Mercedes-Benz has long been a brand promoting its products in the world of long distance rallies. It wasn't even about building unique specials, but rather a mere presentation, what is their slightly modified production car capable of. In the early 1980s, and after the creation of the "baby Mercedes" 190E (W201) series in 1982, the brand wanted to continue this tradition and felt considerable potential in the new model. The sharper variant of the 190E called 2.3-16 premiered at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, a year after the introduction of the basic version. From the very beginning, it was conceived as a car serving as a basis for homologation in Group A.
By the 1980s, the possibility of turbocharging was on the agenda, yet Mercedes chose the naturally aspirated path. The engine unit M102 served as the basis for the drive unit, but it had to get a 16-valve head for better lubrication of the cylinders and Mercedes didn't know how to deal with that, so he untraditionally reached for development opportunities at an external supplier. The British company Cosworth, which had extensive experience in building racing engines, was found to be a suitable candidate for this job. However, Mercedes did not brag too much about this solution.
However, by the time the project went green, a new phenomenon had begun to emerge in the rally world. This was the all-wheel drive technology led by Audi and their Quattro model. Even before the start of the racing program, the policy was reconsidered and no really factory special was built for the rally. The same was true for a long time for the circuits, where, however, 190E was relatively successful in private hands within the German DTM Championship. However, the official entry did not come until 1988, when Roland Asch with his 190E took second place overall.
In March 1989, the Evolution I variant was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, which was the homologation model of the basic facelifted 2.5-16. The first evolutionary model got different rear spoiler, wider fenders, modified brakes and suspension. The first Evo had the same power as the default 2.5-16 (202 hp), but its engine increased bore and reduced stroke. Due to the requirements of the then DTM series, it was necessary to produce 500 cars of the given evolution - in the case of 190E, there were 502. For this evolution was prepared for demanding customers, so-called Powerpack was an option containing even sharper cams, larger intake throttle, different ignition and injection system and intake and exhaust. This package could bring additional 30 hp.
Exactly one year later, in March 1990, again at the Geneva Motor Show, the ultimate 190E Evolution II saw the light of day. The production again consisted of 502 units and Mercedes managed to sell them all before the official sales began. The technical basis of the Evo II is the Evo I with Powerpack. At first glance, the recognizable characteristic of the Evo II is the incredible bodykit and unique 17" wheels. Thanks to the bodykit, the coefficient of air resistance decreased from 0.32 to 0.29, compared to the initial 2.3-16 version, while, at the same time, the generated downforce increased rapidly. The rear wing caught the attention of BMW engineers, who claimed, that either different laws of physics might apply in Stuttgart and Munich, or that they had to modify their wind tunnel - allegedly, in the end, they had to actually built new wind tunnel in Munich. 500 from the 502 cars were made in black/blue paint, the last two in silver metallic paint. The very first complete season of the Evo II in 1991 brought Mercedes a victory among the manufacturers within the DTM. The 190E remained in the DTM races until 1994, when it was replaced by the appropriate Class C model.
The car was delivered to a customer in Germany in June 1990. It changed several owners in this country and in 2014 it was purchased for our collection. The car underwent a complete overhaul in our Rallied & Raced facility without removing the patina. This piece was carefully maintained by its previous owners and its service book has entries from 1990 to 2014. The car is technically flawless and has fantastic documentation.
- VIN - WDB2010361F735915
- Engine number - 10299210 000 184
- Transmission number - 71740400021373
- Mercedes-Benz certificate of origin+documentation
- Article Faster Magazine 4-2015
- Becker radio codes+manual
- CZ+DE registration documentation
- Purchase documentation
- Documentation from technical inspections CZ+DE
- 190E Evolution instruction manual
- Service invoices
- Service book
- Warranty booklet
- Manual for on-board telephone
- Engine compression test