W201 Manual Sportline: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6

We’ve had quite a few features of 90s Mercedes-Benz sedans in the past few weeks…which isn’t a bad thing. Maintenance costs from a dealer are the reason most people won’t drive a ’90s Benz, but if you have a local independent shop you trust and/or are handy with a wrench, these things will provide miles of entertainment for a low buy in today. And this next one has two of my requirements for a 30 year old daily driver — a non-thrashed interior and a manual gearbox. Find this 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190e 2.6 Sportline bidding for $3,400 reserve-not-met with buy-it-now of $6900 in Olalla, WA on ebay.

From the seller:

This Sportline is acar I searched for many years to find. The manual transmission behind the M103straight six is a rare combo to begin with, but to find a Sportline car is evenharder. There’s great dispute as to how many of these were built: records indicatethat only 700 Limited Edition Sportlines were built, and all of those wereautomatics; I was told by the dealership that a Sportline could be orderedwithout the Limited Edition trim but was rarely done. Sportlines came with alower, sportier suspension, sport seats by Recaro, a different steering wheeland shift knob, Cosworth spec steering box, and optional exterior badging. Thiscar was optioned without badges, and the steering wheel was replaced by theprevious owner. Online VIN decoders confirm the Sportline package on this car.

The “alpacagray” leather of the interior is remarkable in how unmarked it is by timeor use. Front and rear seats are deeply bolstered, and are arguably the mostdesirable configuration that ever came in a 190. The same seats were used inthe 190E 2.3 16v spec cars, but not in this color. Fronts are 10-way poweradjustable. Recent “Ultimats” floor mats from Lloyds in matching grayshow some use.

Car drives withoutany rattles or unusual noises. Transmission shifts smoothly, clutch holds wellin all conditions. No noise from throw-out bearing. Ride quality is typicalMercedes: comfortable and quiet, but holds corners better than you’d expect forthe smooth ride. Multi-link rear suspension and Macpherson strut front istight. Front and rear sway bars are Sportline spec, and allow for less bodyroll than a stock 190e. Overall, car presents well better than you’d expect ina 27 year old car.

I purchased a M104engine from an E320 with ~80k miles, with the intention of swapping out theM103. The M104 is a 3.2 liter 24 valve engine and would mechanically swapeasily. Engine management would require some consideration, but I leave that tothe buyer, should they choose to pick up this spare engine. M104 engine isincluded in auction, but requires buyer pickup. See below for more information.The head gasket on the M103 engine in the car was recently replaced, due topresence of oil in the coolant. This mode of failure is typical of this engine.As there is still oil in the coolant, I’m unable to determine if this is due toneed of additional flushing or if the replacement work was done incorrectly.Car runs and drives well and has no other indications of an issue.


Presents well withno major body damage. Numerous door dings in both passenger front and driver’sfront door. Paint appears to be original and shows nice shine but displays manyflaws, including what looks like maybe sap damage on horizontal surfaces. Visibleas dark spots in hood photo.

Euro headlights,protected by Lamin-x protection film


Wheels upgraded toS-Class 16″ 8-hole rims and appropriate spacers for fit.

Tires are nearly newContinental Extreme Contact DWS all seasons and measure 10/32″ all around.Tires have always worn evenly, and these are no different.

Front brakesupgraded to late W124 setup with 4-piston calipers and larger rotors.

Recent Service:

New cap/rotor andspark plugs.

New hood pad

Head gasket replacedabout 3,000 miles ago. There is still oil in thecoolant. M103 head gasket failure allows oil into the coolant, andgetting it flushed out takes numerous attempts.

Water pump,serpentine belt, and tensioner all replaced during head gasket work

Transmission anddifferential fluids changed ~8,000 miles ago.

Hood strut replaced1 year ago.

Needs work:

Sunroof is slow, soI don’t use it

Cruise control isnon-op. I believe it’s the brake/clutch switch.

AC compressor needsreplacement. New compressor included in auction.

Radio sounds awful,but that’s not a surprise given the age of the factory head unit.

Digital outside tempgauge had the LCD leak. Unknown spare included.

Idle isintermittently high

Driver’s side mirroradjuster is not present.

Some cracks inveneer around shifter. All other wood in excellent condition.

Door cards have all”popped” as they all do in these cars. The vinyl of the armrest hasdetached from its base; see driver’s door photo. No functional issue, it justtakes up the armrest area, so you feel it when you put your elbow on it.20

Included spares:

New Denso ACcompressor

AC dryer

Fuel filters

Sportline spec frontcontrol arm bushings (NOS)

Oil filter

OVP relay

Four brake rotors

Numerous seals,o-rings, miscellaneous items

Optional Spare: Asindicated above, my intent was to engine swap an M104 3.2 liter 24 valveengine. One is included in this auction BUT BUYER MUST ARRANGE PICKUP. It willnot be included if you have a car hauler come pick up the car. I can arrange tohave it crated and delivered to a freight depot, but this will all be at anextra cost to the buyer.

This is a visuallystunning car, that gets frequent compliments. I’m suspicious of the oil remaining in the coolant, and as such wouldrecommend buyer look into this issue: it may require re-torqueing of headbolts, additional flushes, or another head gasket job.

Ihaven’t been too concerned since I intended to swap the engine anyway.

See a better way to get a car with an extra engine for cheap? tips@dailyturismo.com