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Duke of London

The Old Stables, The Railway Yard, Lionel Road South Kew Bridge London

TW8 0JA

1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16v Cosworth Manual For Sale

I’ve been toying for months with whether or not to sell my beloved Cosworth 190E. It’s been quite the journey. My love for these cars started when I was a kid. One of our neighbours had an identical car when I was growing up. I wanted one, and bad. It had to be Smoke Silver, had to have the check interior, the glorious 2. 3-16 Cosworth developed engine and, most importantly, had to have the dogleg Getrag 5 speed manual. Ever since then I kept half an eye online for one in this spec. It had to be the same. Smoke Silver just like Ayrton Senna.
I was first introduced to this in 2018 car by a mutual friend of the previous owner and myself. I happened to mention in conversation that I’d “always wanted” a manual, Smoke Silver 2. 3-16 and low and behold he introduced me said friend who was thinking of selling theirs.
The car had been largely laid up in a multi-storey car park in Tower Bridge since 2012. It had covered less than 1, 000 miles during this time and had been kept going as necessary with the odd MOT every other year or so. It was caked in dust and looked a bit sorry for itself but fundamentally was a good, not rotten, car. We struck a deal within minutes and I definitely paid more than I should have for it. Rose tinted specs and all that.
Whilst the car ran, it hadn’t been on the road or serviced for a couple of years so I had it transported back to base in for a deep clean, a service, some fresh tyres etc. Within a week of buying it, it was MOT’d, back on the road and on daily driver duties. I loved it. The free revving, grunting 4 pot feels beautifully analogue and mechanical, especially with the signature dog log gearbox. Ok, the bodywork was a bit tired and the suspension wallowed a bit but I was smitten.
Fast forward a few months and a couple of thousand miles and I was on my way to a track day at Bedford in a Clio 182 I had at the time when a wheel bearing failed on the Renault. I phoned work and asked one of the lads to come and collect the Clio and bring me “The Cosworth”, as it’s become affectionately known. Little did I know this would seal the poor 190E’s fate. It has never been as fast as I’d imagined and after a handful of laps of Bedford it became apparent there may be a reason to that. It started to run very poorly and so we limped it home. The next day it wouldn’t start so after some investigation it became apparent that we had dropped a valve! Balls.
Those who know me would probably confirm I don’t like to do things by half measures so what ensued as a result of these findings was perhaps a little bit over the top… But very “me”. What started as an engine rebuild to remedy the dropped valve soon spiralled into a bare metal mechanical and body restoration of the car that took two years and almost £40, 000 to complete.

As such the car today presents incredible well. It has now EXCEEDED all expectations, it’s faster than I thought it ever would be with the rebuilt engine and drivetrain. Do not let the mileage deter you, it’s practically a new car again though the interior fabric on the whole is largely original and in incredible condition after some restoration. Just before I bought it though, the previous owner did opt to retrim the cloth check centres with the last remaining check fabric Mercedes-Benz had on the shelf! They look factory. Success.
My father’s business (Romance of Rust) has attended to all body work/ welding issues and I have worked closely alongside Starwerks Mercedes Specialists (where all of the staff are ex Mercedes-Benz mechanics and worked and trained there during the W201 era). Starwerks have a Mercedes-Benz trade parts account that in hindsight my wallet probably wishes they didn’t. I’ve practically bought, via them, from Mercedes-Benz UK every conceivable part that Mercedes still make or stock for this car. Starwerks have attended to all of the mechanical work to the car (bar the engine rebuild itself and the rear subframe restoration).
Accompanying the car is a substantial folder documenting all of the works that were carried out during my ownership as well as photographs detailing a lot of the work that I have had done. In addition to this, there is dozens of pages of history documenting the car’s life from new to when I bought it too. The service book is stamped all the way up until 2006 and then again from when I bought it.
If I’m being pedantic there are two things on the car that slightly niggle me. The rear spoilers on these cars are made of a very high density rubber/ foam. As such they are a little “soft” and though repainted there are a couple of tiny spider cracks on one of the corners. The other is the passenger side rear door card has slightly shrunk in the heat along the top edge. A very common issue on W201s. I opted to keep it as is as it is very minor and more importantly the original card for the car. I didn’t want to source another or have it retrimmed in case it didn’t match.
I have covered a couple of thousand miles in the car since it was finished. It has been an absolute joy, the financial loss on the project was totally forgotten as soon as I drove it for the first time when it was completed. I currently own 14 cars and am having a clear out of 5 or 6 to make way for a couple more! This car hasn’t been used as much as I would have hoped so I’ve made the incredibly tough decision to find her a new custodian. I have been toying with doing this for 5 months now but have decided against selling it every time I’ve driven it. The time has now sadly come but let my loss be your gain.
Whilst this is my own personal car, it can be viewed by appointment at our West London classic car showroom. I also have a digital file available on request with countless photos of the car, the paperwork and video walk-around etc.
Tech Specs
Here is a “brief” overview of the mechanical works I have had done on the car:

Tech Specs
Engine fully rebuilt by ex Aston Martin/ Red Bull F1 engineer Sam Carpenter with Cylinder Head completely rebuild (guides, valves etc.) by Coventry Boring and Metalling Company
New OEM radiator
New clutch kit
New OEM clutch fork
All new engine ancillaries (water pump, leads, cap, points, rotor, fuel injectors, gaskets etc. etc.) OEM where available
New OEM battery
New OEM fuel pump
New OEM engine mounts
New OEM subframe mounts
New OEM bushes
New OEM ball joints
New OEM tie rods
New OEM steering damper
New OEM gearbox mounts
New OEM front wheel bearings
New brake discs all around
Total replacement of the rear self levelling suspension (shock absorbers, spheres, pump etc.) using OEM parts where available
New front shock absorbers
New rear shock absorbers
New control front control arms
New brake callipers
New brake hard lines
New brake flexi hoses
New fuel lines
Rear subframe blasted and powdercoated then rebuilt with all new parts (bushes, fasteners, control arms)
Rear hubs rebuilt with new bearings and bushes
New handbrake shoes, fittings, backplates and cables
Propshaft rebuilt and balanced by Propshaft Services
New Toyo Proxes tyres
Suspension geometry set up by infamous suspension wizards String Theory Garage
Stainless steel exhaust


Cosmetically and otherwise here is some of the major things I’ve had done:

chassis welded by Romance of Rust as necessary. No stone left unturned though it didn’t actually need much
New OEM front wings
New OEM rear wheel arches
Bonnet welded - original bonnet but new metal all along front edge where there was some rust
Paint stripped back to bare metal on almost all of the car
Fully repainted in Smoke-Silver by OSC Chessington. Business owner was a painter at Mercedes-Benz for 15 years and worked on W201s in period.
New OEM under bonnet mat
New OEM indicators
New OEM front grille assembly
New OEM new OEM wiper and mechanism
New headlight wiper arms and blades
New OEM badges all around
New OEM dash vents
New OEM gear knob
New OEM door hardware
New OEM seals
New OEM front windscreen
New OEM lap timer gauge
New OEM thermometer gauge
New OEM door mirror glass both sides
New OEM bonnet washer jets
New OEM Aerial
Even new OEM Mercedes-Benz number plates, to appease the inner anorak
New window sweep seals (both internal and external)
Wheels properly stripped and refurbished by First Aid Wheels in Hampstead
Car undersealed
New black over mats
The car went to Car Audio Security in Hayes who fitted a Blaupunkt Bremen SQR46 (old looking/ modern functioning) head unit, powered front and rear speakers and an amplified subwoofer in the boot. It sounds phenomenal.
Car Audio Security also installed a Clifford Alarm, immobiliser and remote central locking for me.
Ceramic Pro UK have detailed the car and reconnolised the leather sides of the seats and the steering wheel. They are pristine.


There will be more stuff that I’ve forgotten too.
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