The Mercedes W201 series (which includes the 190, 190E, 190D, and the jaw-dropping 190E “Evo” cars) was the company’s first serious attempt at a compact executive saloon. In true German style these cars were over-engineered in many areas, and in a bid to create the perfect balance between comfort and performance.
The petrol-powered 190, and 190E (which was fuel injected) came with a range of inline-four engines. Initially they were on offer with a 2.0 litre powerplant, and this later increased to a 2.3 litre inline four, and later in 1985 a 160bhp 2.6 inline six. The diesel-powered 190D was available most commonly as a 2.0 litre, and 2.2 litre inline-four. However a 2.5 litre inline-five turbo diesel was released in some markets in the late 80’s – these five-cylinder cars are pretty hard to get hold off now, and values are starting represent that.
We can’t discuss the Mercedes 190 without mentioning the Cosworth powered special editions – the “190E 2.3 16-valve”, and the later “190E 2.5 16-valve”. For these cars Cosworth took the standard four-cylinder engines and hugely reworked the cylinder heads (fitting 16 valves which were “as large as could possibly be fitted into the combustion chambers!”). These cars were significantly more powerful with around 180bhp, and 200bhp respectively.
To combat competition from BMW (with their E30 M3 Evo) Mercedes soon released some very rare “homologation” specials – these are known as the “Evo 1” and “Evo 2”. Here the Cosworth 16-valve cars were further reworked, with improvements to suspension, brakes, and the engine. The cars also featured a restyled body with wide arches, a bigger front splitter, and an outrageous “F40 inspired” wing on the back. The “Evo 1” and “Evo 2” cars are incredibly rare with only around 500 units made of each, and as you could have guessed, are staggeringly expensive as a result!
The standard Mercedes 190’s were never intended to be “cool” cars, and during their years of production, we doubt many people saw them that way. Time has however been kind to the design (which let’s be honest, oozes retro appeal) and the fact the cars are mechanically brilliant. Car enthusiasts have really locked onto 190’s and have proved that when these cars are slammed down low (often on air-ride) and riding on a set of deep-dish wheels, they look pretty incredible.
Kie is one of those car enthusiasts with vision. He’s taken the ageless design of the 190 and exaggerated it in all the right areas, whilst leaving it alone in places where it doesn’t need to be changed. He’s got the stance pretty much perfect thanks to some coil-overs and an awesome set of wheels. Kie really rescued this car for the scrap heap (where it was definitely headed if it wasn’t for him!). Read the interview below to find out what’s he’s done to the car so far, and what he’s got in the pipeline!
Mercedes 190D 2.5 (W102) (1993)
- The car now sits on coilovers and has new shocks and bushes all round.
- Bodywork wise, it needed some love! So it's had rust treatment, new front wings and a few dents taken out.
- The wheels have been swapped out for a set of 17 x 8 "Autostar" rims on stretched tyres.
- Purple detailing in some areas such as toe hook at the front of the car, and interior touches too.
- Rear window louvres and lots of other modifications pending!
Interview with the owner
- When did you first purchase the car?About 9 months ago.
- What made you buy a 190?Always wanted a 190, I then saw this sitting in the back of a yard getting no love and knew I could something with it as I couldn't let it rot.
- What's it like to drive?I've uprated the suspension and done all the bushes, so it's now quite a smooth drive but handles nice too.
- Do you know the current BHP?Yes, around 96bhp.
- Has the car been restored / rebuilt?Yes, but it's an ongoing project…So I got the car in bad state. It needed the seals welding so I had them replaced, new front wings as old ones rusted out, new fuel lines fuel tank (which I didn't like doing as got covered in diesel), reconditioned injections and more! That was to get it running.Then I put an option steering wheel in it and changed all the speakers (and added a few more!)I've had it 9 months so still got loads of work to do!
- So let's talk mods – you've lowered the car then?Yes it's had coilovers and new shocks and bushes.
- What have you done to the bodywork?Rust treatment, new front wings, and taken a few dents out along the way!
- We love the wheels, what are they?I changed the standard wheels for a set of 17 x 8 rims all round – these are Autostar rims.
- What have you done with the interior?Well, I'm still working on that, but as you can see some purple detailing!
- What other mods have you done?I've also fitted rear window louvres.
- Do you plan to do any further modifications to it?Yes, lot's still pending lol.
- So quite a long "to do" list still then?The list is long and makes me want to cry!
- Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?For the right price, anything is for sale!
- Ok final question – ignoring cost, and assuming you couldn’t go and sell it for profit… what’s your dream car and why?Nissan Skyline Hakosuka!