Friday, December 13, 2013

5k: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V W201 Cosworth

The Mercedes-Benz W201 chassis was another evolution of Mercedes low end luxury sedans, known today as the C-Class.  Mercedes was anxious to do well in touring car racing, so they built a road version with a hopped-up engine and sold it around the world for homologation purposes.  The 190E 2.3-16V Cosworth model actually beat the infamous E30 M3 to the market but today is a much thriftier alternative.  Find this 1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V W201 Cosworth for sale in Metairie, Jefferson Parish, LA via craigslist.  Tip from Joshua T.

The 2.3-16V Cosworth cars are powered by a 2.3 liter inline-4 with a DOHC head designed by Cosworth and produced 167 horsepower and 162 ft-lbs of torque.  The racing version was certainly cooler, but for road going purposes the 2.3-16V was a powerful engine when compared to most other mid eighties 4-bangers.

 The 2.3-16V is famous for the dog-leg 5-speed gearbox mating it to the rear wheels.  Don't worry, no dogs were harmed in the making of the gearbox -it is simply a term designating the fact that first gear is located up and to the left 2nd gear is located up and center.  In theory the number of 1st-2nd gear changes on a track are limited, so allowing 2nd-3rd gear changes to be a simple up/down procedure will give you a faster track car.  In practice you will fight and curse at this shifter every time you get into the car from another "conventional" 5-spd until you get re-acquainted. 

The only issue we see with this Cossie is that the rear end is strangely low, it is the big easy, so perhaps Ignatius Reilly is sleeping in the back seat.  See a better dog-leg shifted classic? email us here:  


  1. You have the dogleg part flipped Sir. 1st is down and to the left where 2nd typically lives, and reverse is where 1st typically lives. Ask me how many bloody times I've started off in reverse at stoplights in my friend's 190E 2.3 16v, much to the horror of the people behind us (and the giddy delight of my friend riding shotgun).

  2. Additionally, the rear is low because (according to the listing), the self leveling suspension is hosed. This system is similar-to-but-not-the-same-as the Nivomat system in some of the late 80's early 90's Volvo wagons.

    This system uses (correct me if I'm wrong) a cam-driven pump and reservoirs or accumulators at the rear corners attached via hose to the rear shock absorbers to keep the rear of the car level. It can be an expensive fix.

    On the cheap the non-SLS shocks and springs can be swapped in, but if you want to retain the factory SLS, brace your wallet.

  3. I want this car but not for $7500.

  4. I think he's got a couple of Bales of Weed in the Trunk - the Back is Low & the Front is looking at at the Sky!

  5. This falls into the lumpy, bumpy and crunchy department. Top dollar for a clean car is just over $14 grand.

    Crispy leather seats, grungy carpets, failed SLS rear suspension and no under-hood or under chassis shots for $7500? I think they have been smoking off that bale boys. Of course the ask & buy are most always two different things and these guys are dealers, not hoarders.

  6. NM and NA, but I like this one better


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