This Tiny 1984 Mercedes-Benz 190 Has a Massive S-Class V12 Engine

A match made in German heaven.

Johan Muter

Engine swaps are a dime a dozen these days, but occasionally there's a build that goes above and beyond anything we thought possible, or even necessary. Dutch YouTuber Johan Muter swapped the wimpy engine in his 1984 Mercedes-Benz 190 out for a much larger and more powerful V12 from a newer S-Class. Oh, and the whole thing is street and SMOG-legal in Europe, which is a massive achievement in and of itself.

 

Retro 190-Class cars were tremendously popular and known for their near-bulletproof reliability, but the non-Cosworth-tuned models were never known for their speed. Muter’s upgrades fix that problem, as the V12 he sourced from an S-Class Mercedes produces nearly four times more power than the original engine did. Making the build even more awesome is the fact that he did all of the work himself. 

In messages to The Drive, Muter notes that the engine is tame and barely noticeable when cruising at low speeds, but it really opens up around 4,000 RPM. In the S-Class, that big V12 is nestled deep under a long hood and tons of sound deadening that all but mutes the growl. In the tiny W201, there’s almost nothing between the big power plant and the outside world, so all of that beautiful noise is free to fill the cabin and serenade anyone within a two-block radius.

Muter says his build was put through its paces on a dyno and turned out 424 horsepower and around 430 pound-feet of torque when running on 95-octane fuel. To get the V12 working in the older car, he had to set up a standalone engine control unit and transmission control unit. As we can see in the video, he’s also installed paddle shifters, which certainly adds a layer of complexity to the build.

 

What do you do once you have a street-legal, V12-powered W201? Muter’s plans are to restore the car’s interior and prep it for a paint job in the near future. After that, he says the car will likely go up for sale but didn’t elaborate on a future price for the one-of-one Mercedes. 

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