The answer is simple, this isn’t just any other mass produced Mercedes 190 it’s the 190 Evolution II or to give it its full title the 190-Series 2.5, 16V Evolution II. The 190 was was in production between 1982 and 1993, a compact sedan that was eventually succeed by the C Class. It was also commonly known as the ‘baby Benz’. Well we assume it was because that’s what the history books say.
During the time of the Mercedes 190 BMW had their acclaimed M3 and Mercedes began to get jealous of the attention the M3 was getting so hatched a plan. And also realised the marketing potential of a fast compact saloon. So the Evolution II was unveiled in 1990, think of it as Mercedes’ right of reply.
Just 502 units were made and all were sold before production even began at a cost of $80k each. The Evo II was an obvious evolution of it’s predecessor the EVO I. Obvious really but as with all successors performance was notched up.
The Evo II was really a detuned version of the German Touring Car entry. Because racing homogenisation rules state that around 500 production versions have to produced in order for manufactures to qualify to enter the DTM racing series Mercedes duly obliged.
The 2.5-litre, 16V engine that was jointly developed by Cosworth and AMG, total power output was 235bhp. To put that into perspective a modern day hot hatch has around 300bhp to play with.
So why is this EVO II worth $279,000 USD? Well for a starter its all down to the rarity value. This example is being sold on Ebay, in the San Diego, California. This particular example is number 375 of 500 and has just over 10,000 recorded miles on the clock.
Time and technology have moved on since the 190 EVO II’s glory days, but even a mass produced car limited to 500 extreme performance examples has value. You see it’s a snap shot of the limits of technology available at the time.
But in the end the overriding question is… is this EVO II worth the asking price? It may be a bit of a bargain when you consider the last time a 190 EVO II went up for sale it fetched $700k. It’s an investment as much as a car to be driven and enjoyed.