190E EVO W201 SONAX - Heel Tread

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August 13, 2020 2 min read

If you were a car obsessed kid in Lisbon during the '80s and '90s you couldn't help but notice that the Mercedes 190 was everywhere - the smokey, nosey, seemingly indistructible 190D was the work horse of most of the city's taxi fleet - and there are still a few in use today. 

So, how could this entry level Mercedes be a sluggish taxi and at the same time a TV racing star winning touring car championships? Originally built with rally racing in mind - and rendered immediately obsolete by the turbocharged all-wheel drive Audi Quattro - Mercedes decided to make a shift to touring cars, therefore interrupting a motorsport hiatus that lasted for several decades - following the horrific '55 Le Mans accident. 

Triumphant Comeback

It was a triumphant comeback, clocking 50 DTM victories with the 190 between 1988 and 1993. In the 1992 season, the 190E 2.5-16 Evo 2 won 16 out of 24 races and took the top three places in the drivers' standings, Klaus Ludwig winning the first DTM championship for Mercedes. was driven on the track by both Senna and Schumacher It was based on the mythical road weapon, the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16V Evolution II, a 500 unit production strictly for homologation purposes, with a Cosworth/AMG engine and a 5-speed dogleg gearbox this mythical road-weapon-slash-box-shaped-unicorn was stiff competition for the E30 M3 an adjustable rear spoiler that was also great for road side picnics msssive wheel arches The 190E was also the main star at the inauguration of the renovated Nurburgring in '84, in a friendly racing event with legends like Lauda, Prost, Hunt and a young and relatively unknown Senna who took home the win - remarkably Schumacher also raced a 190E in his early DTM career. 

Not bad for "Baby-Benz"

The W201 190E Merc was one of the main forces behind Mercedes' comeback to motorsport in the late '80s and participated in some legendary battles that turned DTM in to a mass sport. Do you remember the Sonax/Boss livery? The W201 190E was one of the main forces behind Mercedes' comeback to motorsport in the late '80s, with a leading role in legendary battles that helped turned DTM in to a mass sport. Remember this Sonax/Boss livery? Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II 'homologation special'

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