The owner is Ilya Zibarev, 45, a Muscovite, who works in the banking sector.
The car is a Mercedes 190E, W201, 1986 model, “American” in California configuration. With the mileage of 314 miles, which corresponds to 505 kilometers.
Here’s what Ilya told the editorial board.
– I am not a collector in the classical sense, I assemble cars a little haphazardly. The collection, if you call it that, is going to be for the soul, according to the principle “something was connected with these machines” and with the emphasis on “new old”. I have, for example, VAZ-2108 with the run of 600 km, Moskvich-2141 with the run of 50 km. These and other cars were marked in my life, in my childhood, youth, my parents, etc. When I got the information about this Mercedes, I decided that I must certainly get it!
The car was originally built for the U.S. market in 1986 and actually got there. A retired buyer brought a new car from the salon, put it in the garage, but, unfortunately, he never had a chance to drive it … As a result, the car turned into a classic “time capsule” and saw the light only about a year and a half ago, when the owner’s widow rented it to a local dealer who sells used cars. The dealer instantly appreciated the uniqueness of the car and resold it many times more expensive than he bought from the owner, a German car showroom specializing in old- and jangtaimers.
The car crossed the ocean for the second time and was exhibited in Germany for 90,000 euros. The car has caused a stir in the circles of German collectors – it may seem surprising, but even in the homeland of this mass and megapopular car, which was produced for more than ten years, there are virtually no copies with such mileage and in such a state (without restoration)! That very mass production made its own black business – the cars were perceived as “working horses” and were often used “in the tail and maneuver” – nobody thought to keep them in a collectible state…
However, “wanting” does not mean “buying”! German collectors, inclined to leisurely and strenuous, began to patiently wait for the price reduction. It gradually fell and reached 50,000 euros, after which some movement of potential buyers has already begun. Just at that moment I learned about the car from my local friends. I immediately sent a technical expert and a lawyer to inspect the car and, having received their conclusions, I quickly paid the declared price and took the car to Moscow! After that, as I was told by my German friends, there was a shock in the German oldtimer party that turned into a tragedy – everyone thought that sooner or later a car would be bought by one of the local venerable collectors, and no one expected that the national wealth would leave the country!
Mercedes arrived in Moscow by a covered car carrier, where he was registered and received the numbers in the usual general order. The car for the soul was not cheap – only 5 million rubles, of which one million were customs costs.
A characteristic feature of this particular specimen is the specific “recessed” headlights, which were made for import into the U.S. These are the so called “headlamps”, which are widespread over the ocean: if in a usual headlamp there is a reflector in the body, covered with glass, and inside there is a removable lamp, in the “headlamp” the reflector, glass and the lamp (a thread of incandescent in a flask) is a single and undisassembled whole. The advantages of the headlamp are its complete tightness in all conditions and absence of misting, while the disadvantages are the replacement of the entire headlamp when the lamp burns out, the need to adjust the direction of the beam after replacement, and difficulties with the installation of headlamp cleaners.
Original light-alloy discs are shoes in rubber R15 186/65 Continental Super Contact. This model of tires is not produced for many years, but in the trunk lies a new, never wearing a stock on a full-size rim.
The beige interior blends perfectly with the warmth of the body. And what a smell there – mmm … Surprisingly, but for 32 years the aroma of the new car has not only not weathered out – it feels as if it has even intensified! Let’s call it “the effect of cognac aging”, though in fact it is only the evaporation of different volatile substances – xylols, toluene, benzene, aldehydes and other chemicals, creating such a cute nose of a true motorist blend.
The textures of finishing materials are luxurious in the context of time and safety, although they are not really expensive – the model is still relatively cheap. However, they want to be touched and touched, receiving unprecedented tactile pleasure – almost like in the famous scene in “Escape from Vegas”, where the stuck heroes furiously stroked palms of their hands trimmed with fur in a nightclub, trying to keep the lost connection with reality.
The driver’s seat offers a view of Stuttgart’s impeccable classics of control and dashboard design, many elements of which have been migrating from one model to another for decades, including many years after the 190th production was discontinued.
However, some things familiar to experienced Mercedes-Benz riders are able to strain a person who has never driven a star before. For example, the button switch of modes of the heater with not too obvious pictograms of distribution of streams of air, special algorithm of inclusion of the conditioner, etc.
A special oldskulny chic – a separate button to control the extension and retraction of the telescopic antenna of the radio! And the further down the time scale, the more impressive such things seem to be, before ordinary. Seeing the control button of the electric antenna, my daughter stated: “This car from the past is much more like a car from the future than our modern car…”. With the mouths of a baby, which is called…
And symbolic, but important attributes of this “new old” car – a huge number of different papers, everywhere laid out and hung on the rope loops in the cabin and trunk. Service book, warranty, first service reminders, mini-instruction for cruise control, checks, dealer network cards, original virgin medicine cabinet, etc. There is even a native, not yet printed leather case for the ignition keys!
Under the hood of the car lives a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder longitudinally located 132 hp engine M102.985. The M102 engine family began with carburetor modifications, but the letter E in the index of the car model (190E) indicates the presence of injection (Einspritzmotor). In general, the family of these engines had versions with a volume of 1.8, 2.0, 2.3 and 2.5 liters
Under the transparent lid of the futures block hides a “nightmare of a gigulist” – rod fuses. Typical for their years, but later universally recognized as not reliable enough for high currents.
An additional electric pump for antifreeze allows it to be pumped through the heater radiator and after the engine has been switched off, providing the opportunity to use the residual heat of the engine without wasting gasoline.
On the move.
The first thing we encountered in the test drive of this “time capsule” was a fully discharged battery after a month of inactivity under the cover. “The car is 32 years old, during which its engine was started at best several dozen times…” – I pensively thought about it during the process of throwing a cheap launch booster on the battery terminals of the crocodiles. But the old German did not disgrace himself – started literally from half a turn, just instantly!
While the engine is warming up, I get settled behind the wheel. Landing is rather high – with a solid growth of the driver the gap between the top and the ceiling is vanishingly small, and the steering wheel still wants to raise slightly higher. However, it is not difficult to sit down comfortably – especially as the seats have fully preserved their shape and elasticity. And at the expense of a high landing excellent visibility and sense of dimensions of the car is provided.
I also switch on the “drive” with a soft shock (which was the norm in 87th, and on modern boxes it is possible to consider a sign of approaching problems). The engine, without the slightest delay, responding to the pedal with a classic cable drive, easily gains momentum, making a pleasant bass rumble, which is extremely delicate and dosed through the excellent noise insulation.
Maneuverability and maneuverability is exemplary – adjusted for the era, of course! The steering gearbox provides excellent feedback, the machine listens clearly to the steering wheel and unfolds literally on the spot. The car does not provoke an active drive, although, of course, there is some potential for this even in the most ordinary civil version (and there were also “charged” small circulation, and purely sports professional). This “time machine” makes you want to drive in a fancy, leisurely way.
Moreover, the suspension has completely preserved all its characteristics, although it is not clear how it can be at the age of 32, even in the absence of mileage! The front and rear suspension settings polished by Stuttgart engineers (the last one is a complex five-lever) carry the car almost like on air cylinders! “Lying policemen” pass as if they are not present, and thus softness on roughness does not generate valleys in turns – the car confidently enters turns and stably moves in strips as to modern “solarisam” and “logs” even did not dream.
However, all this is, of course, trifling. The main thing for this copy is the ability to convey the spirit of the time, and it does it exemplary. The era is gone, but the car keeps it and carefully carries it to the next generations…
It is not uncommon to say that the Mercedes 190 was developed as the main competitor of the third series from BMW, but this is true only in part. In 1973, the Arab League refused to supply oil to the leading Western powers, which supported Israel in its conflict with Syria and Egypt – fuel prices rose everywhere, there was a shortage of it. Despite the fact that the acute phase of the oil confrontation lasted only a year (!), its impact was felt all over the world for more than a decade – in particular, in the automotive industry the crisis caused a sharp development of the segment of compact and efficient cars, which, in fact, became a very positive trend. As part of this trend and was developed “baby-benz” Mercedes 190, which instantly reached the top of the sales ratings of the D-segment in Europe and became popular in America.
Mercedes 190 of the W201 family has been on the conveyor for 12 years – from 1982 to 1993. When launching a new model of transition to a promising, but not associated with the typical Stuttgart high-tech class front drive, fortunately, did not happen (although there were plans!). But in comparison with the W123 family that prevailed before the W201, the new line of vehicles became much shorter in bodywork, lighter in weight, and significantly reduced the drag coefficient, which affects fuel consumption.
Of course, the main series of gasoline engines M102 became lighter, more powerful and more economical than its predecessor M115. In terms of commercial operation of the 190s, the famous Mercedes-Benz OM601/602 millionaire diesel engines have traditionally been excellent, and the model was also famous for its sports successes in the DTM series body racing.