RE: Mercedes marks 40 years of the 190

RE: Mercedes marks 40 years of the 190

Author
Discussion

Motormatt

422 posts

202 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Fond memories of tooling about in a 190 2.3-16v as a teenager in the 90's.

Somewhat incredibly given how expensive insurance for new drivers is now, my best mate was insured in his Dads gold 190 2.3-16v, and needless to say we didn't need to try very hard to find an excuse to go for a drive in it.

I remember the vault-like build quality and we certainly got some strange looks being so young. He was a competitive karter and didn't have an issue using all the available performance when the opportunity arose but I never thought it felt that fast.

Things have moved on since then, imagine letting a 17 year old loose in a C63 today.


JB5

15 posts

129 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I'm in the fortunate position to be able to have a 190E 2.6 as my daily driver - 32 years old and 205k miles! Such a car could never be factory fresh, but the enduring quality of the engineering is incredible. No creaks or rattles from the interior, the engine remains smooth and revs out beautifully to the 6,200 redline, and the bodywork is remarkably free from rust. The standout for me is the sophistication of the 5 link rear suspension - complete stability both on power and off, with ability to handle mid corner bumps without deviating from its cornering line, standing comparison with any new car. And the car is so compact - in particular in width - narrower than a modern supermini - ideal for navigating city streets and narrow country lanes. This really was the first "modern" Mercedes, creating the engineering template for everything else that followed it.

ClaphamGT3

10,449 posts

227 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
To give some sense of how modern the W201 was forty years ago, here's a picture of the compact executive saloon that Mercedes were making 40 years before 1982;


Missy Charm

303 posts

12 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Rostyle said:
So the 190E and 3 series were very very expensive at the time , you were getting golf/escort sized interiors with a really poor standard specification. I guess that's why the majority of company car user choosers took SD1s, Granadas, Carltons etc , much bigger much higher spec etc . I suppose if your company car is to last 2-3 years do you care its built to last 40 years ? The other issue was the UK was not the same as today , people were not obsessed with perceived image , that came later with the advent of PCPs .
People did care about image, although in different ways to now. Lots, for example, wouldn't have wanted a German car as a matter of principle. Lots of company car schemes, too, had British only clauses in the agreements. 'British' was used in the loosest possible sense, as Granadas and Carltons were being made in Germany by that point too.

Those small Mercedes, in the 1990s, seemed desperately naff: the preserve of nouveau riche pretenders; not a proper Mercedes, and horribly pretentious. The Cosworth one never had the street cred of their Sierra, either. Funny to think, now.

shih tzu faced

2,010 posts

33 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
A really great car, I’ve never even driven one but just know I’d love it. There’s something just so satisfying about them, can’t quite put my finger on it.

Funnily enough though it’s not the performance versions that do it for me, but the more humble 2.0 and 2.6 versions. Ideally with an auto box and no daft spoilers or body kit, and definitely not those hideous aftermarket chrome wheel arch trims that so many old Mercs have been vandalised with.

BFleming

3,230 posts

127 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I saw this one-page Alan Day ad in a 1988 Autotrader recently...


The same Autotrader has the following list prices...


Little wonder these cars were considered depreciation proof at the time - the price of the extras must have bumped the list price up no end.

alex.baker89

86 posts

46 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Gotta love a 190.

I've always been fanatic about E30s since I was a kid, but have a soft spot for the 190, as my Dad has owned one since 1991.

His is a black 2.3 16v manual, but with 214,000 on the clock. It's been off the road since 2000 and we keep saying we'll have to get it restored, as the condition is worse than the 'project' linked for sale in the article. At 18 grand I think that's ridiculous, as unobtainable parts and dreaded rust means an expensive restoration on your hands.

Nevertheless they're great cars. My dad's covered its 214k miles without ever missing a beat. Apart from regular servicing and the usual consumables, it's only ever had a new timing chain (and that was preventative maintenance). It just kept going forever. I can't think of many other cars that wear their miles as well as an old Merc. The R&D that went into building those cars must have been absolutely insane. Every switch still feels sturdy and solid.

Edited by alex.baker89 on Wednesday 23 November 17:25

Kawasicki

Original Poster:

11,788 posts

219 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Missy Charm said:
People did care about image, although in different ways to now. Lots, for example, wouldn't have wanted a German car as a matter of principle. Lots of company car schemes, too, had British only clauses in the agreements. 'British' was used in the loosest possible sense, as Granadas and Carltons were being made in Germany by that point too.

Those small Mercedes, in the 1990s, seemed desperately naff: the preserve of nouveau riche pretenders; not a proper Mercedes, and horribly pretentious. The Cosworth one never had the street cred of their Sierra, either. Funny to think, now.
Small Mercedes in the 90‘s didn’t seem desperately naff to me. I just thought of them as the small Mercedes.

Why did people wrongly think that they weren’t proper Mercedes?

ducnick

1,482 posts

227 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Rostyle said:
So its the early 80s , new company car, my Dad's choice comes down to Rover 2600s, Audi100CD , or Merc190E. The BMW 320i was quickly discounted as it looked similar to the 70s model ( if you look at next gen E36 there is definitely a hint of 190E , even BMW knew their shape was old hat in the mid 80s...) Audi 100 no good as I think it was just too long. So we knew that 190E was beautifully engineered but it was so expensive and so small inside ,sadly it was discounted early on . We ended up getting the Rover 2600s face-lift version which was actually very nice . Still hanker after a 2.0l 190E after all these years ,auto as I've heard the manual isn't that great.
We need a forum thread on “interesting mistakes my dad made” where we can detail this sort of thing for future generations. I clearly remember my dad trying to decide on a family car and narrowing it down to : Alfa 164 ts, Saab 95 (I think), Citroen XM. I went with him to look at them all, suggesting he might want to look at a bmw 520i maybe or a Merc e220. I was all over the Alfa, even suggesting he should get a 3.0 and throw caution to the wind… but he ended up with a Citroen xm 2.0

cerb4.5lee

24,942 posts

164 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
ducnick said:
Rostyle said:
So its the early 80s , new company car, my Dad's choice comes down to Rover 2600s, Audi100CD , or Merc190E. The BMW 320i was quickly discounted as it looked similar to the 70s model ( if you look at next gen E36 there is definitely a hint of 190E , even BMW knew their shape was old hat in the mid 80s...) Audi 100 no good as I think it was just too long. So we knew that 190E was beautifully engineered but it was so expensive and so small inside ,sadly it was discounted early on . We ended up getting the Rover 2600s face-lift version which was actually very nice . Still hanker after a 2.0l 190E after all these years ,auto as I've heard the manual isn't that great.
We need a forum thread on “interesting mistakes my dad made” where we can detail this sort of thing for future generations. I clearly remember my dad trying to decide on a family car and narrowing it down to : Alfa 164 ts, Saab 95 (I think), Citroen XM. I went with him to look at them all, suggesting he might want to look at a bmw 520i maybe or a Merc e220. I was all over the Alfa, even suggesting he should get a 3.0 and throw caution to the wind… but he ended up with a Citroen xm 2.0
One for me would be when my Dad went to test drive(with me sat next to him) a nearly new 3dr Sierra Cosworth and he didn't buy it! I was gutted to say the least. He did buy a 2.9 Sierra XR4x4 a few years later which I liked though(and I eventually bought it off him).

There is just something that really grabs me about the 190E for some reason, and I always get excited if I see one on the telly if I'm watching a programme that is based on the past for example.

0a

23,704 posts

178 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I love mine. They really do have a big Merc distilled down to a small Merc feeling to them. With the sweet 2.6 engine, it’s fine in modern traffic (though really you just potter about in them). I am very happy doing my usual 320 mile trip in it.








It’s reasonably low miles (bought at 70k, now 82k), and doesn’t have a cracked dash. Bit of a time warp really. Just need to get the diff I sourced fixed (common 190 issue)!

I even have the original bill of sale which is nice - £25k though back in 1988 was fairly chunky though!



Edited by 0a on Wednesday 23 November 18:08

dibblecorse

6,468 posts

176 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Great cars, I can remember late 80s and early 90s driving past Rude Mercs in Hackney admiring the neat row of kitted, lowered 190E's they had on offer ....

aston addict

363 posts

142 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
stickleback123 said:
Nicolas Lazar said:
Opportunity to ponder what core qualities of the real life / every day passenger car have been improved since then. Real qualities, not gimmicks.
All of them. Every single one.

These and the E30 were leagues ahead of the mainstream crap (particularly Ford) at the time but the same gulf between manufacturers doesn't exist these days, and in terms of every objective measure practically any modern car blows these into the water.

People like them today for subjective reasons, which is fine of course, but there aren't any objective measures by which they are better besides perhaps ergonomics compared to cars with touch screens. I know people who've bought into the internet hype about how wonderful these, W124s, Volvo 700/900s and the like are and have spunked money only to find that... they're really not.
So true! Remember what the E30 and 190 were up against - Sierra and Cavalier for example. Just look at the E30 interior now - dash curved around the driver, logical, well-laid out controls, soft-touch plastic, high quality velour or leather, clear instrumentation, and the same for the 190. Compare that to the Sierras etc of the same age - there was no comparison.

Now the gap has closed so much, interiors nearly all have similar quality - and some manufacturers (think VW, some Mercedes) seem to be getting worse interiors...

tyrrell

1,637 posts

192 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I worked for Majestic garage in Bournemouth, we were the main agent in the 80’early 90’s I have the distinction of selling our first stock vehicle 190E auto in light green metallic.

It went to a Mr Heaton who lived in St Leonard’s it was a massive deal for us to finally have a small car to sell, although by the time you optioned them up they were very expensive.

PRN2K

69 posts

99 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
I can't fake much enthusiasm for the product as a driver's car as BMW consistently seemed more in tune with that demand, but I did admire the innovative packaging solution of equal length primaries for the RHD 16V Cosworth exhaust (due to a clash with the steering column) - which provided the inspiration for my Morris Minor 16V design (shot during cam bedding in)....




Snow and Rocks

722 posts

11 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
cerb4.5lee said:
That was what hit me at the time back in 1995 when I drove an E200. I couldn't believe how terrible the spec was, and it felt very cheap inside to me with its cloth interior and the lack of mod cons.

My Dad had a 1993 Granada Scorpio 24v back in 1994(he still has it now) so I was used to that though. That had a leather interior and pretty much everything was electric in it with lots of mod cons. The Merc felt low rent to me in comparison, but I think Merc were going downhill in 1995 in comparison to how Mercs were in the past if I remember correctly though.
I don't think comparing the spec of an E200 to a Granada Scorpio is the very fair. They might have been similarly priced but yout money went on quality and engineering with the Merc.

My folks had a Granada Scorpio with the 2.8 and then added a well equipped E300-24 alongside. The Merc was in a different league.

The Granada was a decent comfy barge of a thing but pretty basic to drive and, as time went on, despite being roughly the same age turned into a rusty basketcase while the w124 still felt like a decent car.

Both were replaced by a new w210 E320 when they came out - great car, crap paint!

They also had an early 190 for a while but I was too young to remember much about it.

BFleming

3,230 posts

127 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
PRN2K said:
I can't fake much enthusiasm for the product as a driver's car as BMW consistently seemed more in tune with that demand, but I did admire the innovative packaging solution of equal length primaries for the RHD 16V Cosworth exhaust (due to a clash with the steering column) - which provided the inspiration for my Morris Minor 16V design (shot during cam bedding in)....



The RHDs were about 20bhp down on the LHD variant because of that exhaust arrangement - as beautiful as it was!

cerb4.5lee

24,942 posts

164 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
Snow and Rocks said:
cerb4.5lee said:
That was what hit me at the time back in 1995 when I drove an E200. I couldn't believe how terrible the spec was, and it felt very cheap inside to me with its cloth interior and the lack of mod cons.

My Dad had a 1993 Granada Scorpio 24v back in 1994(he still has it now) so I was used to that though. That had a leather interior and pretty much everything was electric in it with lots of mod cons. The Merc felt low rent to me in comparison, but I think Merc were going downhill in 1995 in comparison to how Mercs were in the past if I remember correctly though.
I don't think comparing the spec of an E200 to a Granada Scorpio is the very fair. They might have been similarly priced but yout money went on quality and engineering with the Merc.

My folks had a Granada Scorpio with the 2.8 and then added a well equipped E300-24 alongside. The Merc was in a different league.

The Granada was a decent comfy barge of a thing but pretty basic to drive and, as time went on, despite being roughly the same age turned into a rusty basketcase while the w124 still felt like a decent car.

Both were replaced by a new w210 E320 when they came out - great car, crap paint!

They also had an early 190 for a while but I was too young to remember much about it.
Certainly a bit unfair comparing a top of the range Ford with a bottom of the range Merc I agree. However that was my first experience of a Mercedes though, so my expectations were naturally very high understandably(given Mercs reputation for class/quality, plus I was also only used to Fords as well).

I would've loved a go in a well specced/decent engined version of the E-Class at the time though for sure. coolthumbup

I've always had a serious soft spot for the 500E/E500 too. smokin

Dapster

6,261 posts

164 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
My dad had a series of pov spec W123s during the 80s before moving onto a "B" reg 190E in 1985 - astral silver, blue cloth, followed by a blue black/black 2.6. As my siblings and I were growing up, we couldn't fit in the back so up next was a W124 300E.

It's very clear to anyone who has experienced an 80's Merc exactly what you paid for - it wasn't the graphic equalizer or fancy alloys, but the ridiculously well thought through design and indestructible build. The "click" on the hazard switch or the weight of the metal interior door handle, or the boot mounted warning triangle that practically needed 2 of you to remove!

Having said that, if you had the money you could option a Merc to a level that would make a 2.8i Ghia X Granada blush - the price list was something to behold. I remember the German export price list in 1980 something listing the Becker car phone - it cost about the same as a basic 190.

Some great retro Merc nerdage to be had here https://www.oudemercedesbrochures.nl/Engels_index....

The 2.3 and 2.5-16v (and of course the Evos) were the poster children but there were a few comedy moments.

The prototype only fully electric 1990 Elektro




And my favourite, the brand-manager-on-acid Avantgarde Azzuro with the most bonkers interior colour designs in history!








One for sale here half a million kmand still €22k !!

https://suchen.mobile.de/fahrzeuge/details.html?id...



CardinalFang

570 posts

152 months

Wednesday 23rd November
quotequote all
L626 GYR my first company car, a 190 2.0 LE automatic. A run out model I spotted at the back of the dealer (Lower Thames Street) after my boss & I had test driven a C180. I couldn’t believe my allowance (£300pm) would get me that thing. It had, wait for it…4, yes FOUR speakers, electric front windows, electric sunroof and a walnut dash. I called my dad to tell him I’d chosen my car. “Dad, it’s a Mercedes Benz”. “Son, they must think the world of you”. Fabulous thing to left foot brake & really regret I couldn’t find the cash to buy it at the end of the agreement. £16k I think it was. D@mn.