Jersey has potential, but I have some questions.
Oh boy. Everyone loves a good project, right?
This poor 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 needs some help. Well, a lot help. Looking at the photos, I don’t know if it is worth saving. To make it short, the paint is totally gone, the suspension is sagging, there is rust in the trunk, and the interior is one step short of fire damage. But hey, at least it runs. Right? (Checks notes to see if it does actually run)
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Project on eBay
As cool as the Mercedes-Benz 190E 16v is, the colors Mercedes offered for US market cars were not extensive. You had two choices, Blue-Black Metallic or Smoke Silver. Blue-Black is just a plain black, and Smoke Silver is dangerously close to tan or beige. The situation is not ideal for those of us who like colors. In Europe? There was another color, Almandine Red Metallic. It’s a beautiful shade of dark red or burgundy that isn’t so red like “Rosso” from Ferraris, but a subdued shade. Today, I came across a 1989 16v-2.5 that looks great, but one big problem. The steering wheel is on the wrong side. That surely throws a spanner in the works.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16v at UK Sports Cars
I always felt the Mercedes-Benz W201 190E didn’t and still doesn’t get the respect or fanfare they deserve. Outside of the 16v models, there aren’t hoards of people out there clamoring for them like we have now with the E30 BMW. I know this is a little bit of tough comparison, as the E30 was offered in both coupe and manual transmission form, but the 190E is still a relatively nice car for what it is. It certainly isn’t ugly, and the fit and finish was above average compared to the majority of cars from this era. Still, these cars were used and abused for going on three decades now so finding a non-16v model in exception shape isn’t an easy task. However, this 1991 190E 2.0 up for sale the UK seems to have survived all these abuse a cheap Mercedes usually is subject to.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 on eBay
Generally I’m not a big fan of replica cars. I think there is no biggest waste of money than the Mercedes-Benz SSK Gazelle replicas that you have to spend $13,000 on to get a Ford Pinto engine and a sheet of plywood screwed to the dash. It looks terrible, it drives even worse, and you surely aren’t fooling anyone given a real SSK is well into the eight-figure range. However, there are exceptions to everything and today’s car, a 1991 190E up for sale in England, might be one of them. Just by looking at it, you can probably tell what it is all about.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E DTM Replica on eBay
There isn’t a whole lot more to be said about the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16v. We’ve featured them here from time to time and the general consensus is that is a real winner in terms of actual driving experience vs. the price you pay. The prices have sure shot up over the past decade on them, but there aren’t a lot of cars from this era that are worth a damn that didn’t. I think every one realized that the these cars are from an era that is never coming back and thus, making them collectible. I’m sure everyone regrets not buying one of these went they were $7,500 thinking they’d stay around this price for a while and they’d get one when they made a little more money or when the kids were grown, but at least it isn’t like the Porsche 964 where an average car with over 100,000 miles is now $50,000.
Today’s car, a 1986 up for sale in California, is an interesting example. Is isn’t a garage queen, having just over 100,000 miles, but looking at the condition, you’d swear it had around half that. Naturally, you’d expect a giant price tag trying to catch lightning in a bottle from someone who falls in love with it on a whim, but believe it or not, it really isn’t all that bad compared to the current market for them.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16v on eBay
Following up on the 1993 Mercedes-Benz 300CE Sportline from a few weeks ago, I thought I might look at another chassis that the Sportline option was available on, the W201 190E. For the model years 1992 and 1993, the 190E Sportline featured the M103 2.6 liter, suspension lowered by 21 mm, stiffer springs and shocks, 7 x 15-inch alloy wheels with wider tires (205/55 R15) and the seats from the much more expensive 2.3 16-valve model. Like the W124 Sportlines, a nice little package if you didn’t want to commit to the top of the line models. Even better, the 190E Sportline was offered in a 5-speed manual if you didn’t want the 4-speed automatic. This 1993 up for sale in Texas unfortunately isn’t the manual, but is one of the nicer examples I’ve seen in a while. Problem is, it is mighty expensive.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 Sportline on Hemmings
Last week I looked at one of my favorite and oddest Mercedes-Benz ever: the 190E Avantgarde Azzurro. It was an incredibly expensive car for its time at $40,500 ($72,000 in 2018 money), especially when you considered it was marketed towards younger buyers. As expensive as that car was, Mercedes offered a much more inexpensive option if you still wanted a new W201. How inexpensive? Nearly half the price at just $21,000. Of course you might have noticed I am talking about the 190D. This 190D up for sale in Poland has just 2,200 miles and in addition to being a time capsule, is probably the most bare bones and basic Mercedes I’ve looked at in a long time, if ever. The data card lists just six different build codes compared to the 20 for the Avantgarde Azzurro. Seriously, my manual-everything 1983 240D has more luxuries than this car. I hope the buyer for this car has lots of money and likes the sound of total silence, but that is what is going to take to own this car. Let me explain.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190D at Classic-Trader
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
The Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16V Evolution II is one of those cars that you know exists, but thanks to its rarity of just 502 examples made, don’t pop up all that often in any kind of setting. The majority of these cars are now securely tucked away in private collections thanks to their crazy price tags (more on that later) and very rarely come up for public sale. Today, car number 208 painted in Blauschwarz, is up for sale for anyone who has enough money to sink into a car that you probably can’t justify it costs as much as it does. The best part about this car? It’s for sale in sunny San Diego, California.