Didn't plan on owning another Benz, but...
Recently, an old friend passed on, someone like myself who looks for the 'forgotten jewels', significant cars that have just been forgotten about and can be had fairly cheap. His widow asked me to look over his three cars: 82 300GD G-Wagen, 86 635CSI, and stuck in a barn out in the country when he first fell ill, an 85 190E 2.3-16. Originally, I went out to his farm just to survey the 190 for a sale, but something unexpected happened.
There's two years of barn dust coating it and the tires are down, so it appears to be rather neglected. It's not running, not getting fuel, though it did chug and sputter when I put gas on the air cleaner, so the ignition system appears to be good. Still, these things cost a fortune when they get in bad shape, gee I hope we can find someone foolish enough to buy it.
I stood back and looked at it, and thought - even with all the dust, what a handsome vehicle. I'd seen regular 190's, but the Cossie is something special. Photos just don't do it justice, you have to see one in person. It has a 'balance' about it that very few cars have.
Okay, it's beautiful, but I was here to check out mechanical condition. Let's see what's wrong...
Under the two years of dust, I found excellent paint, and no corrosion on the body, anywhere. I thought these were supposed to rust around the fenders... not this one. Interior was near mint, just one seam loose on the driver's seat, and Recaro's in the back, too. The engine was remarkably clean, valve cover lettering nice and shiny. Charged the battery and switched on, all the electrical systems powered up and worked, none of the warning lights stayed on. Yellow fogs on the front, so it was a French import. That's the factory exhaust header? Zowie. SLS pump is in place and connected, so the rear suspension hasn't been hacked. And what's this? The dash isn't even cracked!
The more I checked out the important things, the more it dawned on me: You're not nearly as dead as you look, my friend.
And in a way that only a car lover could understand, that dusty, tired looking Benz spoke to me: Take me home. Bring me back to life, and I will take care of you. And so I did - it's coming home this weekend.
Now, I'm only too well aware that there's nothing as expensive as an inexpensive Mercedes, learned that with my 450 SEL. But I have a gut feeling that this isn't one of them. This one wants to run again.
And fair warning: in ten years, we'll all look back over a few beers and muse: remember when you could pick up a clean 190 Cosworth, the original ancestor of all modern factory modified sport sedans, the vehicle that motivated BMW to build the M3, for $5k? Those were the days...
Last edited by TrapperJohn; 02-04-2011 at 11:39 AM.