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1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

The auction hammer fell at $434,000 for this Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II

At the Gooding & Co. auction in Scottsdale a 1990 190E 2.5-16 sold for $434,000. The example was pure perfection and this was a market correct outcome. The plain Jane 190 16V is an important car in Mercedes-Benz history. For Mercedes, the Evolution II is one of the rarest and most important cars of the post-war era. This particular car checked all the boxes and had under 8,000km from new. Only 500 were manufactured. Well bought and a great long term hold.

Auction Description:

Asataka Yamazaki, Nagano, Japan (acquired new in 1990)
Rosier Classic Sterne GmbH, Oldenburg, Germany (acquired from the above circa 2015)
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above in 2018)
Current Owner (acquired from the above)

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show ahead of the 1990 racing season, Mercedes- Benz’s new track weapon featured an AMG-tuned version of its bulletproof inline four-cylinder engine, and a striking, aerodynamic body kit that made the Evolution II one of the most exciting sport sedans ever offered by the German automaker.

In keeping with homologation rules, 500 road cars were built for the public – all in Blauschwarz (Blue Black) metallic paint, and all presold before the car’s reveal. Successfully taking on BMW, the competition Evolution IIs swept the top three positions in the 1992 DTM Group A championship against their rival from Munich.

Owing to that success was Mercedes-Benz’s high-revving engine with its 16-valve, twin-cam alloy head developed in cooperation with race constructors Cosworth and equipped with an AMG Power Pack kit, which featured aggressive camshafts, a larger throttle body, and improved ignition response and fuel management. A competition-inspired dogleg five-speed Getrag gearbox transferred power to a limited-slip differential. Much more than a styling statement, the Evo II was fitted with an effective aero package consisting of an adjustable front air dam, and rear window and trunk spoilers designed by Professor Richard Eppler from the University of Stuttgart. Sculpted fender flares accommodated 17″ alloy wheels, and an electronically adjustable ride height lowered the car, producing a remarkably low drag coefficient of 0.30 and impressive downforce which aided the four-piston Brembo ABS discs in high-speed braking.

Despite its competition pedigree, the Evo II was nonetheless uncompromising in its luxury appointments. The car featured here, no. 256 of the 500 cars built for the public, was optioned with air-conditioning, leather interior, electric sunroof, fire extinguisher, heated seats, and a Becker cassette stereo with rear speakers. Painstakingly preserved by its original owner in a Japanese collection for 25 years, this Evo II was featured in the April 10, 2018, edition of Classic Driver online magazine, which called it “one of, if not the, finest examples of the iconic homologation model currently available anywhere in the world.”

Complete with its original books, tools, roadside accessories, factory Data Card, and documentation, this extraordinary example, showing only 7,615 km at the time of cataloguing, is in its correct, factory-delivered specification and completely detailed to show-ready condition inside and out. Now being offered from a discerning collector of German sports cars with a passion for original, low-mileage homologation models, this Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II is among the finest and most original surviving examples of this exciting series. Visually striking, historically significant, and extremely rare, this Evo II represents a high watermark in Mercedes-Benz’s storied history.

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