Bruno Senna’s trip round our circuit this week was very emotional because the 190E Cosworth was the car in which his famous uncle – Ayrton Senna – beat several world championship drivers back in ‘84 and catapaulted him to fame. Ever since, the hot baby Benz has been a legend. You can still buy Cosworth 190Es for around £10k and they make fine everyday classics, with leather interiors, Recaro seats, dogleg manual gearboxes and 145mph. Early cars had a 2.3-litre 16-valve engine which was uprated to 2.5 litres in 1988 giving a 0-60 sprint of 7.7 seconds. A discreet boot spoiler and side body cladding added to the performance halo, and within a year Mercedes launched the Evolution version of the 190 for the German Touring Car Championship. Mint Evos can now fetch up to £100k.
Efficient, handsome and very quick, we like the Cosworth 190’s solid build quality and refined elegance. With 80s and 90s metal becoming fashionable, this is a perfect classic that’s easy to mend, more than keeps up with modern traffic and looks separate and distinctive. And if you don’t fancy the Getrag manual, there’s an automatic option plus standard ABS and power steering. Mercedes planned to build just 5,000 Cosworth 190s but demand was so great that by the end of its first year of production 11,000 had left the Stuttgart factory – and by 1988 nearly 20,000 had been sold. In the 80s this was one very cool car indeed.
Low mileage (under 60,000) cars are getting very desirable and you can expect to pay £20,000 plus for really good ones. Higher-mileage cars are still around for ten grand or less, but always try to buy one with a service history and a sheaf of old bills. A well cared-for Cosworth 190 will last longer than many other classics, and its fine engineering marks it out as one of the last ‘proper Mercs”. Find a good one and you won’t lose – this one is just going to go up and up in price.