The 190E might look like it shares the proportions of a brick and the aerodynamic capability of a barn door, but slap on a DTM-inspired body kit that is fully functional and you’re left with one of the most aero-capable cars of its time. And that’s just the start of it…
When Mercedes-Benz first unveiled the 190E Evolution II with its radical body kit, the then research and development chief of BMW; Wolfgang Reitzle, purportedly said “the laws of aerodynamics must be different between Munich and Stuttgart; if that rear wing works, we’ll have to redesign our wind tunnel.”
Apparently they did.
The body kit was functional though, even that ironing board of a wing. It was designed by Professor Richard Eppler from the University of Stuttgart and wind tunnel tested for a coefficient of drag of just 0.29; impressive numbers for a car in its day.
How the Evolution series of the 190E came to be started with Mercedes-Benz wanting to go rallying with the car. So they sent some units and a wad of cash to Cosworth to develop a performance version. However, Audi launched the all-wheel drive Quattro rally car around the same time that would make any efforts by a rear-driven futile and essentially obsolete.
So the boys in Stuttgart turned their attention to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) (German Touring Car Championship) series instead and to abide by the roadgoing necessity of the series’ regulations, they had to sell the 190E with the Cosworth developed engine inside, albeit a detuned version of course.
The original version came with a smaller 2.3-litre engine but in 1988, they introduced a larger 2.5-litre version that addressed some of the weak points from the previous engine and made more power of course, 204hp to be exact.
Understandably, these cars are considered very desirable and hard to come by. So making your own one is the nest best option. The 190E featured here is powered by the aforementioned 2.5-litre Cosworth mill that has been left stock.
Sending all the power to the rear wheels is the original five-speed Getrag manual that had a dogleg engagement, meaning first gear is found left and down from neutral. This leaves the remaining second, third, fourth and fifth gears to be in a simple “H” pattern that allows for fast and ergonomically good shifting, perfect for clocking in fast laps at the circuit.
On top of that, the DTM Evolution II body kit is also hard to miss. Comprising of the huge rear wing and widened wheel arches, the motorsports-inspired kit helps the car cut an imposing figure on the streets.
To complete the period-correct DTM fascia, some genuine 18-inch DTM OZ wheels were fitted, measuring 9jj wide in the front and 10jj in the rear. Keeping them stuck to terra firma are some Yokohama Advan AD08 rubbers, measuring 225/40R18 all around.
You might not be able to see them from behind the multi-spoke wheels but the brakes have been upgraded to some AMG four-piston calipers biting down with AMG brake pads as well. Upgrading the brakes and managing to keep them in-house definitely deserves a tip of the hat.
To get the right ride height and make sure the 190E is squatting properly over the OZ wheels, the suspension was replaced with a set of coilovers from Yellow Speed Racing in the form of their Dynamic Pro Sport series that features with hi-lo and soft-hard adjustment with pillowball mounts.
The interior has also been given the full conversion, including that heavily bolstered rear seat that effectively makes the car a four-seater. Getting your hands on the real deal is one of the most satisfying touches you can make on your car and along with the seats, there’s also the much sought after chequered door trim and gear knob.
All the work on this 190E was carried out by MyStar Garage in Balakong and the workmanship is second to none.
It isn’t often that you come across a highly modified Mercedes-Benz, especially one of this calibre but the 190E Evolution was and still is one of the most radical designs for a four-door premium car and to see it in the metal really does hit the right spot with a petrolhead, regardless of your affinity to the brand.
The only thing missing from this 190E is arguably one of its most memorable racing liveries, the Sonax-Hugo Boss design. Lay that on and you’ll be able to bask in the glory of DTM racing back when the cars actually looked like their road-going versions and were cool as hell.