UK-based classic car sellers Fast Classics have brought to market this one-of-one 1988 Mercedes 190 built by Brabus. Their asking price? £132,000. Now, if you can pick yourself up off the floor after seeing that stratospheric price, take a look at the listing for the full explanation of what exactly makes it worth so much dosh. If the BMW E30 M3 is too slow, and Mercedes’ own Cosworth-tuned 190E 2.5-16v isn’t hard core enough, then the Brabus 3.6S Lightweight is perhaps the ’80s touring-car monster you need to invest in.
Brabus built one prototype in-period to give customers an idea of what they were capable of. At the time it was deemed far too expensive for a stripped down two-seat sedan with vestigial rear doors and no air conditioning. The idea was shelved and replaced with a less hardened Brabus 190E 3.6-24. Some twenty years later Sven Gramm, the PR director for the company, decided that he wanted one of his own. That’s right, this wild German touring sedan was built in 2008.
Unlike the E30 M3 or the 190E Cosworth, Brabus started with the 190E’s big engine, the 2.6-liter inline-six. That basic engine produced a lackluster 158 horsepower, but once Brabus had ripped it out, pumped up the displacement a full liter, and threw in a set of modified camshafts, intake and exhaust manifolds, and a full stainless exhaust system, the six-cylinder now produces an impressive 286 horses. Torque is also up significantly to 269 lb-ft.
With equally impressive 286mm brakes, suspension upgrades from Eibach and Bilstein, and sticky 225-wide Advan tires on light 16-inch wheels, the Brabus 3.6S Lightweight is a truly impressive bit of kit. With a built-in roll cage, carbon-back Recaro buckets, and harnesses, the interior is just as wild as you’d expect from an era German tuner. The outside, however, isn’t quite as wild. Compared to the insane Cosworth Evo II model, it’s downright staid and normal.
Speaking of that Evo II, the Brabus is both quicker to sixty with a 6.3-second sprint, and faster with a 158 mph top speed. Without the aero downforce, the Brabus might struggle to beat that Evo II around a road course, but it’d still be a tight battle. As rare as the Cosworth is, it can’t hold a candle to the one-off Brabus, can it? I certainly know which one I’d rather have. If you’re a pure dyed-in-the-wool ‘80s Mercedes freak, here’s your holy grail.
You can see the full listing on fast-classics.com.