This Insane Mercedes-Benz Homologation Special Has Room For Your Friends
Photography Courtesy of Bonhams via Brussels Oldtimers
I would imagine that buying a used Mercedes-Benz at the Bonhams Mercedes-Benz Sale—to be held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum next Saturday—would be a good way to ensure you’ve acquired a nice machine.
The sale is filled with various interesting models from the company’s past, from the early days until more modern vehicles, but one of the stars must undoubtedly be this 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution 2.
Besides being old enough to be legally imported into the U.S., it’s rare enough to see an Evolution 2 offered anywhere—let alone one with just 48,0000 kms. The car was delivered new to Spain and retains its Spanish “service history” according to Bonhams, but lacks its original service book.
The car itself has been refreshed as recently as last year, with restored bodywork, tires, and a recent service to ensure the car still drives as well as it should.
What makes this particular car, the 190E 2.5-16 Evolution 2, so special?
Built to take the fight to BMW’s E30 M3 DTM touring cars, the Evolution 2 was a homologation special that mated a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine worked over by British engine specialists Cosworth to a comprehensively upgraded chassis and body kit over the “normal” 190E.
With 231 horsepower and a top speed of more than 150 mph—plus upgraded brakes, wheels, tires, and suspension—it’s one under-the-radar way to get your friends to the opera quickly…if you’ll forget that there’s a massive Subaru Impreza WRX STI-sized rear spoiler out back.
Even over the Evolution 1, the engine was uprated to produce more power, thanks to changes to its compression, crankshaft, intake, exhaust, and redline—set at 7,800 rpm.
It’s one of 502 such Group A homologation “Evo II” specials made, though in period Mercedes-Benz was thoughtful enough to include leather seats, self-leveling suspension, and a smattering of toys appropriate for a 1990 luxury sedan. Amazingly, all were sold before being unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1990.
In a world where certain cars have become head-scratchingly pricey, at least the 190E has significant, hard-fought racing success to crow about: you’ll be able to tell your friends that Mercedes-Benz took home the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft Manufacturer’s Championship in both 1991 and 1992 with the 190E.
Or, buy it simply for its bad-ass exhaust pipe surround…
This car isn’t as sparse or as fast as, say, a road-going BMW E30 M3, but its steep asking price indicates that limited-production cars will likely always have a premium attached. Just don’t forget to share your new sedan with friends.
~231 horsepower, 2.5-litre inline 4-cylinder engine with fuel injection, five-speed manual transmission, independent front and rear self-leveling suspension. Power steering, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 104.9 in.
Chassis no. WDB2010361F735117
Engine no. 10299210000333