With the BMW M3 Sport Evolution was released for DTM homologation, Mercedes Benz responded in March 1989 with the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution debuted at the Geneva Auto Show to enthusiastic acclaim.
Only 502 units of the Evolution model were produced for homologation in compliance with DTM rules of a minimum of 500 units of production and by the beginning of June 1989 all cars had not only been produced but pre-sold, each one in blue-black (199 U) metallic. Because these were only built for homologation, at great cost to Mercedes they were only ever supplied in LHD. The vast majority were sold by MB directly to eager owners in Germany.
The Evo I, as it came to be called had a new larger spoiler and a widened track with resulting a wider body, deeper front air-dam and a larger rear spoiler including a wedge section, which helped increase downforce, Body modification rules to comply were minimal and meant the road cars produced had to look just like the racing versions but changes were certainly not only skin deep on the Evolution 1. The already excellent multi-link MB rear suspension was enhanced with 23% stiffer spring rates & matched shock absorbers compared to the standard 2.5-16's & included SLS suspension to each wheel, providing improved ride & control. This adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension allowed a height variation of 3 positions through a range of 30mm via a 3 position dash-mounted switch.
The Evo I's output was similar to the 202 bhp of the "regular" 2.5-16 but was equipped with a re-designed engine of similar capacity but with a squarer bore & stroke (97.3 / 82.8) to allow for higher rev limits & power in racing applications. On these production models the rev limit was set at 7250 rpm compared to the 7000 rpm of the "cooking" 16V's. Additional changes to engine design included: " lightened rotating masses, improved lubrication and altered camshaft timing ". Cosworth also listed a project code "WAC" for the development of the short-stroke Evolution engine.
Still not having been bought by MB as a subsidiary, an additional Power Pack option engineered by AMG was available separately for the considerable sum of DM 19,000. This expensive (& subsequently rare) option included longer duration & higher lift camshafts, a larger throttle body, more aggressive ignition and fuel management as well a beautifully crafted tubular exhaust manifold & stainless steel exhaust system. With these improvements, power increased to 225 bhp @ 7200 rpm & Torque at 240 Nm at 5500 rpm. The rev limit was further raised 7,700 rpm. 0-100 km/h (62 mph) via the Getrag dogleg gearbox was dispatched in 7.1 sec. AMG Powerpack equipped models were quoted to give a top speed of 236 kmh (146 mph).
The gearbox was a Getrag 275Z, as fitted to all Cosworth models. This featured a dog-leg 1st gear position, meaning 2nd would be where first usually is - useful with 1st only required to move off from standstill. This had the effect of making gear changes faster between 2nd & 3rd; the speeds used most on twisty country roads. 5th gear was a direct 1:1 drive. For improved acceleration, the LSD's differential final-drive ratio was now 3,46:1 instead of 3,27:1, meaning gear ratios were closer spaced too.
With improved performance & drivability in mind, brake disc diameters were increased to 300mm front & 278mm rear, Standard deeper dish Evo 1 wheels were manufactured by Fuchs & fitted with Conti Sport contact tires 225/50/16.
This example is documented as having been fitted with the Power Pack option AMG on 26th May 1989. Owners were naturally advised by AMG to run engines in at low rpm before the powerpack conversion was fitted, so this car is recorded as having had 1,185km at time of conversion. The car was owned by a wealthy German enthusiast for it's first 2 years, before being specially imported to Japan, where it has been meticulously kept since, always garaged & with a continuing maintenance record detailing every task completed throughout it's life. Reading through the records it's clear no expense was spared. For example, all the suspension spheres & SLS fluid were changed annually, which was excessive but shows the level of care the car had. Naturally, the SLS remains in perfect working order. During the most recent 5 years it covered increasingly less mileage, as it's Japanese owner got too old to continue enjoying the car. It remains in perfect condition and of course comes complete with a meticulously documented service history. Although it's clearly been serviced (oil is golden) as with all of the MB's we supply, this car will be given a complete & thorough service & check upon arrival to our base in the UK with documentation to show, so it's perfectly ready for use by it's future owner.
Exterior is in concours condition with no pin dents, scratches or prior accident repairs. A lack of stone chips, serves to indicate this car wasn't driven hard, either. Brightwork on the roof & window frames isn't faded, which serves to indicate the car hasn't had heavy exposure to UV over the years. Original 16" wheels have original finish and are still in near new condition with no corrosion whatsoever. This is testament to this car never having been used in winters during it's entire life. As such the underside has no rust at all, a level of condition & integrity rarely found on these 190 models these days!
Being Mercedes W124 enthusiasts and suppliers, we sourced a set of 4 original Evolution II 17" wheels from an E500 Limited (As fitted to later Evo II 190E models), which we feel suit this body style better than the original wheels. Naturally the original 16" wheels are also included and we will fit a brand new set of Contisport tyres to the wheels the new owner prefers the car to wear when supplied.
Interior is in stunning condition with unmarked (heated front) leather seats and includes the original fire extinguisher, torch and first-aid kit, all of which are unused. The hifi is a period-looking Clarion unit (USB compatible) but we have also included a period original hifi, for originality. Fitted floor mats are by Yanase, appointed MB importers for Japan. This car hasn't been smoked in, so it has that characteristic MB leather interior smell. Sunroof works perfectly too. The boot area remains presentable and the original Evolution I spare wheel remains unused - complete with a complete & unused tool kit, jack & warning triangle mounted on the boot lid.
Test Drive & Mechanical Condition There's nothing to report amis which is to be expected, given the care and attention this car has had lavished on it. The engine starts at the turn of the key & settles to a smooth idle, gearbox linkage has no slop and the car drives perfectly with no wear to synchromesh, etc.
Highly collectable - Naturally Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution-1's are now strongly sought after as they continue to rise in value strongly but realistically, for cars that have been used on European roads few will remain in as beautifully preserved condition as this. We observed 3 examples sold in Germany over the last year, none of which were as special as this.
Not least, this example has the desirable AMG Power pack option fitted and remains in near-new condition resulting from the meticulous care it's had throughout it's life. We anticipate this Evo I will find a new home in a private car collection, where it's owner appreciates the investment opportunity it offers, but being a reliable & well built example from the age when Benz models had integrity engineered from the very core, we would hope it is to continue being driven and enjoyed as the unique modern classic it is.
Currently on route to the UK, this example is without doubt the best example available for sale within Europe and the fortunate new owner for this Evo I will realise this is something absolutely unique.
It will be supplied fully road registered in the UK, complete with 12 months MOT and a comprehensive 12 month UK warranty.
Price on application.
Contact us for further details on how to reserve. Viewing is welcome by appointment once the vehicle arrives.
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