Value is in the eye of the beholder, which means that there are some cars that no matter what, will have price tags attached to them that may not represent market value - kind of like this Mercedes-Benz 190E that’s priced so high above the competition that it’s comical, but it may not be without reason.
This 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evo II is a real-life, no-fooling unicorn. It is the rarest Mercedes this side of a Gullwing, except this one has four doors and you can theoretically do your grocery shopping in it. I’m not sure why you’d do that, since this car is one of the 500 Mercedes had to have made to homologate the model for its DTM race cars. This car is, as close as one can tell, perfect as a car can be after 25 years of use.
The 2.5 liter four cylinder engine made a whopping 235 horsepower, which was a big number - especially back then - and it went toe-to-toe with the S14 engine in the BMW E30 M3. The car is extremely rare and usually attracts big money at auctions, but how big exactly? The seller of this example is asking a I-hope-you’re-sitting-downly sum of $700,000. That’s a seven with five zeroes after it for what amounts to a souped-up version of a car your dad’s rich friend drove through medical school.
While the car does have rarity and a racing pedigree (in theory) on its side, there’s a few things that don’t add up with this listing. First, there’s a slider missing on the climate control and some crappy aftermarket radio is installed, as well as some weird velcro strips on the dash and it’s out of gas. Also, the description is a bit light on details. Not to be too nitpicky, but if I’m paying the better part of a million bucks for a model that has never seen such insane prices in the past, it would help if there were things like oil analyses or even pictures of the car’s underside - something extremely prone to rust and corrosion on these cars. You can’t ask Mecum money and then give Craigslist quality info.
In my opinion, this car isn’t worth it at this price because when it boils down to it, it’s a four door car that comes from a manufacturer not known for its sporty cars and it will always be in the shadow of the infinitely more collectible BMW E30 M3, even in this car’s super-rare form. At six figures it would be a good bet to make since other examples have crossed the auction block at around that mark, factoring in import duties and fees. At this price, you’d have to be frankly insane to consider it, but I’d sure love to go for a drive in one. Just sayin’.
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world’s cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he’s the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn’t feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.