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The hammer has fallen on the first Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II to ever go up for public auction in the United States, and it brought an impressive $220,000 at RM Sotheby's sale in Arizona. This one even had additional modifications for being better on the track, but the previous owner never raced it.

The 190E Evo II was the ultimate homologation special for Mercedes’ successful touring car racing program of the era. For the first evolution of the potent platform, Cosworth bored out the original 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine to 2.5-liters. By the time of this car, additional tuning allowed it to make 235 horsepower (175 kilowatts). The muscle routed to the rear through a five-speed manual gearbox with dogleg first gear.

1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

The 190E Evo II is beautiful in how purposeful it looks, especially in this very dark shade of gray. A huge front splitter, muscular fender flares, and a gargantuan wing tell everyone that this beast’s sole job is to slice through the air.

1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II
1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

The interior skirts the line between a racecar and a vehicle for the road. The seats have massive bolsters for holding the driver in place for when trying to pass a BMW M3. The few gauges in front of the driver are simple and clear, but a complete array of less important info is available from the dials on the center stack.

According to RM Sotheby's listing, the previous owner added performance parts like a racing-spec exhaust manifold, a customer header tank, larger injectors, a fuel cell, and Motec engine management. Brembo Monobloc brakes haul this beastly touring car down at high speed. There’s also extra chassis bracing. The DTM-spec OZ wheels look fantastic, too.

With just 3,267 miles (5,258 kilometers) on the clock, there’s a lot of life left in this beautiful machine. We hope the new owner uses this classic Mercedes on the road and track where it belongs.

Source: RM Sotheby's

Photo Credit: Robin Adams 2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

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Gallery: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II Auction

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II

To be auctioned on Friday, January 20, 2017

Sold for $220,000

Chassis no. WDB2010361F734005


235 bhp, 2,463 cc Cosworth DOHC inline four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with lower control arms, independent five-link rear suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 104.9 in.

The first Evo II offered publicly in North America
One of 502 Cosworth-powered homologation specials
One of the most successful DTM race cars, winning the title three years running
5,000 original kilometers; collector owned in Japan for two decades, never raced
DTM upgrades, including Motec ECU and OZ DTM-specification wheels

Of the cars homologated for the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in the late 1980s, BMW’s M3 is credited for some of the Motorsports Division’s finest work. However, BMW’s fiercest competitor also produced its own incredible homologation special. That car is the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 Cosworth.

The partnership between famed engineering firm Cosworth and Mercedes-Benz began as a project to compete in Group B with the 190 E. However, the domination of the all-wheel-drive Audi Quattro quickly put the project on hold.

Mercedes-Benz shifted focus toward touring car racing. The W201 chassis was beefed up with larger anti-roll bars, harder bushings, limited-slip differential, quicker dampers, and a faster steering ratio. Additionally, Getrag provided the five-speed dogleg gearbox to ensure fast and easy gear selection. Cosworth took the standard M104 2.3-liter 8-valve engine and fitted a light alloy cylinder head along with dual-overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. Continued development on the car resulted in an increase in engine displacement to 2.5 liters in 1988 and the Evolution variants of the 190 Cosworth.

The initial Evo model overhauled the platform into a thoroughbred racer by installing a tuned version of the 2.5-liter motor. A higher rev limiter, 3.27:1 axle ratio, larger brakes, and better tires meant that the Evolution accelerated and stopped better than any 190 E. Further enhancements included wider front and rear tracks, stiffer adjustable suspension, and revised bodywork. For the Evo II model, Mercedes-Benz refined the developments of the Evo I. Again, the engineers managed to squeeze out more power to an impressive 235 horsepower. Brembo four-piston calipers were in charge of bringing the car to a rest. The true highlight of the Evo II is the aero kit that features a towering rear spoiler, imposing fender flairs, and an even more aggressive front splitter.

The W201 chassis had finally reached the peak of success in 1992 when the Evo II took the overall victory in the 1992 DTM championship.

While the phrase “race car for the road” rarely finds itself attached to cars befitting of the expression, this Evo II is a rare exception. The previous owner, finding the car not quite hardcore enough, upgraded a number of components from the DTM racers in order to increase the car’s overall performance. Racing exhaust manifold, full exhaust, intake manifold, custom header tank, individual throttle bodies, larger injectors, lightweight aluminum pulley, fuel cell system, and a Motec engine management system encompass the drivetrain upgrades. Additionally, chassis bracing, Brembo Monobloc brakes, larger suspension links, and DTM-specification OZ wheels keep the car planted through the turns.

With only 5,000 kilometers, this exceptional 190 E 2.5-16 stands as a unique and well cared for example of an already rare machine. As the first Evo II offered publically in North America, it is a must-have for any serious Mercedes-Benz and modern sports car collector.

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