Project Awesome: Wild C63 in 190E’s Clothing
Every now and again, an assignment comes across my virtual desk that reaffirms my car enthusiasm. It’s a feeling I was in dire need of, with outside temperatures in my area dipping below 20 degrees.
My editor, who I assume sent me this from a lounge chair beside a pool somewhere in L.A., asked: “Want this best assignment ever?” He then followed up with this Facebook link, and a GIF of fireworks, because why not.
Clicking the link led me to a photo album on Piper Motorsports’ Facebook page. The Leesburg, Virginia tuning house specializes in building all manner of high-performance, track-ready German cars, from mild to wild. And this project is definitely in the latter category.
The first photo in the album shows a C63 AMG on a lift, beside a beige 190E. Both of these cars are among my favorite Mercedes cars ever; the C63’s tire-shredding antics and rumbling V8 need no explanation, but the 190E holds a special place in my heart because there were always a couple in my high school’s parking lot. It was pretty much the only Benz any of us could afford in those days.
The photo gallery tells the story. The intent was to remove the body from the C63, and replace it with the 190E body. It’s a deceptively simple concept, but hundreds of hours of measuring, cutting, welding, and flat-out re-engineering later, and Piper has created the most badass 190E ever.
The C63 is a bit longer than the 190E, so a section was cut from the floorpan to shorten the wheelbase, perfectly proportioning the platform to accept the 190E body.
Naturally, a custom driveshaft and exhaust had to be devised as well.
Careful attention was paid to ensure that the hood, trunk, and doors would retain normal functioning — a much larger challenge than you might think.
Although the C63 is noticeably wider than the 190E, flared wheel arches from a 190E 2.5 16v Evolution II were added, along with the bumpers, spoiler, and side skirts. This gives the car an aggressive — but still factory — look.
With the mechanical aspects and bodywork mostly sorted, the difficult job of getting the interior and trim finished up has begun. It looks like most of the C63’s interior will be retained. It’s not clear from the photos if the dashboard was modified to fit, but it looks like it belongs in there.
My guess is that the stock 190E door panels will be used. Naturally, a new center console is being made to accommodate for the shorter wheelbase. True to the spirit of the project, the 190E’s stock headlights have been gutted, with new housings fabricated for HID projectors.
The car just successfully completed its first road test after being under the knife since October of 2013. This project has been going on for a long, long time, and it will definitely be one to watch!
Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>
Via [Piper Motorsports]