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Lot No. 615 - 1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E Cosworth

Sold for: £48,375

This right-hand-drive example has only 12,427 miles from new (20,512 km)
Details Specification
  • 2.3-litre, 16-valve engine producing 185 bhp. 0-62 mph in less than eight seconds, and a top speed of 143 mph
  • Getrag 5-speed manual gearbox was unique to the 16-valve and featured a racing gear pattern with a dog-leg first gear
  • The 190E 2.3-16 was only available in two colours, Blue-Black metallic or Smoke Silver
  • This right-hand-drive example has only 12,745 miles from new (20,512 km) and is finished in Smoke Silver

You can now book a one to one appointment (up to one hour) to view this lot at our central location between 16th and 30th July. Please contact us on 01926 691 141 to secure your appointment or steven@silverstoneauctions.com to discuss the car in more detail. The health and safety of both our customers and team remains the utmost priority, we are therefore operating to strict COVID-19 guidelines and full instructions for arrival and inspection protocols will be given when making your appointment.

The Mercedes-Benz W201 was a compact executive saloon car manufactured by Mercedes-Benz from 1982 to 1993. Supposedly, Mercedes spent over £600 million researching and developing the 190 and subsequently it was deemed ‘over-engineered' in an era when Mercedes engineering was widely revered. In the late 1970s, Mercedes had some good results competing in rallying with V8-powered R107 Series Coupés and naturally, they were keen to build on this success by taking the 190E on a similar path. Not having the expertise in-house at the time, Mercedes approached British engineering company Cosworth, to develop a competitive engine for the rally car. Unfortunately, this project took off just as the Audi Quattro, with its all-wheel drive and turbocharger was launched, making the 2.3-16v appear somewhat outclassed. With a continued desire for the 190 to succeed in high profile motorsport, and also now a state of the art engine with which to do it, Mercedes turned to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) (German Touring Car Championship) motorsport series instead. However, cars racing in this championship had to be based on a road-going model, a minimum number of which had been sold to the public, so Mercedes, therefore, had to put into series production a 190 fitted with a detuned version of the Cosworth engine.

This high-performance model was known as the 190E 2.3-16 and debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 1983. In road-going trim, the 2.3-litre 16-valve engine produced 185 bhp with acceleration from 0-62 mph in less than eight seconds and a top speed of 143 mph. The engine is considered to be remarkably flexible with a very flat torque curve and a wide powerband. There were other notable changes over the standard 190. The body-kit on the 2.3-16 reduced the drag coefficient to 0.32, one of the lowest CD values on a four-door saloon at the time, whilst also reducing lift at speed. The steering ratio was quicker and the steering wheel smaller than that on other 190s, whilst the fuel tank was enlarged from 55 to 70 litres. The Getrag 5-speed manual gearbox was unique to the 16-valve and featured a 'racing' gear pattern with a 'dog-leg' first gear. An oil cooler was fitted to ensure sufficient oil cooling for the inevitable track use for which many of these cars were destined. The strictly four-seater interior had Recaro sports seats with strong side bolsters for front and rear passengers. Three extra dials, an oil temperature gauge, stopwatch and voltmeter were included in the centre console. The 190E 2.3-16 was only available in two colours, Blue-Black metallic or Smoke Silver. The suspension on 16-valve models is very different from the standard 190, as well as being lower and stiffer - it has quicker dampers, larger anti-roll bars, harder bushes, a limited-slip differential and hydraulic self-levelling suspension (SLS) on the rear. This allows the rear ride height to remain constant even when the car is fully loaded.

The first owner of this spectacular 190E 2.3 placed an order through Mercedes-Benz (United Kingdom) Ltd. in July 1985 and specified this example in Smoke Silver with options including, outside temp, additional mirror, height-adjustable seats, tinted glass and fire extinguisher. Documents within the detailed history file indicate the car had been registered in the UK before being exported to New-Zealand. Within the original book-pack is the service booklet showing a pre-delivery inspection at the Mercedes-Benz, Piccadilly garage in January 1986. The car was then exported with all supporting documentation and first registered in New Zealand in May 1988.

Accompanying the car is the aforementioned history file containing the original purchase order, original book-pack with service book stamped up-to-date, registration documents, export/import documents, invoices for servicing and maintenance over the years in New-Zealand, a recent invoice from Mercedes-Benz for a service dated February 2020 and a current MOT valid until February 2021.

In summary, this fine example must be quite simply the ‘Holy Grail’ to any classic car collector or enthusiast. Offered in remarkable condition and accompanied by a detailed history folder showing just 12,427 miles or 20,512km, rarely do examples as good as this come to market. Please note that this vehicle is not currently registered in the UK.



Year of manufacture:
Chassis number:
Right-hand Drive
Registration number:
190 E Cosworth 2.3 16V
Engine number:
Odometer Reading:

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