A rare treat: the Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evo II

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Ooo, now right here’s a deal with for you. Admittedly, not an inexpensive one. This isn’t an “Oh look, I’ve a spare ten pence,” so that you bag your self some choose ‘n’ combine whereas within the candy store – is anybody else now craving a fizzy cola bottle and a kind of fried-eggy issues now? Fascinated with it, aren’t they essentially the most weird candy concept ever? Have I drifted off matter? I’ve. Sorry.

Anyway, this deal with is pricey. You can bag all of the penny sweets within the northern hemisphere for this sort of lolly, however even in case you did, this factor’s obtained way more fizz than that. Yep, a Mercedes 190E (already an excellent begin) 2.5-16 (even higher) Evolution (now you’re speaking)…II (whoops, seize the mop, I’ve simply widdled).

As we all know, the two.3 Cosworth was already a cracking factor. Born out of the need of the bigwigs at Stuttgart HQ to have one thing lighter and lither to take over rallying duties from the unlikely – however surprisingly profitable – SLC (the C107), they knocked on Cosworth’s Northamptonshire door.  And when it opened, they mentioned “Mach uns bitte einen Motor,” which suggests “Make us an engine please.” So Cosworth did, and the two.3-litre 16-valve four-pot was the end result. However the factor about rallying within the 80s, is that each one roads result in the Audi Quattro. And a 190E wasn’t going to chop it.

I imply, what number of occasions do you examine a producer at the moment creating some new-fangled marvel to compete in Group B, adopted by that phrase ‘Then the FIA banned Group B earlier than the [insert name here] might compete’? Take into consideration the variety of vehicles in that camp. Every little thing from the Mitsubishi Starion to the Ferrari 288 GTO and Porsche 959.

The 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth wasn’t considered one of them, although. It wasn’t the demise of Group B that scuppered it. Cosworth had the Mercedes M102 fettled right into a 260hp high-revving motor by 1983 – with 16 valves, light-weight Mahle pistons and a four-branch exhaust manifold it peaked at 7,100rpm even in road-going type. And that was approach earlier than Group B went south. However by then Audi had unleashed its four-wheel drive monster. Mercedes noticed it and thought ‘Oh, heck, what’s the purpose?’ It knew instantly the rear-wheel-drive 190E stood no likelihood, so that they didn’t trouble to enter it.

As a substitute, the two.3-16 grew to become a little bit of a skunkworks venture, after the indignant Mercedes bosses vetoed any extra motorsport programmes. The engineers continued to develop it below the veneer of a road-going efficiency model of the W201 and, in 1983, despatched it to Nardo, the place it demolished information by finishing 50,000km at a mean velocity of 154.06mph. To publicise the automotive’s debut, Mercedes organised a one-off promotional race – the 1984 Nürburgring Race of Champions – on the opening of the brand new Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit. As you might keep in mind, it gathered a bunch of previous and current F1 drivers, and everyone is aware of who received. It’s mentioned to have put his identify on the map, and, in case you don’t who it’s, his surname rhymes with Caitlyn Jenner’s and he additionally had a well-published automotive crash.

By the point the automotive was launched in 1984, Mercedes had bagged a 12 months’s price of orders. Roll on 1985 and so they’d offered 5,000 of them – sufficient to fulfill the FIA’s Group A homologation necessities. Nonetheless, there was to be no official motorsport programme, although. So a 190E Cosworth ‘by accident’ discovered its approach into the palms of a privateer race group within the DTM championship. It was extra of a check 12 months, actually, with no finishes within the handful of races it competed in. However extra groups ran it for 1986, together with Staff Marko – as in Helmut Marko – in cahoots with AMG. The automotive’s comparatively subtle multi-link suspension took some time to good, however by the top of the 12 months the 190E was the automotive to beat. Marko’s driver Volker Weidler completed second within the championship. After this, Mercedes’ refusal to race waned, and increasingly Mercedes personnel had been seen within the paddock to help.

Nonetheless, in 1987 one other automotive spoilt Mercedes’ celebration. Not an Audi, this time, however a BMW: the brand new E30 BMW M3. It was quick out of the field and took the championship. On prime of that the turbo vehicles, just like the Ford Sierra Cosworth, had been making 500hp. Even when the turbo vehicles had been encumbered by a weight penalty, the 260hp 190E couldn’t compete with that. Mercedes used this 12 months as a preparation 12 months for a full, factory-backed assault in 1988, with AMG now its official associate. This led to a rise in energy for the two.3-litre to 300hp, earlier than finally extra oomph got here when the engine was stroked to 2.5-litres. And much more was deliberate.

In 1989, the group launched the two.5 Evolution I. 502 street vehicles needed to be produced to homologate it and, in race trim, energy was as much as round 315hp at 8,500rpm – due to a shorter stroke that allowed the next rev restrict. Different additions included adjustable suspension, wider tracks and an aero improve within the type of a rear wing. It received the primary race it entered, within the palms of Roland Asch. Mercedes now gave the impression to be odds-on favourites for the title, however inconsistencies with the automotive and its drivers meant Kurt Thiim was the highest-placed driver on the finish of the 12 months – he completed fourth. By now, although, the two.5 Evolution II was being ready. This may have within the area of 370hp and much more aero efficiency, honed within the wind tunnel. That included its sculpted arches and big rear wing, plus a second aerofoil on the prime of the rear display screen. It was mentioned to ship 70kg of downforce – 50kg on the again wheels and 20kg on the fronts.

It was launched on observe late in 1990, and BMW’s head of analysis and growth on the time, Wolfgang Reitzle, mentioned famously: ‘The legal guidelines of aerodynamics should be completely different between Munich and Stuttgart; if that rear wing works, we’ll have to revamp our wind tunnel.’ Apparently, ultimately, that is what BMW did. Though there was no Mercedes title in 1990, and nor was there in 1991, the automotive was clearly fast and, by 1992, the two.5-16 Evolution II was a power to be reckoned with. The races had been carefully fought between BMW and Mercedes, however with 16 wins out of 24 rounds, the 190E lastly had the title it lengthy deserved.

That’s the reason this 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II is such a historic automotive, and why it’s arguably definitely worth the huge determine it instructions immediately. A uncommon automotive – once more, they made simply 502 for homologation functions – and, no doubt, a uncommon deal with to see on this situation.

Specification | Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

Engine: 2,463cc, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated
Transmission: five-speed handbook, rear-wheel drive
Energy (hp): 235@7,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 181@5,000rpm
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1990
Recorded mileage: 71,000
Worth new: 115,259 deutschmarks
Yours for: £189,995

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