Mercedes-Benz 190 1990 e sportline

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Project Cars: 1990 Mercedes-Benz W201 190E 2.0 Sportline

The CarAdvice team reveals what's hidden away in their sheds and backyards awaiting some TLC.

I've owned quite a number of cars over the years, but as someone who tends to skew towards Europe, it struck me as strange that I had never owned a Mercedes-Benz. We had a couple growing up, a white W123 300D and a Thistle Green W124 230E, and that era of '80s and '90s Benz has always been a favourite. So when the opportunity came up to buy a rather special 190E, I couldn't resist.

This is a 1990 W201 190E 2.0 Sportline, featuring the period-correct 'pre-merger' AMG front bar and steering wheel. The 190E, affectionately known as the 'baby Benz', covered the full gamut of uses, from diesel taxis through to the mighty 2.5-16 Evolution II homologated DTM car.

Mine sits somewhere at the lower end, still packing the 89kW/175Nm 2.0-litre 4-cylinder and four-speed auto transmission, but garners more interest due to the 'blue-black' paint (the same as on the Evolution model) and factory body kit. The fact the previous owner had plates that would lead you to think it might have been a sportier Cosworth model didn't hinder the process.

While it looks quite good in photos, there are a few elements that need some TLC, the biggest being the paintwork. Over the coming updates I'll share some of the work that went in to getting it roadworthy, and what is needed to get the classic four-speaker Becker Europa tape deck bumping some quality West Coast beats.

I'll then turn my attention to the body and run through the very organised process of finding parts through the Mercedes-Benz databases online.

To say she is a cruiser would be the most apt description. The epitome of taking it easy and driving a slow car slow is what a classic 'Benz is all about!

It makes the family tree a nicely diverse one, with paints now conveniently 'black' (BMW X3), 'blue' (Pug 308) and 'blue-black'.

  • Current Status: Weekend cruising, getting used to each other.
  • Odometer: 212,000km
  • Next: Getting the 'mighty one-ninety' roadworthy and on to Victorian Club Permit registration
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