A stunning M3 Sport Evo and 190E Evo II take their on-track battle to the auction block at Silverstone Auctions' next sale.

The BMW M3 and Mercedes 190E Cosworth went head to head in Group A touring car racing during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the last, ultimate versions of these legendary machines are once again competing against each - this time, on the auction block.

Silverstone Auctions has consigned a 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution and a 1990 Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II for its NEC Classic Motor Show sale in Birmingham, England on November 12. You’ll need deep pockets to buy them, both carrying a top estimate of £115,000 ($143,500).

BMW unleashed the E30 M3 in 1986, sporting a naturally-aspirated, 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine. It didn’t have the outright firepower of the monstrous Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 then dominating Group A racing, but it made up for the deficit with pin-sharp handling, running rings around the turbocharged opposition. Titles were won in the German, Australian, British, and World championships - indeed, the M3 is the only car to collect more crowns than the Porsche 911.

The Sport Evolution - also known as Evo III - was launched in 1989. Just 600 road cars were built with a 2.5-liter motor serving up 235 horsepower (175 kilowatts) and extra aerodynamic aids, including an adjustable rear spoiler. This example is one of only 204 finished in Brilliant Red. It came well-optioned from the factory, then the first owner upgraded it with AC Schnitzer suspension and bodywork.

The car is in excellent condition and comes with a comprehensive history file to back up its 65,002 miles (104,610 kilometers). The sale price is estimated at £95,000 to £115,000 ($118,500 to $143,500).

The 190E Cosworth was originally developed for rallying, but focused switched to racing when it came clear rear-wheel drive wouldn’t cut it. Its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine was built by Cosworth, and the chassis was honed to near perfection.

Mercedes concentrated its factory efforts on the German DTM series, which the M3 won in 1987 and 1989. To keep pace, Mercedes launched the astonishing Evo II in 1990. Its engine was tuned up to 235 hp (175 kW), the suspension hunkered down, and it wore probably the wildest bodykit ever fitted to a production car. And yet the interior was fitted out to the same levels of luxury as any other high-end Merc.

On the race track, the Evo II secured two Manufacturer’s and one Driver’s crown in the DTM - BMW wouldn’t win again until 2012.

This one is finished in slightly sinister Blauschwartz, and has recently undergone some light tidying and recommissioning - it has only covered 25,500 miles (41,000 km). It’s an absolute stunner now. It carries an estimate of £100,000 to £115,000. ($124,800 to $143,500).

Silverstone Auctions boss Nick Whale said: “These are two very sought after homologation cars and to have them both available at one of our auctions is a real treat and a very rare opportunity for buyers.”

Which would you buy?

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