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Thread: New member looking to buy 190E 2.3 16V

  1. New member looking to buy 190E 2.3 16V

    Hi folks, I just joined this forum having been bitten by the 16V bug. I remember this car from years ago when I was shopping for one or an E30 M3..I never acquired the 16V and subsequently got hooked on a BMW 3.0CS that I eventually restored and drive to car events/shows, etc.

    But I want a daily driver in the next few years and think a 16V would be just the ticket. I test drove one the other day out here in Vienna VA close to my home but it's an automatic; it also comes with a manual and related parts for a conversion but the asking price is a little high I think and I'm not sure how complicated the tranny conversion would be or who could do that well.

    So I'm open to an 87 or 87 and the Euro version would be even nice if I could one with those lovely plaid seats and higher power. My budget would be around $25k for a car in great condition. I've done the "drive a rough car for a while and then restore it" and I don't think I have the energy to go through that again for a lesser priced 16v right now with a full time job, three kids, etc...I'm also smitten with original condition, and the Smoke Silver paint. All I might add are the 16" SL wheels and bump the stock horsepower to something closer to Euro spec. BTW, I converted my dual carb CS to L Jetronic fuel injection with Megasquirt years ago and I'm very happy with those results - stock CSI look with lots more power and reliability.

    There are a few 16v examples on Hemmings right now and BaT has them once in a while but my Google search on Craig's list has come up short. With my 3.0CS, their forum is pretty complete with parts, repair advice and cars for sale but the 16V forum here doesn't seem to be as active.

    Any thoughts on who has a car for sale or where I might look for further candidates? I'm in no hurry and can spend the next year or so looking...

    Thank you in advance,


  2. #2
    Great first post. Very clear on personal history and objectives.
    I can suggest detailing your budget into acquisition cost & fixes, as that makes a big difference in what you chase after.
    I suppose that division was captured in your comment about your disinterest in another restoration.
    With such a healthy budget you might be able to contract out the fixing of a not-great.
    Also, with such a healthy budget, there are plenty of newer toys around that are more than equal to the 16V and don't require fixing.
    My personal example is our '18 C300 daily at $30K. Drives better, faster, cheaper.
    Yes, The Rev is now much quieter than its heyday.
    The youths left for the social media city.
    But the archives are unmatched with technical wisdom of the ancients.
    '86 190E 16V, museum piece since '98

  3. #3
    BaT, as you mentioned, is where I was hunting for mine for quite some time. Eventually I found the right car (at the right price) on Ebay, of all places. I bought it sight unseen and its mechanical fuel injection system is shot beyond repair, but I plan to rebuild it for track use, so the tragedy is minor.

    I would also recommend There are usually a handful on there from around the country.

  4. #4

    I'm assuming the car you test drove was Robert's car? His car is an excellent example and is only available since I helped him secure his Pearl black 16V. The automatic to manual swap is straightforward. I have helped with several including my own W124 from auto to manual.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Web forums have declined with the moves to social media, but we'll keep the lights on here as long as people find it a good resource. I cringe at some of the very dated posts, but it's history.
    The Biggest Bargain From Germany Since Wernher Von Braun - Car & Driver November 1983

  6. Thanks for keeping this site alive.

  7. #7
    This forum and its generous members have kept my 190s on the road. I really hope it's here to stay.
    Last edited by chaunceington; 01-08-2020 at 10:59 AM.

  8. Hi Wayne, I have a 16v for sale.

    1986 black in color USA model
    Factory 5 speed
    Original engine spun a bearing and has been fully rebuilt with the following:
    - 10.5:1 forged pistons
    - Dbilas camshafts (280 duration)
    - Uses stronger (early Euro) crank-guided connecting rods
    This was all built on the original engine block and head, engine builder is in NY and builds McLaren F1 engines as well. Engine has just finished its break-in miles and is VERY strong, fastest 16v I have ever driven.

    Let me know if you're interested, I was planning to list on Bring-A-Trailer soon.
    1985 190E 2.3-16 Euro

  9. #9
    the well of information on this site dedicated to w201's & its respectable counter parts though compatibility are much too great to disappear.

  10. Wayne follow up

    Hi everyone, getting back to this thread rather late. Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome...

    After a few months of looking and shopping, including Kaito's car on BaT, I found a decent collector owned 16V in Illinois. My mechanic has given me lots of good feedback during this process (Pierre Hedary) and I've stayed true to my original preferred color - Smoke Silver. This car is largely original except for some 17 x 7.5 ET30 EVO II style wheels (not sure if these are really EVO rims) with mismatched 225/45R17 tires and a large subwoofer in the trunk to power a modernized Becker headhunt to accept 3.5mm input -- I know, those are not good signs. I played it safe and stayed home during this SIP period and had another 16V friend of mine inspect the car while he was in Illinois...

    She's got 157,000 miles on her and had the engine completely rebuilt at 137,000 miles including new injection, ECU, etc. Since I bought her just as the Covid thing was getting serious and almost lost my ability to truck her out to Northern Virginia where I live. I've not been able to drive her much because the DMV is shut down of course, except for mail in registration/plate application process and, of course, the DMV has misplaced my full package I mailed in a month ago. They say they've found it now and will have my paperwork back to me in 2 - 3 weeks - we will see, I hope I don't have to go for a duplicate title right now. I've cleaned the car pretty throughly to understand the condition more carefully and immediately installed a new battery and changed the oil to a 5/40 Mobil 1 Synthetic.

    For now I will drive her on short trips around the block (no plates!) and try to get more of a feel for what needs fine tuning, repair, etc. Clearly, I need to replace the well worn original steering wheel and I love the design but the diameter is too large for my 6.5" height and thigh intrusion. I want to stay original MB versus aftermarket so the choices are limited to a W202 wheel or other early 1990 MB rims from what I gather; I'm open to opinions here and photos of what other wheels you might have installed from other MB models in the 380 to 390mm range. The shifter and boot are pretty worn down and stiff too and I've discovered the lack of replacement parts, which is similar to my 73 BMW 3.0CS. The wheel swap will be next and I think I've found someone on FB who wants to exchange his original 15" Gullideckels with my wheel (after much research, I've decided to keep the stock suspension geometry and not go the 16" route) and I'll fit 205/55R15 Dunlop Direzzas on those wheels. The shocks and springs are next - you can see she rides a little high (not sure why, perhaps to keep the wheels/tires from scrapping the surrounding fender arches, but there are light scrapes her and there) and I'm open to advice on the right shock and spring combo for overall ride, handling and a little lowering for all around daily driving I'll be doing in a few years post corporate career and company car. When I got under the car I see yellow Billstein shocks with cracked rubber bellows at the top and the original springs are there although rusty in places.

    Interior trim, seats and headliner are in decent shape but leather seats are pretty not soft and the driver seat makes terrible squeeking sounds when sitting in it.

    Exterior paint is pretty good overall but hood and trunklid will likely be repainted due to scratches and poor paint chip repair, while there are other spots on the fenders with slight chips that I might be able to live with until I decide if a full repaint is in order.

    Engine comparement is good but not immaculate with a poorly repainted cam cover piece and most other items in original, not clean condition.

    She starts and runs okay but I can tell there is much calibration for the fuel injection, possible valve adjustment and other tweaks that need to be made for more power and smoothness; Pierre will handle that for me in month or two when things are more back to normal and I ship the car to Florida.

    Down the road, I may go Kaito's direction with the Euro engine formula with better camshafts and perhaps even Megasquirt on top based on the good results I've had with that change on my CS. Time to start collecting those parts!

    Thanks all,

  11. #11
    Congrats on your purchase!

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