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Lot '56: Mercedes-Benz 190E Cosworth 2.3-16v

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (23 June 2010)

In 1979 Mercedes-Benz decided that it was time for them to re-enter the world of production car racing so they turned to Cosworth Engineering to add a bit of fire to their new range of saloon cars, labelled the 190. Cosworth developed a 16-valve cylinder head for the 2.3 litre M102 engine which resulted in 185bhp and was good for 0-60 in 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 145mph. The chassis was also considerably upgraded over the standard 190 with sports suspension, quicker steering, limited slip diff, ABS brakes, ADS traction control, an aerodynamic bodykit to reduce lift and drag, and a larger fuel tank.

In August 1983, one month before the official launch of the car, three Cosworths were sent to the Nardo testing facility in Italy where they set three world records and twelve international endurance records by running flat out non-stop (apart from refuelling) for 50,000km (31,250 miles) at a combined average speed of 154.06mph. This astonishing feat was achieved with no modifications from standard except the removal of the door mirrors, the headlamp and windscreen wipers and the fitment of a 2.65:1 ratio rear axle.

The Cosworth Mercedes was also immensely successful in the German DTM Touring Car Championships, winning 50 races and numerous DTM titles, often blowing BMW's M3 into the weeds. It was given a larger 2.5-litre engine in 1988 (though this was no faster and the free-revving 2.3 is the one most rated by purists) and remained in production until 1993.

First registered in October 1987, this Smoke Silver 2.3 automatic was sold new by Bradshaw & Webb of Chelsea to the director of the De Beers diamond company in London, Edward Dawe. It cost £29,975 as the original purchase invoice states  a considerable sum of money in those days. The car was then owned by the De Beers fleet manager, Raymond Chalkley, in whose name it remained until late last year. A top spec model, factory options included air conditioning; cruise control; rear head rests; electric driver's seat; electric sunroof; outside air temperature gauge; illuminated vanity mirror; anti-theft system and fire extinguisher.

Said to be in excellent condition throughout and to drive beautifully, the car comes with a large service history from new including all old MOTs back to 1994 (at 46,000 miles) to verify the current recorded total of 101,400 miles. The timing chain and tensioners were replaced at 79,545 miles and the car has one of the quietest Cosworth engines that we have ever heard. It comes with all its original handbooks, the original sales brochure and purchase invoice and has a current MOT.

Your cataloguer has run a couple of these cars and considers them to be one of the finest, most underrated sports saloons ever made. This one looks great value at the guide price suggested today.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
TypeCar
Lot Number'56
Estimate£4500-£5500
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£5100
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1987
Condition rating0
Registration numberE837 KYW
Mileage-
Chassis numberWDB2010342F425235
Engine number10298322002391
Engine capacity (cc)2299
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors