Cheap Cosworth? 1987 Mercedes 190E 2.3-16

As someone who is restoring a 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16, I immediately felt a slight twinge when I saw the opening bid on this example of just $3,500. Had I finally found a car that made me question my $800 junkyard-find purchase? Thankfully, no, as additional photos of the car as listed here on eBay help confirm that there’s more going on here than initially meets the eye, and I’ve still yet to find a car approaching what I paid that makes me second-guess my decisions.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Patrick S. for flagging this find. The Cosworth-tuned 190E is certainly appreciating in value right now, but I don’t know if it’s to the point yet that someone will want to take a chance on rebuilding this hard side impact. The seller notes he bought it back from insurance, so it still has a clean Massachusetts title – but he can’t afford to correct it.

In addition to the damage, the 190E 2.3-16 is one of many equipped with the ho-hum automatic and not the racing-inspired dogleg shift manual. The automatic really does curtail interest in these cars, and frankly, put this one firmly in the part-out category to me. The interior and engine will bring good money, along with what remains of the body kit.

When I was scoping out my car – which you can read about here in the most recent Barn Finds post – I committed early on that I wouldn’t pursue it if it was an automatic. Thankfully, my car has three pedals, but obviously a long way to go until it runs as well as a car like this. Do you think it should be restored, or is the damage too severe to warrant fixing?


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    It’s a hard hit and not an easy fix on a MB, you will need a 190E parts car and perhaps someone has one, it could all come together but with a ton of effort.

    Like 1
  2. davew833

    Just drive it as-is… no one uses that door anyway. ;) Sadly, I remember when you could buy running driving 2.3-16s for about that much. I looked at several.

    Like 1
    • Barry Traylor

      I doubt it would pass vehicle inspection in the state I live.

      Like 1
  3. art

    Hard hit and the seller avoids posting a picture of the affected C pillar. That should cause most to hit pause. Interest in that car, if not purely for parts, should be inspected by the bidder and his body man, especially underneath. According to the seller, there was no insurance claim made, so he’s going to get as much as the market will allow. Understandable. I had to chuckle about the sellers comment of “no boy racer” used this car but it looks like some type of racer slid it into a pole/tree. This is not a “drive as-is” vehicle as the drivers door may not properly latch, no rear glass and many states require a safety check before registration. Good luck with that.

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      B Pillar.
      Might not be able to open the doors so that it can be seen well. Certainly best to remove the rear one to get a good look. A relatively easy way to assess the degree to which the structure has been tweaked would be to set the car on a 4-wheel alignment machine. I suspect that the LR will have a not-insignificant amount of toe-in.

      This was indeed a pretty hard hit.

      Like 1
  4. Steve R

    What are they selling for in good condition? The none of the ones I saw on eBay sold and they were in the mid-teens.

    It’s a parts car and may very well be overpriced. Figure with a $3,500 asking price there needs to be close to $7,000 in parts to make it worthwhile.

    Steve R

    Like 2
  5. Roger

    This Mercedes BENDZ in the middle .

    Like 14
  6. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I don’t see a link to the ad for the featured car.

  7. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    We have added the link and updated the photos.

    Like 3
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Dang, second one you’ve featured in the past 2 weeks that are near me but not worth looking at.

    Like 1
  9. SebastianX1/9

    The picture with the little red BMW E30 behind it isn’t doing this listing any favors.

  10. Hunter Snyder

    Just slap a door on and enjoy :]

  11. CCFisher

    Looks to me like it slid into a tree or a utility pole. Very localized, uniform damage extending from roof to rocker panel.

    Like 2
  12. ace10

    Somehow the front tow hook cover survived the shock of the impact. I’m Blauschwartz with envy.
    Desperately seeking a tow hook cover

  13. pat gill

    so it is pictured on a car lift but no underside pictures!

    Like 2
  14. Louis Q Chen

    People here in this column failed to understand the term: THE BEST OR NOTHING! I hope it sounds familiar? As a retired shop owner-both mechanic and bodyshop, when you think M Benz=expensive! Unless you have tons of money to burn you might consider it. The last money pit I got involved in was a 1971 280 SEL 4.5. I loved this car so I took a chance on it and I’ve it till now. Some of former customer has changed allegiance now talks to me about the I called WANNABES- LEXUS, ACURA… although they’re good cars and the cost of their parts are just as expensive as the old world. So if YOU WANNA PLAY YOU GOTTA PAY!

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