Would You Buy This Pristine 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3 or a Brand New E-Class?

The odometer reads just 287 miles ticked off since it was bought new in 1986.

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There are high school time capsules and then there are time capsules like this 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3. One is a fun lark to unbury after 20 years and rummage through its out-of-date fashion, music, and choice of presidential bumper stickers. The other is a tangible machine that you could conceivably drive on a daily basis, reliving all of the greatest hits of the era without the awkward styling and colors the '80s were known for. This being The Drive, we think you know which one we’d pick. 

The posting, which comes via a German dealership’s site, states that this 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3 is essentially factory-new. It is a one owner car and has been stored in a climate-controlled garage in Germany since being purchased in 1986. It’s also never really moved as it shows just 287 miles on the odometer. That is what you’d call an ultimate survivor. 

The listing states that the 190 E 2.3 was optioned with an automatic transmission and has working air-conditioning, heating, all four electric windows, a Becker Grand Prix audio system, and cruise control.

Though of the same generation as the legendary W201 190 Evo, this particular 190 E 2.3 is powered by a 2.3-liter inline 4-cylinder engine and produced just 134 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. This specific example is featured with a red metallic paint combined with a tan leather interior. According to the seller, the car is absolutely complete and even comes with a second spare key. It’s also never been registered, which could become an issue if the buyer ever decides to register it for road use. 

As far as its condition, that too could be an issue. Though the seller states that it is in perfect shape, given that this Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3 has only ever done less than 300 miles in the 33 years since it left the Affalterbach, it’s likely going to need quite an extensive service or ground-up restoration to get it to road-worthy status. Sitting for so long—likely still full of fluids—the Mercedes’ belts, hoses, tires, and other mechanical bits are bound to have degraded. That means, whoever buyers this will be slapping down a healthy additional amount of money to have it ready to drive.

Which brings us to the price. The dealership is asking a whopping €49,900 for the survivor 190 E 2.3. That approximately equates to $55,700 in today’s exchange rate. Without taking into account the thousands upon thousands of dollars of maintenance they’ll have to do, that same $55,700 could nab buyers a brand new, base-spec E-Class, a semi well-equipped C-Class, or an absolutely awesome A-Class. It really just comes down to a matter of choice and whether or not you want to embark on a sweet classic restoration. You could also just save yourself the hassle and buy one of these gorgeous Japanese resto-mod Mercs