This 1987 2.3-16 is one such car, and it’s up for sale on eBay. While a quick phone call from Clarkson to Brundle hilariously refuted May’s quote, the 190e Cosworth is still an important and strikingly gorgeous car.
The impetus for the 2.3-16 came from the wild world of rallying, though the story has an important twist. Mercedes contacted UK engine builder Cosworth to fit its standard 190e saloon with a potent yet lightweight four-cylinder engine, and Cosworth obliged with its 2.3-liter 16-valve four-cylinder.
However, by the time it was ready, Audi was running amok with its all-wheel drive Quattro, leaving the 190e without a chance in the gravely bits.
So instead, Mercedes pressed the 190e 2.3-16 into DTM racing and across its multiple years of motorsport competition, it would prove quite successful. A young Ayrton Senna caught the world’s attention when he took first place in a one-make 190e race at the Nurburgring circuit’s grand opening.
This model appears in fair condition for its age. Underneath the hood you’ll find that famous Cosworth four-cylinder; however it unfortunately mates up to an automatic transmission.
Still, it makes a great candidate for a five-speed swap or if you’re feeling up to it – a full 190e Evolution II conversion. James May knows a good car when he sees one.