The CarAdvice team reveals what's hidden away in their sheds and backyards awaiting some TLC.
This tingle of joy when you find the right clip, or a replacement cap is one thing, but the outright thrill of locating some hard to find components is almost too exciting to put into words.
But, since I am putting it into words, I hope you can understand the elation I felt when fellow Mercedes-Benz 190E owner, and regular CarAdvice reader Tim, shot me a note on Instagram to say he knew of a set of 'correct' 190E Sportline wheels for sale.
As pointed out by ex-190E owner and valued commenter Chris, the iconic 15-hole 'Gullideckel' wheels that defined the stance of nearly all Mercedes-Benz models in the '80s and '90s come in many different versions.
Or to be more correct, they come in many, many, many different versions.
To the uninitiated, they all look the same.
Flat-faced with fifteen uniform holes around the edge, thus earning the nickname 'Gullideckel', or 'man hole cover'. They were offered in a number of rim sizes and widths, and even those were offered in multiple offsets. This means a set of 16-inch wheels for a W124 are not the same as the wheels for a W126. Conversely, they also aren't the same as the 16x8-inch wheels from the 190E Cosworth, which only match those supplied on the R129 300SL.
On top of that, style-tuners Lorinser and Carlsson also produced their own take on the rims.
In terms of my car, the regular 190E wheels are 15x6J and the correct-fitment Sportline wheels are 15x7J, and without sounding too crude, that extra inch really does matter.
To go full anorak on the wheels, the Sportline rims have a more ovoid style hole than the regular rectangle. And when you're this far down the Mercedes-Benz wheels hole, it is details like this that matter!
So with the rare wheels located, I went out to visit the seller who is not only a great guy, but the oracle of all things W201. We chatted for a while and I have to say, it is these types of experience that make even modern-classic car ownership so much more valuable than the cars themselves!
They had sat for a bit of time, so needed to be acid-dipped to remove the old paint and years of grime, and are now ready to have all the edges cleaned up and get repainted. Without question, they will be the best-looking part of the car!
To compliment them, I popped past Mercedes-Benz Melbourne and was able to grab a set of brand new tri-star centre caps from the parts department. One of the beauties of dealing with the German brands, as I have found this the same with BMW and Porsche, is the historic parts catalogues are detailed, and the reasonably consistent manufacture and supply of components ensure parts are usually available.
In parallel to all this, one of the 'old Mercedes parts' accounts I follow on Instagram advertised the correct Sportline flank badges and Sportline motif gear shifter for sale. They were original stock located in Russia, and after a bit of too-ing and fro-ing to send money (it seems Westpac doesn't like random US-currency to Russia transactions), they are now winging their way to Melbourne in a neatly packed Soviet candy box.
These items essentially complete the car (I'd still add a proper fire extinguisher under the passenger seat if I could find one), leaving just that pesky respray as a massively complex and expensive finishing touch.
It is not on the cards for now, however, so I am looking forward to having the wheels completed and fitted as a rewarding middle ground!
I've even arranged something fun for the 6-inch spare!
In the interim, there is a set of neat-but-used 15x6J regular 190E wheels for sale. I'll even throw in everyone's favourite Barcelona-based, Chinese-produced, Singaporean-distributed 'Membat Enjoy' motorsport tyres for no extra charge!
Current Status – New wheels getting painted, other goodies in transit.
Odometer – 213,782km
Next up – Dress up time!
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