We Talked to the Dealer Selling a Mercedes-Benz 190E Evo II for $279,000

It’s nearly sold. Rich persons, act now to own a piece of German race history.

bySean Evans|
We Talked to the Dealer Selling a Mercedes-Benz 190E Evo II for $279,000

Last week, a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E Evolution II hit eBay with a price of nearly $300,000. With a few days left, we called the sellers, a California outfit named Symbolic International, to see if any bids had been entered. “We’ve had many inquires and a number of legitimate offers,” Chris Peterson, Director of Sales, told us. “Everyone’s coming in a bit under, but I do see it selling this week.”

As for how much shy, Peterson wouldn’t give exact numbers, but said “it’s close. In the right ballpark.” The offers are coming in from across the country, with a number of interested parties hailing from the East coast, though the leading bid is from California. Perhaps that prospective buyer took note that, despite surpassing the NHTSA’s 25-year period for importing cars not original sold in the States, this Evo II is not road legal in California. “It needs to get to code to pass California Air Resources Board inspection, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000,” Peterson said.

Symbolic International

The lack of certification didn’t stop Peterson from taking a spin after they took delivery of the renowned car. “It’s like an amazing go-kart,” he gushed. “It’s got a little engine, but once you get it revved high enough, it really kicks in. It almost feels like a turbo in a weird way. There’s a little lag, but it’s still a lot of fun at low speeds. It’s so stiff.”

The sedan features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine that was the result of AMG teaming up with Cosworth, good for 235 horsepower, though it’s capable of being easily tweaked up to the 400 horsepower that its DTM race brethren enjoyed. While track capable, this particular car was barely driven. “We do a lot of business in Japan and we found this in Osaka. It belonged to a collector who drove it sparingly and kept it extremely well maintained. It’s a perfect car, even with the mileage,” Peterson says. His firm imported it with with just under 11,000 miles. All they had to do was change the tires and oil.

Symbolic International

The ideal buyer would be “someone who wants an early Mercedes AMG. You’ll never see anything like this on the road,” Peterson says. The future owner should accordingly be comfortable getting a ton of looks while driving it. “Either people know exactly what it is or they look at you like you’re crazy,” Peterson laughs.

You should also be absurdly wealthy, given the sticker price. “It’s hard to gauge actual value on a car like this. I can tell you we paid very close to the price we’re listing it for. There’s not much margin for us,” he says. As for how they arrive at the list price, “We looked at the others for sale. We found one with 18,600 miles going for $244,655. There was another one with 62,000 miles and that owner wanted $170,000. If our car is that much better, that much nicer, we don’t see why it’s not worth that much more,” Peterson says.

One fellow disagreed. “Some guy on the street offered me $4,500 for it,” Peterson chuckles. “I passed.”