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1987 190e Cosworth 2.3

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1987 190e Cosworth 2.3

1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E

01-29-2019, 06:23 PM | Replies: 9 | Views: 1172
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  • Price
    • OBO
  • Location Sandy Hook, CT, USA
  • Condition Used
  • VIN WDBDA34D5HF385673
  • Mileage 57,501
  • Engine 4 cyl
  • Drive Type 2WD
  • Transmission Manual
  • Vehicle Type Sedan
  • Exterior Color Black

Hammer Lite - 1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E from Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car

May, 2010 - Mark J. McCourt

It's easy to overlook the trunk spoiler and ground effects on Mercedes-Benz's smallest sedan. After all, every Tom, Dick and Harriet automaker kitted out their compacts with all kinds of wings, flares and aero-style gewgaws in the 1980s. But here, these additions were much more than cosmetic, and they barely scratched the surface of how deeply the 190E 2.3-16 represented a different kind of car for Mercedes-Benz.

While this automaker built its reputation on solid, highly engineered automobiles for a discerning clientele, its contemporary reputation didn't involve racing or appeal to the youthful, sporty car market. Internally dubbed W201, the 190 "Baby Benz" was a clean-sheet project and a risky stretch down-market to increase the company's sales.

Mercedes knew that racing a new model quickly builds its credibility, but the basic sedan wasn't a natural; the 190E's 2.3-liter, 8-valve four-cylinder made just 136hp (113hp in U.S. tune). Even the light 2,575-pound curb weight and standard five-speed manual gearbox didn't help move the car with much authority.

The Germans turned to the engine development experts at Cosworth Technology Ltd. in England to develop a competition engine for the 190; the 2.3-16 was the result.

Cosworth co-developed, and initially manufactured, the car's cross-flow aluminum alloy head with twin overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, making this Mercedes' first production four-valve engine. The central-mounted spark plug in each of the pent-roof combustion chambers was circled by two 38mm intake and two 33mm exhaust valves. Flat-top pistons gave the European market version of this engine a 10.5:1 compression ratio, and an oil cooler kept internal temperatures in check. A Bosch KE/III Jetronic system with electronically controlled idle circuits sent the fuel-air mixture through four ram intake manifolds, four runners and eight inlet ports, while a tuned tubular header exhausted spent gases. The results were 185hp at 6,000 RPM and 173-lbs.ft. of torque at 4,500 RPM, and a stratospheric-for-a-Benz 7,000 RPM redline. The U.S.-spec engine that followed featured 9.7-compression and a restrictive three-way catalytic converter; its output was a more modest 167hp at 5,800 RPM and 162-lbs.ft. of torque at 4,750 RPM.

Mercedes engineers set out to prove this new development with a high-speed 50,000-kilometer endurance run at the Nardo circuit in Italy. In August 1983, three pre-production 190E 2.3-16s were mildly modified with aerodynamic and mechanical tweaks engineered for high-speed, long-distance running; two cars reached an average speed of 247 KM/H (153 MPH) and covered the distance in 201 hours, 39 minutes 43 seconds, setting three world records (at 25,000 KM, 25,000 miles and 50,000 KM) and nine international class records, as overseen by FIA officials.

While the 190E 2.3-16 publicly debuted in September 1983 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, it wasn't long--May 1984--before Mercedes again had it competing. A single-marque exhibition race was run at the new Nürburgring track, putting luminaries like Phil Hill, Niki Lauda, Jack Brabham, John Surtees and more--including rookie F1 driver Ayrton Senna, who won the event--into 20 identically prepared cars, as an enthusiast-savvy promotion.

The 16-valve, as it's known among Mercedes aficionados, wouldn't come to America until 1986, when 1,267 examples arrived, bearing a steep $35,400 sticker price and painted either metallic Smoke Silver (like our dR car) or Black Pearl; another 962 would come in 1987 at an even steeper $39,600.

Justifying those prices were its many special features, which included the special drag- and lift-reducing body kit, the upgraded engine and standard five-speed Getrag gearbox with a racing pattern "dogleg" first and direct-drive fifth. A limited-slip 3.27 rear axle, revised steering ratio (15.27:1 vs. 16.66) and larger brakes with ABS were on board, as was a special chassis set-up: stiffer front shocks, thicker anti-roll bars front and rear, firmer springs, and, acting on the sophisticated multi-link rear suspension, exclusive hydro-pneumatic self-leveling shock absorbers.

With heated front seats, rear headrests and a four-speed automatic gearbox as the car's only options, American 2.3-16 buyers were treated to standard goodies like a leather-upholstered four-place Recaro sport seat interior, a power sunroof, electric windows and wood dash trim. Additionally, a trio of VDO gauges, mounted low in the center console--oil temperature, a digital lap timer and a voltmeter--were only available in this model.

It was that five-speed gearbox that caught the fancy of our feature car's owner, Jeff Wong. This Foothill Ranch, California, resident considers himself a Mercedes man at heart; "The first Mercedes I bought myself was the 500E [featured in HS&E #27], and for me, the one thing missing in that car is a manual transmission. I think the little 16-valve is the perfect complement to the 500E. I have my grand tourer and my canyon runner, and they work well together."

After taking the photos on these pages, Associate Editor Jeff Koch scored some seat time in this 190E 2.3-16. He observes, "Step down into the orthopedically perfect Recaro chairs; they're mounted low, but as a result, there is head- and legroom for all but members of the NBA. The doors shut like bank vaults behind you, and no other door on a compact car shuts with such a resounding thud. The black materials in the interior certainly appear durable, even a little bit cheap, with Mercedes' taxi roots showing. The wheel is well placed, and seems a touch big in M-B tradition, but it doesn't tilt, so the tops of the gauges are chopped off for taller drivers.

"Turn the key," he continues. "The idle settles in at 950 RPM, and the snotty muffler produces a mild hum in the cabin. The gas pedal has a bit of loose travel, but the clutch is easy to depress, and it takes up at the bottom of its travel. The five-speed shifter feels a little wobbly in its moorings, but then Mercedes manuals have never shifted like Hondas. It's easy to get into the dogleg first gear, but shifting out into the H-pattern can feel a little balky. The car's acceleration isn't neck snapping, but it's smooth and linear through the revs, with no dead or flat spots. The engine turns about 2,800 RPM at 60 MPH in fifth gear.

"The ride deserves special mention. We find that lowered cars usually trade comfort for firmness, but not so here...it's firm, but it's not a kidney-buster. The ride and handling are tight, but not at all crashy--in fact, it feels very OE, with the rear multi-link suspension and avoiding oversized wheels and tires surely helping. Even the 16-inchers that Jeff installed look a little big for the wheel openings, keeping in mind that this car was designed in 1982, long before 16s became commonplace."

Road & Track, which tested a 2.3-16 in 1986, noted the car's accurate steering and easy placement on the road, although they commented on the standard suspension allowing ample body roll and understeer. The testers were left contemplating its forgiving and confidence-inspiring nature.

Making the handling, ride and indeed, appearance of this Mercedes all the more impressive is the fact that, at the time of these photos, it had covered 185,298 miles. It's no surprise then, that Jeff's 190 caught the eye of the judges at the Beverly Hills Concours d'Elegance in the spring of 2007. "When I entered it in that show, people actually thought that it had 18,600 miles on it, not 186,000 miles: It won its class," he smiles.

"The 16-valve was obviously well taken care of before I bought it, but I still went crazy on it. My strength isn't mechanical work, although I have a lift and will change fluids and brakes; I'd rather take out the headlamps and remove the wheels to clean and detail behind them, things like that, which just take patience and time."

He adds that, while his 2.3-16 did win an award at that concours, it isn't intended to be a show car. "I don't consider this car concours-correct, but that's what's nice about having a 16-valve: It's not an expensive car that I'm tied to keeping completely stock. It came with some modifications, and I wanted to further make it my own.

"It had Brembo discs and four-pot aluminum calipers up front, like those used on the 1992 Evolution II [see sidebar] and '92 500E; I added the 278mm vented rear discs that I took off my 500E when I installed Euro-spec 300mm rears on that car," Jeff says. "The previous owner had already deleted the self-leveling rear suspension for conventional Sachs-Boge shocks and springs. I installed RDMTEK camber adjustable shock towers up front, the thicker 500E-front and Evo II-rear anti-roll bars, and lowered the car over 16 x 8-inch R129 SL wheels, which were the same as those used on the Evolution I--the stock wheel size was 15 x 7-inches."

The 190's appearance was also upgraded, he explains. "The car already had European headlamps when I bought it, so I matched those with Euro taillamps, whose wrap-around corners are all-amber, instead of amber and red. That's a subtle difference, but I like to maintain the Euro theme. The previous owner installed the grille--it's an S600 grille that was carefully cut down with a Dremel tool to fit the W201 shell. I like the look, and decided to leave it on. I added later side-view mirrors, which have a slightly smoother shape, and replaced the large stock steering wheel with a 1993 190 wheel with a smaller overall diameter." The results? A slick, timeless Mercedes look with expressive performance.

So why wasn't the 190 2.3-16 a sales success in the States? Maybe because it cost more than a new 300E, Audi 5000 CS Turbo quattro, BMW 535iS or Saab 9000 Turbo, or because the clutch pedal and torque-light, rev-for-power four-cylinder didn't match buyers' expectations of a Mercedes-Benz. Either way, those who understood it back then, like Jeff does today, got to witness Mercedes making a bold statement. They got to experience the car whose sporting success encouraged Mercedes to bring AMG in-house, and to create the dynamic lineup it has today.Back on Track
Daimler-Benz officially returned to racing after more than 30 years when they hired AMG to build the engines for the 14 190E 2.3-16 touring cars that private teams were fielding in the 1988 DTM season; they racked up six wins. The larger-displacement 2.5-16 Evolution followed in 1989, but the 195hp street car engine wasn't suitable for racing, so a new engine with the same displacement became the basis for the 333hp DTM Group A racer; 502 street Evos were built for homologation. AMG took all Mercedes racing development in-house in 1990 and produced the wicked 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. The Evo II made 235hp in street form--another 502 built for homologation--and 375hp in racing form, bringing Mercedes-Benz the constructors' title in 1991, and in 1992, winning 16 of 24 DTM races.M-B 190E 2.3-16 Owner's Story
Back when this was new, the body kit was probably considered pretty aggressive. Looking at it now, it's rather tame. I'm thinking it might have been nice if they gave us something more along the lines of the Evo I, but I'm talking with 24 years of hindsight. That, 24 years ago, Mercedes brought out a car with a body kit at all, was pretty groundbreaking," explains owner Jeff Wong.

Our feature car was his first of seven 2.3-16s, so he's well versed in how to pick and sort a winner: "Start preferably with an accident- and rust-free car. Replace worn parts and related parts at the same time, using factory Mercedes-Benz parts if the wallet will allow. Do as much of your own work as possible, but ask for help if you have any doubts. Service records and a clean title are must-haves!"What to Pay

1987 M-B 190E 2.3 16v
Low: $3,500
Average: $7,500
High: $14,000Club Scene

Mercedes-Benz Club of America
1907 Lelaray Street
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909
800-637-2360, www.mbca.org
Dues: $45/year; Membership: 20,000

Mercedes 190E 16V Portal
Comprehensive historical information and images

190 Revolution
Owners forums, photo galleries, links and events calendar

Mercedes 190 Owners Club
U.K.-based online club with technical forums, articles and classifiedsPros & Cons

Mercedes-Benz gets back in the race
Factory sport package = perfect integration and a warranty
Rarity, pedigree and M-B Classic parts availability

Your teenage neighbor's Kia can probably dust it
Big Eighties body kit styling dates the crisp 190
Few are left, and of those, fewer are stockProduction 190E 2.3-16

U.S. sales:
1986: 1,267
1987: 962

1983-1988: 19,487SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Inline-four, cast-iron block, aluminum DOHC cylinder head, four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 2,299cc (140.3-cu.in.)
Bore x stroke: 95.5 x 80.25mm
Compression ratio: 9.7:1
Horsepower @ RPM: 167 @ 5,800
Torque @ RPM: 162-lbs.ft. @ 4,750
Fuel system: Bosch KE/III Jetronic electronic-mechanical fuel injection
Lubrication system: Full-pressure
Electrical system: 12-volt, positive ground
Exhaust system: Three-way catalytic converter, single exhaust with dual tips

Type: Getrag GL 275E five-speed manual with full synchromesh
Ratios: 1st: 4.08:1
2nd: 2.52:1
3rd: 1.77:1
4th: 1.26:1
5th: 1.00:1
Reverse: 4.40:1
Clutch: 9-inch diameter, single plate

Type: Hypoid bevel gears, 35-percent limited-slip
Ratio: 3.27:1

Type: Recirculating ball, variable-ratio power assist
Steering ratio: 15.5:1 average
Turns, lock to lock: 3.3
Turning circle: 35 feet

Type: Hydraulic, vacuum assist, ABS
Front: 11.8-inch vented discs
Rear: 10.95-inch vented discs

Construction: Welded steel monocoque with front and rear subframes
Body style: Four-passenger, four-door sedan
Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Coefficient of drag: 0.34

Front: Independent MacPherson strut, gas pressure shocks, lower control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear: Independent five-link, coil springs, self-leveling gas pressure shocks, anti-roll bar

Wheels: Cast alloy
Front/rear: 16 x 8 inches
Tires Sumitomo: HTR 45Z radials
Front/rear: 225/45-ZR16

Wheelbase: 104.9 inches
Overall length: 174.4 inches
Overall width: 67.2 inches
Overall height: 53.6 inches
Front track: 56.9 inches
Rear track: 56.3 inches
Curb weight: 3,015 pounds

Crankcase: 6.9 quarts
Fuel tank: 18.7 gallons
Transmission: 1.6 quarts
Cooling system: 8.5 quarts

Hp per cc: 0.073
Weight per hp: 18.05 pounds
Weight per CID.: 21.49 pounds

0-60 MPH: 7.8 seconds
¼ mile: 16.2 seconds at 87 MPH
Top speed: 139 MPH
Lateral acceleration: 0.78g
* Figures courtesy Road & Track magazine, 8/86

Base price: $39,600 including destination, $40,300

This article originally appeared in the May, 2010 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.

Old 02-03-2019, 03:30 PM
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e55 AMG
Is this still available?

Hello there, I was wondering if this was still available?
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:47 AM
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2012 P31 C63
price is 1,450????
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:57 AM
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190e 2.3 16 E350
Is it still available?

Hello, just wanted to know When where how do I pay you please?
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:12 AM
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2005 e500 w211 wagon
is there anything wrong with the engine or transmission
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:40 AM
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300 TE
Originally Posted by thebug44 View Post
price is 1,450????
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:37 AM
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1987 190e 2.3-16v
$14,500.00. my bad first time posting an add on this site.
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:44 AM
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1987 190e 2.3-16v
Nothing wrong with the engine and transmission. All original. I am the second owner.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:28 PM
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Interested in the 190 - pm'd you my phone number - give me a call when you can - thanks.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:38 AM
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located in stamford ct, your just down the highway from me lol, would love to come take a look and see whats up.
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