LS-swapped Mercedes 190E Vaporizes Tires into Smoke

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Cosworth benzes were prodigies of the ’80s and are still amazing cars today. So why would someone throw an LS V8 in it? 

The Mercedes 190E has developed quite the reputation over the years. But that’s what happens when an automaker decides to build what is essentially a rally car for the street. The 190E’s original Cosworth-engineered, twin-cam, 16-valve four-cylinder engine was truly revolutionary in its time. But that was a long time ago, of course. Today, engines have become lighter and more compact, yet pack much more performance potential.

GM’s LS series of engines, in particular, have become the most popular swap candidates on the planet. They’re easily accessible, cheap, and capable of producing insane levels of power for pennies. Thus, it’s really no surprise that the owner of this particular 1984 Mercedes 190E, Rodney Nichols, chose to inject his old ride with LS power. And it’s also safe to say that the results are highly impressive. Holley Performance thought so too, and documented this insane ride on film at this year’s LSFest.

Mercedes 190E

Despite the many benefits of completing this swap, we’re still left wondering why anyone would do such a thing to a relatively rare gray market car. But Nichols has an explanation for the swap. “The reason I went with an LS is I’m a Chevrolet technician. I work at a Chevy dealer. I’m the main engine guy. I’ve always loved that motor, it’s nice.”

Mercedes 190E

As for the LS’ origin, it’s a familiar one to fans of the venerable engine. “The motor’s from an ’09 truck,” Nichols said. “All aluminum L33. I put a little 73mm turbo on there. She made a little over 500 on 18 pounds (of boost). It’s a fun car.”

Mercedes 190E

Hard to argue with that logic. Nor the incredibly smoky burnouts this vintage Mercedes rips off with ease. Plus, Nichols left pretty much everything else on this car as is. Making this one heck of a sleeper, too.

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Brett Foote has been covering the auto industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ popular Auto Group websites, including Corvette Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among others.

Foote has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles and every other type of automobile, Foote had spent several years running parts for local dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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