1987 Cosworth Benz Project is as Horrifying as You Fear

1987 Mercedes benz cosworth 190e for saleAt some point I want to pick up a dreadfully cheap 928, SEL 6.9, or 8-series to revive just to see how bad it’ll be. I love simplicity, but when someone describes a vehicle as hopeless or not worth saving, I just can’t back away from the challenge. This 1987 Mercedes Benz Cosworth 190e 2.3-16V scares even me away, even as a fantasy project with a fantasy garage and fantasy time to work on it.

Approaching it in a fenced lot behind a New Jersey warehouse, we notice the lousy tint and over-sized, newer AMG monoblock wheels, typical of the suspiciously cheap aged luxury vehicle. Alas, under the hood, we’re treated to a quartet of exposed, rusted cylinder bores. Apparently the motor dropped a valve and this block isn’t salvageable. But wait! There’s still hope: the cylinder head was rebuilt and there’s a “good” block included with sale. Except that good block has surface rust and should probably be gone through by a shop. Honestly, I’d just as soon drop an Ecoboost crate motor in and call it a day.

1987 Mercedes benz cosworth 190e engine bay

Fine, the powertrain’s dubious, but hopefully the interior’s serviceable, right? Well, the visible 40% of the seating surfaces look pretty good, but the denuded C-pillar and missing gauge cluster leave an extra tinge of “fnck it” about the whole thing. Exterior? Rust bubbles, missing trim, oxidized paint, the usual. Oh, and those 18″ Monoblocks aren’t included, the factory wheels are and they’ve been spray painted black.

This thing checks all the “string of crappy owners in way over their heads” boxes, and just when you think the seller couldn’t do any better, he signs off with

Looking for Porsche 951. Also interested in E36 M3’s, Alfa GTV6 or similar cars.

Of course he is. Oh yeah, the price: opening at $2800, Buy-it-now of $4500. I apologize in advance for the drink you just spewed on your keyboard.
1987 Mercedes Benz Cosworth 190e 2.3-16V for sale – eBay Motors

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  1. mechimike Avatar

    Run. Run far, far away. A nice Cosworth is in the 10-12,000 range, and you’ll have that much into this rolling testament to apathy before it ever turns a wheel in anger. It’s worth about 1500 in parts for another, more roadworthy example.

  2. dukeisduke Avatar

    One day and three hours to go, and no bids. Look at the rust peeking out under the taillights – I’ll bet it’s a horror show underneath. It might be a decent parts car, but it really should be sitting in a junkyard. My old boss owned one of these (he also had an E30 at the time, and a first-gen SLK), and the original owner had been too cheap to properly fix the emissions and powertrain control systems properly, so it had all kinds of jury-rigged wiring under the hood.
    A local indy mechanic that worked on German cars tried mightily to get the thing to run right, and finally threw up his hands, so the car ended up getting sold to someone in SoCal (where the car had been before my boss bought it).

  3. racer139 Avatar

    A friend of mine just bougt a cosworth from an auction in Ottawa Ontario. My brother shipped it back along with a 07 2500 diesel ram. Its a clean looking car from afar but its at the top of a ramp trailer and there is more than four feet of the white stuff surrounding it. The owner says its a theft recovery that is clean and complete except for the dog-leg trans is missing. I can’t wait until the snow clears so we can get a better look at it and see if its for sale.

  4. jayp2112 Avatar

    SBC innit, DTM tribute car.

  5. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    I’m really curious what it’s like to actually drive one of these… is it any good or is it romanticized 80’s “good”

    1. RoadworkUK Avatar

      I think you’d be disappointed by the lack of poke compared to todays performance expectations, but blown away by the tactility. These are very feelsome.

    2. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      I’m still not entirely sure how (OK, the guy who built it works at a Merc dealership), but there’s one that runs East Coast LeMons races and put the car together for allegedly $500. It tops an E30 325is in power (but not an E30 M3) and because it’s a four-cylinder, gets way better gas mileage in a race (Plus they have a fuel cell, I’m pretty sure, so three-hour stints aren’t uncommon). It would actually be a pretty good match for the Model T GT if they ever were at the same race.
      Chris really already said it, but I suspect this is good-for-the-time but never going to knock you on your ass.

  6. RoadworkUK Avatar

    This is a parts car, Shirley? And most of the parts it has that are any good are non 2.5-16 specific anyway.
    Got a spare SVO Mustang lump? Stick it in.

  7. Fred Avatar

    A lot of years ago I wanted something nicer than the old Beetle so I looked at a decent “fintail” MB I checked out some parts prices at the local foreign car parts house and changed my mind. I doubt much has changed.

  8. Slow Joe Crow Avatar
    Slow Joe Crow

    Project car hell, here we come. There are few projects more hellish than an incomplete “restoration”