﹒Incredible, original condition ﹒A mere 11,899 miles ﹒Possibly the finest example in existence
Mercedes-Benz needed something smaller, something that would fit into the spot of being a compact executive car. The offerings from the company at the time were too large, and as such, Mercedes-Benz was losing out to rivals like BMW, which had the 3 Series. This was something that needed to be rectified, and as such, bosses pulled out all the stops. The 190E, or W201 to use its internal designation, might have been compact, but it was utterly loaded with features.
Development began in 1974 and consumed some $600,000,000 in cost. Designed by pen-scribbling legend, Bruno Sacco, the 190E was a massively over engineered machine. But this is what would make it legendary. It was built by hand, it was crafted from the best materials, it was incredibly strong, it was light, it was safe and it was more refined than anything before it. You can see why, then, Mercedes-Benz sold nearly 2,000,000 of them between 1982 and 1993.
First registered in December of 1992, this 190E was ordered in Arctic White with contrasting blue fabric interior, electric windows, electric passenger mirror and, somewhat unusually, a manual metal sliding sunroof. The supplying dealer was Jacksons of Guernsey. It’s this southerly location that is more than likely a significant contributor to the condition of the car. Lots of sun and very little - if any - salt on the roads served to preserve it well. Then of course, there is the fact this 190E has done a mere 11,899 miles over the course of its life. The original lady owner used the car sparingly, and when it wasn’t in use, it was kept in a warm and dry garage.
That same first owner kept the car until she was no longer able to drive, at which point it was transferred to her daughter. This put another name on the V5, and it also meant the car came to Britain. The daughter, however, wasn’t keen to use the car. Probably because of how well preserved it was. Since coming to the UK, it has barely covered 1,000 miles.
There is full history with the car, all from Jacksons, which served to validate the mileage. The car is 99% original. The only things to have been changed are the tyres (due to age) and the stereo, which is now a modern Pioneer unit. However, being a standard single DIN, it would be simple enough to pop an original Blaupunkt back in there. It is, in every respect, utterly incredible, and could well be the best example of its kind. The only car better would be one in a museum - it really is that immaculate.
There is ample paperwork with this 190E. There is a Haynes manual for the car, the original backpack and wallet is present too. There are plenty of invoices to back up the work that has been done over the years, as well as old MOT certificates. There is also a fresh MOT, which was passed on the morning we took these photos (17th Feb) so it now has 12 months test going forward. There are also a number of charming items, such as a Guernsey parking disc and even a 1998 Guernsey road fund licence - all part of the car’s history.
As for the service history, it reads as follows:
31/12/1992 - Pre-Delivery Inspection - 0 Miles
13/11/1995 - 1st service and oil filter - 6,356 miles
17/11/2000 - Oil and filter and specified checks - 10,667miles
29/08/2012 - New fuel pump, fuel filter, battery and tyres - 10,680 miles
09/10/2012 - Fuel tank clean, new fuel hoses and sender - 10,681 miles
01/10/2013 - Service 2, oil and filter, brake fluid and wipers - 10.703 miles
04/11/2013 - MOT - 10,853 miles
12/11/2014 - MOT - 10,858 miles
04/12/2015 - MOT - 11,227 miles
06/01/2017 - MOT - 11,369 miles
03/03/2017 - Service and full safety check - 11,434 miles
08/12/2017 - MOT - 11,740 miles
18/07/2018 - New bonnet release handle - 11,755 miles
11/02/2019 - MOT - 11,815 miles
27/01/2020 - MOT - 11,820 miles
17/02/2021 - MOT - 11,899 miles
As you can see, the car was used sparingly. And when it was left to hibernate, it was in a warm, dry garage under a tailored car cover (which comes with the car). It’s not only a testament to the quality of the car, but also to the owner’s ability to care for it.
Let’s not beat around the bush here. With the exception of one minor imperfection - a crack in the fascia plastic by the interior light button - and the addition of that modern radio, this is in effect a brand new car. No hyperbole, no editorial licence, it is like sitting in a new car. Nothing is worn, nothing is faded, nothing is cracked or warped. The seats aren’t marked, the carpets aren’t worn or stained and the headlining isn’t damaged, sagging or otherwise hindered. It is as close as you can get to travelling back to 1992 without needing a time machine. It is, and there is no other work for it, in exceptional condition.
Sort that small, hairline crack in the dash, fit an OE head unit and it will look exactly like it did when it was sitting proudly in the showroom of Jasksons. It still smells new. Everything works. There isn’t a speck of dirt to be seen. Look into the door shuts and pillars and you’ll see original factory stickers and labels. You’ll see bright white hinges with barely any wear. You’ll see perfect rubbers and seals. It’s breathtaking.
Open the boot and it’s much the same. The seals are perfect, the carpet has clearly never been leaden with anything heavier than a loaf of bread, the interior plastics are free of scratches and marks. The hinges are perfect, the warning triangle is still in place and has probably not been touched by another human since it was fitted. The spare is mint. It is, in effect, a new car.
Much like the interior, the exterior is in exceptional condition. If we had to be really, really critical, we’d point out the ever so slight bend in one of the grille’s chrome inserts. Other than that, there is nothing to fault this car on. The Arctic White paintwork is flawless, and still presents with a rich, deep shine. There isn’t a mark, scratch or blemish on this car. Anywhere. All the panel gaps are perfect, all the body trim too. The black inserts on the body-coloured bumpers are still deep and dark, the four Mercedes hubcaps have never once come to blows with a curb. It’s stunning. The chrome grille housing is excellent, as is the three-pointed star that sits proudly atop it.
The glass, as you would expect, is free from any marks. The scuttle is mint, the iper and mechanism too. The door handles are all perfect, the rear badges, the roof and sunroof are without a mark. It’s like nothing else. There are tidy, looked after 190E cars out there, make no mistake. But this one could well be the finest.
The tyres are recent and boast full tread. Look beyond the wheels, into the wheel arches and there is some evidence of some road dirt, but by and large there is just white paint and the textured, underbody protection. The springs are still glossy - not corroded! The suspension components look near new. Look further under the car, and you can see the original rubber drainage hoses protruding from the rust-free factory holes. You can see the factory labelling on the rear exhaust silencer. With some underbody cleaning, it could be concours. It’s that good.
It’s not yet done 12,000 miles. As such, we won’t be warning of any issues. It’s been serviced by a main dealer throughout its life, it starts on the button, it has excellent oil pressure and it ticks over beautifully. The gearbox is sharp and agile, with no slipping or jerkiness. The brakes, which are still factory, are in good health and have barely been worked. The steering is light and free of noise or other issues. And finally, the cooling system is tip-top, with not even the faintest hint of wanting to overheat.
Pop the bonnet and you’re in for a massive treat. The engine bay is incredible. There is no dirt, no build up, no mess. Just originality. Every nut and bolt is clean, and free of corrosion. The securing nuts on the suspension struts still have the red marker paint from the factory. In fact, so does every jubilee clip and other fastener. An original factory sticker still clings onto the top of the radiator.
The brake servo shines, the fuse box too. The hoses and pipes are all a rich colour and still flexible and healthy. No age, no weakening, no corrosion or wear. The factory paint is still on the exhaust manifold. It is incredible. Look further down into the engine bay, and you can see the overspill of the cavity wax injected into the structure of the car back in 1992. The only noticeable absentee is the bonnet lining, which has lost its adhesion over time so has been removed from the car. But by being removed, it serves to show just how mint the bonnet itself is.
The engine and other mechanical parts are, from what we could see, are all in near new condition. The chain-driven 1.8 four-cylinder petrol unit isn’t even broken in at this point. These cars can happily cover 200,000miles plus. Most 190Es built in 1992 had done this car’s 11,899miles in the first couple of months. It’s a staggering find, this car. Unlike anything else we’ve seen before.
At the risk of sounding blunt, the motivator behind bidding on this car is a simple one - find another. You won’t. Cars like this simply do not appear on the open market every day. If you think this listing is perhaps romanticising the notion of this car, it’s not. It is every bit the car we have described it as. It’s avoided the fleet life, it’s avoided the bad weather, it’s avoided substandard work and has instead been used sparingly. When not in use, it has lived in a warm garage under a bespoke (and included) cover to protect it even further. This is one of those cars for which all the stars of survival have aligned. One family, minimal use, main dealer maintenance.
There are other 190E models out there. There are none, and we’ll dig in on this hill, as incredibly and as perfectly preserved as this one. Miss it, and you truly will miss out.
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