A Cosworth 190 E Nostalgia Trip At Ultimate Dubs

There were some fantastic cars on the market at the end of the 1980s.

Japan was in its sports car stride, America was out of the Malaise era (thankfully), and the German arms race was on for DTM supremacy. Mercedes-Benz’s entrant to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters fray was the Cosworth-developed 190 E 2.3-16 (and later 2.5-16 and Evo variants).

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Dougie McColm‘s 1990 190 E 2.5-16 stood out to me under the Telford International Centre’s new LED lights. Partly because it was a Mercedes-Benz at a Volkswagen show, but also because it seemed to fit my brief for ‘how to modify a cult car’ perfectly.

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For example, you do not want to overdo it. Especially when the base car is as desirable as Dougie’s is.

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K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid) is a dying art in the car-modifying world. Many builders are doing more and more to stand out, and when that happens, they often lose sight of what drew them to a particular car in the first place.

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“I planned to create an Evo-II kitted 190 E, but I fell for it [this genuine 2.5.16] as a standard car and decided to make it the straightest 190 E around,” Dougie explained.

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That’s why it’s had a full respray in the original colour, instead of a wild hue. Subtle additions add further depth to the exterior, with a STEVS Design rear spoiler ‘crown’, Evo I front splitter, and Evo II rear window spoiler – all in carbon fibre. I mustn’t forget the period-correct Heko wind deflectors, either.

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Tucked into the flared wheel arches courtesy of an Air Lift Performance 3P suspension system are 18-inch AMG monoblock wheels, which have a subtle twist on the original finish by pairing metallic silver faces with brushed lips.

A little nip-and-tuck under the skin was required to drop the Benz as low as possible; the W201 isn’t the most straightforward platform to slam to the ground.

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The real talking point of this car is the interior, though, and for good reason.

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“I wanted some subtle carbon fibre parts and the vibrant, period-correct Recaro Orange Spectrum fabric inside for contrast. I bought the fabric before I purchased the car,” says Dougie with a laugh.

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Look past the orange seat inserts, and you’ll find some rather unexpected touches. Inspired by the Cosworth 190 E’s motorsport heritage, there are lashings of satin-finish carbon fibre all around the cabin.

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Not only have all of the interior accent trims been replaced with the composite material – also sourced from STEVS Design in Canada – but the entire door cards are in carbon too.

I’m usually a traditionalist with interiors – give me some soft leather and rich wood any day – but the fit and finish in Dougie’s 190 E is simply phenomenal.

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Further accents such as the Recaro Orange Spectrum fabric-trimmed door pulls and centre insert in the Momo four-spoke steering wheel tie in with the orange OEM needles in the dash clocks, the orange backlit gauges in the centre console, and the orange seat belts.

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The centrepiece of the interior is the Air Lift Performance 3P controller, mounted to the back of a bright orange Game Boy controller. Touches like these remind us that we should have fun with our cars, no matter how ‘serious’ the build is.

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“At the Le Mans Classic last year, a genuine 190 E Evo II pulled into the petrol station behind us, and I decided I needed a 190 E on my life. This wasn’t meant to be a big project, so I call it my ‘Project not-a-project!'”

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Dougie is certainly a fanatic when it comes to his builds, his W108 project being well-known within the UK car scene and his Vauxhall-powered and carbon-accented Mini before that. It’s nice to see Dougie’s enthusiasm isn’t waning, even if his idea of a ‘tame’ build is different to most.

Mario Christou
Instagram: mcwpn



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I'm impressed, it's an awesome build!
Kudos for photos and car, it's so smooth and nostalgic.

*I always love 190E Evos tho I'm not a MB guy


Now that's such a nice car


Best orange touches ever! The Gameboy-Airliftcontroller-Combo is outstanding, yet subtle. As tasty as it gets!



Love your ride!!!! That paint color is just GORGEOUS!!! And the interior is freaking amazing! Incredible build!!!! My dad's cousin had a tripple-black 1986 AMG Hammer. 500k on the odometer. Those wheels are timeless. Sweet!!!