Factory Fresh 1990 Mercedes 190E Evo II Goes To Auction
Hard to believe that this outlandish machine was a product of the buttoned up culture found at Mercedes-Benz in the early 1990s. With its massive wing, flared wheel arches, and aggressive front splitter, the 190E Evo II looks more like something conceived in the Hot Wheels design studio rather than the same folks behind the W123 240D. The car simply defied convention, and in doing so, set Mercedes on the path that led them to building some of the most entertaining cars in their history, like the C63 AMG sedan and GLA 45 AMG. This isn't just an ultra-low milage example of a rare Mercedes, it's a integral piece of the company's history. It showed that they were not giving up the fight against the BMW E30 M3, it showed that they were willing to go overboard in the pursuit of victory. And perhaps most of all, it showed that they were not just about leisure and luxury. RELATED: See Photos of the 1990 Mercedes-Benz 19oE Evo II
The 190E Evo II was the best of both worlds, a homologation special unlike any other the world had seen. Here was a car that was built to compete with the smaller, lighter E30 M3, yet remain comfortable enough for daily use as a sedan. Up until this point, street legal race cars had been heavy on the "race" and light on the "street," but this car changed that. It essentially set the tone for later collaborations with AMG, and more recently has been the defining trait of many a Mercedes. What those newer cars lack is the undeniably fierce presence of the 190E Evo II, and that's what makes it so damn desirable.
You can point to the fact that only 502 examples of the 190E Evo II were built as a reason for people lusting after it. Having been squirreled away by a collector and driven just 885 miles since it was sold new in the U.K. by Lancaster Mercedes certainly adds to the provenance of this particular car. However, neither of those should be the main motivation for chasing the dream of owning this, or any other 190E Evo II. Yes, this is a genuine piece of both motorsport history and manufacturing history, but forget that, just look at the damn thing.
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Even if this car had 200,000 miles on it and was scratched, dented, rusted, or covered in pigeon droppings, it would still have more curb appeal that 90 percent of today's cars. The boxy roofline, imposing front grille, and hunkered down stance are all indicative of the era in which the 190E Evo II was born. Observed in profile, it's hard not to wonder what we lost when an emphasis was put on designing cars to be more aerodynamic and make less of an impact on their surroundings.
What we've gained in efficiency and performance doesn't fill the void either. Even the most utilitarian vehicles have the option for a "sport appearance" package, and are capable of matching the 6.9 second 0-60 time of the boxy Benz, but they lack any sort of authenticity. These cars were built with one purpose in mind, to dominate the competition on the track. That they were a hit with consumers then, and are a highly sought after collectors item now is simply a bonus.
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Source: Silverstone Auctions