1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E
RCR Mercedes-Benz 190E Thumb.jpg
Car Details
Make Mercedes-Benz
Model 190E
Year 1986
Owner Luke Clayton
Episode Details
Episode Link Watch
Season The Southern Stab
Air Date September 21, 2015
Transcript
Credits Bertman

The car was ordered in 1986 from 231 - Coblenz Branch in Germany and was the 1,537 car ordered from the Coblenz branch in 86. It was ordered in 172 Anthracite Gray with 071 black cloth. The option codes are 410 - electric sliding roof, 466 - central locking system, 534 - Manual antenna without radio set, 580 - manual air conditioning, 591 - green heat insulating glass with heated rear window made of single sheet safety glass, 620 - vehicle with catalyst / emission control system. You are correct about being able to order a euro car with english instruments but your particular car had the standard metric speedo originally. If it had english instruments from the factory it would have option code 461, 467, or 469. Rare it was ordered with the cat since most euros were ordered as catalyst ready since it wasn't required in europe yet and unleaded fuel was not as common. The seat belt buzzer and warning light is not factory but is easily removed. Obviously all the outside lights are not the original euro ones.

The slowest car I've ever driven next to my stock Falcon...but, oh man, I look so cool and hip driving this little Merc!

Transcript[edit]

This is a 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E European import.

---

INTRO SONG by ROMAN

I drive a Benz in slow races,
With the old Chevelles and the old Pacers,
And that style is crisp,
Just like my lisp.

---

MR. REGULAR’S MONOLOGUE

This is the most disappointingly slow car I have ever driven. It’s one thing when you go into a car knowing that it’s gonna be slow, like a Caprice, or a Camry, or a Dodge Aspen. But when a car has a kickass badge, and sorta looks like that Cosworth thing? You’re expecting it to be fast, your hopes are all raised up. And then you get into it and it’s uhhhhhhhhhh. Seriously, I was trying to pull out at an intersection in this thing and, I kid you not, I had full throttle start, and I dumped the clutch, and the wheels didn’t even spin. Wanna know why? Well let’s look at the specs. 

---

*POV drive*

Mr. Regular: [accelerates from stoplight] My foot’s on the floor when I did that.
Owner (Luke): That’s, that’s pretty much the power band of this car. 
Mr. R: Foot’s on the floor. Foot’s on the floor. 

---

MONOLOGUE

Because it’s a European import this 190E is rear wheel drive so you think it’s good but it’s a 2.0 liter four cylinder engine with a four speed manual transmission. The USDM version of this car had a 2.6 liter, and according to Luke, the clutch grabs anywhere, and everywhere. But it doesn’t want to, and he’s not kidding about grabby Douglas over here. The clutch grabs like an out of control frat guy who has one too many banker’s club screwdrivers, and he’s at the point where knows he’s playing grab-ass with his roommate’s girlfriend, and he knows it’s wrong, but he just doesn’t care enough to remember anything they taught him in the court ordered sensitivity classes. 

And the problems don’t end there with the 190E. Because it’s a European import, you’re gonna have to hit up Europe for many of the under hood components. And also the passenger side mirror is smaller than the driver’s side mirror. It’s a square, whereas the driver’s side is a rectangle, because asymmetry is a practical joke the Germans are playing on the rest of us. 

That said there are some positives of the 190E. For one there’s the Mercedes-Benz brand. EHHHHHH There’s history in the name EHHHHH and that transcends anything that’s under the hood *fart noise* It also has an understated look. It’s beautiful in its observance of moderation. Nothing tacky here, nothing [background fart noise] overloaded with the gaudy chintzy garbage of 1980’s excess [background fart]. 
Yes there’s ehhh sort of a factory body kit look before body kits were a thing and look there is a spoiler in the back that’s supposed to mean something. Well it is rear wheel drive so yes we can argue that that spoiler does belong there. 

This car is a businessman, with a fresh haircut and a crisp suit. Mercedes-Benz 190E, sponsored by afternoon brandy, and tax-deductible lunches. IF I CAN’T PUT MY FIST INSIDE YOU AND OPEN MY WHOLE HAND WE HAVE NOTHING TO DISCUSS! Even if we’re not crazy about the 190E, there is significance in what it offers because it represents what we’ve lost through the passage of time. You have a clean dash, you have basic gauges. The interior of the car is not trying to show off. “I am a car for driving. I have an engine which moves the car. I have a gearbox which changes gear ratios.” 

Unfortunately, honest regular cars are a minority these days. It’s an ugly truth, but it’s one we have to face. We’re in the age of the crossover, the SUV, the hybrid. Simple frame designs aren’t as popular as they used to be, I mean for one safety has marginalized them, and two everybody is trying to be exceptional with their car designs. Every car is above average in a Lake Woebegone kind of way. And now compact crossovers are replacing midsize sedans in the market, and that’s with trucks and SUV’s continuing to crowd the space that used to be occupied by the Civics, the Accords, the Camrys and Corollas of the world, and these simple 190E’s. 

According to Car and Driver the downward trend started in 2001, the first year when SUV and truck sales officially surpassed cars as the consumer standard, claiming 51 percent of sales that year. The report goes on to state that crossovers could end up accounting for 20% of the market by the year 2020. As we Americans get fatter our cars need more ass hauling space to accommodate us. As our families grow we need more cargo room. As our egos grow, we need to sit taller and bigger, hulking metallic oligarchies. 

Our vehicles have not only outgrown us, they’ve largely stopped mattering to the people who own them. They are coaches that get from point A to point B; they are appliances now. But the Mercedes-Benz 190E is a throwback, to the days when the car was an intrinsic part of who you were. The car was a part of the family, whether you are, whether body on frame, or two box, or three box design, or unibody or what have you. Whether three pillars or four. But enough about talking in generalities, let’s stop here and right here and go right to the audio feed. 

---

POV

Luke: [pointing to inside of fuel door] it’s like, all the different languages and the uh, it’s all, like they do in bar.

Mr. Regular: Everybody would just strip naked and go BLACK!

Luke: [pointing to headlight switch] So in Europe, they actually have this little parking thing right here, so depending on what side of the street you park on, you can turn it and just only one side, so if I turn it here only this side running lights go on, and it uses a separate bulb, like a dimmer bulb, so at night time you park at the side and the theory behind it is so that the other drivers can see you parked on the side of the road. So if you’re parked in an alley or anything like that and you can turn it, this way and it’ll turn on just this side. 

Mr. Regular: nice!

Luke: I don’t really know what this is [points to dial next to headlight switch]. It’s like, I don’t know if it’s to level the headlights or what it is, it’s all like weird German stuff. 

Mr. Regular: [in driver’s seat] But it says miles per hour [points to speedometer], but it’s Euro import?

Luke: Right so, so in Germany, because I checked that out, in Germany, they actually, they’re like a mix between all the metric system and in miles per hour, so actually rated with horsepower, instead of like kilowatts, I guess how they mostly rate their engines by, so on the original, all the service that has been done to this was uh, yeah it has all the original paperwork. You need a “shlunkenshlacken” key replacement [shows original key replacement brochure]? 

[car starts, seatbelt warning beeps]
Mr. Regular: And… nah it’s yelling at, oh it just yells for a while for you to turn your seatbelt on. 
Luke: So yeah so all the original maintenance and stuff, it’s all in Deutschland. 

Mr. Regular: reverse is up, up and over. 
Luke: so yeah you pull it up.
Mr. Regular: Farah’s, Farah’s Delorean was like that, pull it up and then over. 

[Mr. Regular starts driving]
Mr. Regular: I see a little dial here called economy that’s moving all over the place. You can either have it black or red!
Luke: for a, uh, manual gearbox, they decided, and this was one thing that made me think this wasn’t a German car, whoever built it wasn’t German, because you have a giant clock [points to instrument cluster] that tells you what time it is, but you don’t have an rpm gauge. 

Mr. Regular: I keep thinking it’s a five speed!

---

MONOLOGUE
 
But back to symbolism. Even if the 190E does act as a symbol of sorts, I mean in America Mercedes still carries weight, although it doesn’t do it in the way it used to, but this was from an age when a Mercedes was a Mercedes. We still value it. We still have to approach the 190E as car reviewers.  So how does it actually run? OHHHH IT’S SLOW! I look so freaking cool but I’m not going anywhere. But you know what that’s part of it. The 190E makes you look cool beyond any sort of hipster ironocism. You have taste, oh god I love being me in this car. 

The 190E is a car that’s fun to sit and be motionless, you will enjoy this car while sitting at a stoplight, and even though you basically you end up with the same sort of pedestrian efficiency that hasn’t been here since the early 90’s, and by that I mean early 90’s British porn, it’s, it’s mostly just okay, like a nap on a Greyhound bus or a 15% discount at Pep Boys. Yeah it’s fine. A bit of history before we go. In 1986, Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing and that’s fitting here. In its own day the 190E was symbolic of the type of success that requires maintenance. It’s a reminder that you can have happiness, you can have money, but neither is necessarily going to last, not if you don’t put in the work. There are limits to what you can accomplish with name value and past accomplishments alone. 

---

OUTRO SONG BY ROMAN

You can dump, out the clutch,
But the wheels don’t spin very much,
Or even at all, no they don’t.
They’re just kind of there, oh no, no.

Regular, fancy you’re not,
Cars like these are not that odd.
If the speed is lackin’ yeah yeah,
You’ve got a Benz.

References[edit]