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RE: Shed of the Week: Mercedes 190E

RE: Shed of the Week: Mercedes 190E

Friday 11th August

Shed of the Week: Mercedes 190E

New budget but an old favourite as Shed seeks out a sturdy Mercedes



Well, who would have thought it? A 50 per cent increase in the budget. Unlike real budgets, Shed's is virtual. It costs nothing to implement and is thus a very popular thing at PH Towers. Even so, the decision to ramp up the top qualifying limit from £1,000 to £1,500 was only taken after many minutes of fevered debate.

Splashing out with the new budget
Splashing out with the new budget
Shed did look at the usual £0-£1,000 range while researching this week's crop (honest), but in the end he couldn't resist blowing his entire expanded wad on the first of this exciting new breed of Shed.

As expected, there were plenty of attractive contenders, not least an Alfa 166 3.0, but the temptation of this Mercedes 190E was too strong to resist. Harking back to the era of monoblade windscreen wipers and airship-popping radio aerials seemed like an appropriate celebration of the fact that the new budget brings us comfortably back into the land of usable classics. Hurrah! As proof of that, the last decent 190E we featured was over four years ago. That's because sub-£1K specimens are rare now, their reputation for being 'the last properly made Merc' (yawn) having reversed the glacier-flow of asking prices back up the moraine of value, or something.

Anyway, the W201. It arrived in 1982 with a mission to take on the BMW 3 Series and lower the entry price of Mercedes ownership. With nearly 1.9 million sold, you could argue that it succeeded, even though many nations spurned it, regarding it (not entirely unfairly) as boring. You might think the same, but design genius Bruno Sacco rated it as one of his best efforts. That classically strait-laced body is what keeps it looking fresh today and, from most angles, certainly no worse than the contemporary E30 BMW.

Bet he's jealous in that E-Class...
Bet he's jealous in that E-Class...
It found a ready market among inveterate snobs living here in the UK. You can see why. Besides its relatively low price, they liked its deliberately non-radical design. It looked like a normal Merc, albeit one being seen from the wrong end of a telescope after a couple of gins up at the golf club.

The credit for what clever bits there were on the 190, like the cunning rear suspension arrangement, was usually matched by a debit elsewhere, in this case the area behind the front seats that would normally be occupied by the rear seat passengers' legs. It's still intended for that purpose, but you need legs like pipecleaners to fit in there, not giant legs such as those being dragged around by the human oil rig called Mrs Shed.

Being the 190E, this one has the 122hp version of the 1.8-litre slant four petrol plodder correctly mated to an auto gearbox rather than the muleish manual that Mercedes was kindly unloading on people at the time. Timing chains like to jump off the guides now and then, and injectors and head gaskets can fail just like they can in any car, but in general it's a pretty robust sort of drivetrain.

... yeah, you keep on driving past
... yeah, you keep on driving past
Jerkiness under load (make up your own Mrs Shed joke), lumpy idling and starting difficulties can be down to a cracked fuel pump relay, though the idling thing could also mean it's time for a new idle control valve (clue's in the name). Fuel pumps expire, and so does the motor for the aerial, but that's hardly surprising given the length of the blooming thing.

It's 25 years old, so despite the vendor's assurances about its solidity, the next owner would be mad not to watch out for approaching rust in areas like the boot floor, rear window frame, front strut top mounts, rear jacking points and the gearbox coolant pipe running from the top left corner of the radiator.

Apparently our Shed was SR in 2007, which may or may not be good news depending on what SR means. Given that the same family of doctors has owned it since 2000, we're going to go for 'sustained release', a medicinal term meaning a predetermined and consistent rate of drug administration.

Those up front fare better than those in the back!
Those up front fare better than those in the back!
That's not a bad description for the 190E ownership proposition. Some might say the drug in this case would be Valium or some other branded tranquilliser. Shed doesn't mind that definition. He enjoys a feeling of tranquility behind the wheel. It makes him feel, well, tranquil.

Funny word, tranquil. Tranquil. Keep saying it. Tranquil. Mmm.

Ow. Put that bat down. Here's the ad. Oooh, it feels all posh.

 

1992 K reg Mercedes Benz 190E 1.8 AUTOMATIC, Blue with Cream cloth interior, 1 years MOT, 106,000 miles, Owned by same family of Doctors for last 17 years, 3 keepers, Garage kept hence rust free body and very clean interior, All old MOTs and lots of Service history. Electric windows, Mirrors and Sunroof, Power steering ABS, New rear brakes (need adjusting), was SR in 2007

 

 


Author
Discussion

tomsugden

Original Poster:

1,354 posts

152 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Now that's a proper shed.

Ltd148

3 posts

77 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Could SR be Stolen / Recovered?

Richard-390a0

306 posts

15 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
SR meaning stolen recovered possibly?. I do like a 201 or E30 as both are pleasingly boxy memories of cars from my childhood.

Krikkit

11,010 posts

105 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Ah Shed, a budget nudge has blown a fresh wind of excellence. Great work.

Lowtimer

3,593 posts

92 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Ltd148 said:
Could SR be Stolen / Recovered?
Likely, yes. Would not be a factor for me at this price level, providing any damage had been properly repaired. It's survived another 10 years so they obviously didn't wreck the engine or transmission.

Edited by Lowtimer on Friday 11th August 09:37

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BFleming

515 posts

67 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
190's have crept up in value over the last couple of years, which I guess is down to rarity factor.
The obvious plus with this one is the auto box. The tax-avoiding 1.8 engine was never MB's finest hour though, so that's a big negative.
I owned 2, a 190D and a 190 2.3-16. The former was a comfortable wafter, and the latter was a blast - albeit a very rotten one.
I can't help but think some SOTWs lately cross over into classic car territory, but with this one being Stolen/Recovered I assume it has a CAT-something rating (even though the seller can't quite bring themselves to state those exact words).

Turbobanana

789 posts

125 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Now that is a car outstanding in its field.

Literally, in this instance.

Gruber

6,042 posts

138 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
My old 190E remains my favourite ever Central London runabout, thanks mainly to the "magic carpet ride" suspension, coupled with relatively compact size and timelessly classy looks. It was a marvellously relaxing thing to bimble about in.

Numeric

436 posts

75 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
I adored my 190E, it was an LE in crazy blue from the time when Sunroofs mattered and air-con was for wimps. I took it off my father when he was finished with it, I did loads of miles and continental trips etc and loved it, sold it to my brother in law for his sister in law who drove it for years.

The 1.8 was underpowered but with the lovely Merc auto of the day it actually never really felt left behind so although a 2.0 is preferable I wouldn't be put off.

Wonderful bulletproof Mercs from when comfort and quality were the priority - not infotainment!!

Edited by Numeric on Friday 11th August 09:49


Edited by Numeric on Friday 11th August 09:50

wack

1,737 posts

130 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
It shows up as a CAT D car so stolen recovered sounds right for SR

Blackpuddin

7,279 posts

129 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
BFleming said:
I can't help but think some SOTWs lately cross over into classic car territory
Is that a bad thing?

MrGeoff

269 posts

96 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
I've owned a couple of these, about 10 years ago myself and 2 mates loaded an almost exact spec one of these up (manual transmission though) with so much stuff, plastered it in stickers and drove round Europe as part of one of those rallies. It was a laugh but my god it struggled up the Stelvio pass, that 1.8 engine is asthmatic to say the least. Still, it did the journey from Croatia to Amsterdam in one without skipping a beat. It then swiftly blew it's head gasket coming off the ferry from Dover. We did get it home eventually, fixed her up, pulled off the stickers and sold it to a couple in Camden. I would have another but that 1.8 with the 4 speed auto box would be murder.

Perseverant

211 posts

35 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Well done! I've had mine for 11 years or so and it's still pretty sound at 27 years old now. Black, MB Tex grey interior and manual, which though I read about it being a clunky gearbox I don't find it bad at all. I think the comment about timing chains may apply to early versions as the engine in mine has a two row chain, which seems a wee bit over engineered. Up here in bleakest Scotland rust is more of a problem, which required a rear suspension rebuild and some careful welding. Also took the point re. the aerial as mine got knocked to bits by a low branch when I avoided a cement lorry! Fuel pump, yes. Relay for same, yes. Watch for rusty wheelarches too.

J4CKO

22,775 posts

124 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
I do like a 190 and that ticks a few boxes, dowdy colour, MB Tex and placcy wheel disks, holiday taxi spec.


However, 107 bhp with an old school auto might make for a turgid level of acceleration, well, its a bit of a given isnt it ? probably the wrong side of frustrating but I guess you might get used to it.


2 GKC

300 posts

29 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Aged well that. Cool like a lot of old mercs

Limpet

2,459 posts

85 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
There's a fine line between sedate and gutless, but it's a cool car. The W201 has aged a lot better than the W202 or W203 IMO.

dotgillingham

26 posts

19 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Welcome back, Shed!

AC43

5,539 posts

132 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Gruber said:
My old 190E remains my favourite ever Central London runabout, thanks mainly to the "magic carpet ride" suspension, coupled with relatively compact size and timelessly classy looks. It was a marvellously relaxing thing to bimble about in.
If I could persuade the Mrs I'd have that tomorrow for the city runabout. Quite a few people I know run 190's or 124's round town.

Dale487

470 posts

47 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all

It had to be a £1500 shed for the first week after the 50% increase - it would have been a waste of the increased budget otherwise.

But I can't help but feel that a 190E isn't the most interesting car for £1500, I think the Alfa 166 would have been a better bet.

If the new increased budget for SOTW can't bring different (and hence interesting) cars into scope may be we do need to increase it to £2000 - I can't believe I've suggested that - but I'll leave it a while before making a final decision.

V8 FOU

2,265 posts

71 months

Friday 11th August
quotequote all
Despite the above comments this is one great shed!

Bought one recently for the old chap for £1100, auto,2.0 - no rust and great to drive.
He's made up with it at 95 years old (him, not the car) - so much better than the pos Skoda superb which spent more time in a garage than on the road.