Despite having some of the most desirable cars all to themselves, Japanese people also love rare European cars that they couldn’t get at the time of the release, like the 1986 M3 or the Mercedes Benz 2.3 190E. Matsumoto-san owns a W201 and he has made a nice impact on his project.
In the mid-80s, Mercedes collaborated really well with Cosworth and decided to give the W201 a new 16V engine. This represented the beginning of an era that still runs today, an era of horsepower race between the great German car manufacturers. BMW launched the M5 in 1985 and one year later the M3, two iconic cars even now.
Since the sole purpose of this build was a time-attack car, weight savings and aero modifications had to be made. The hood has been replaced with a carbon fiber unit along with hood-pins. The bodykit is the original EVO I package consisting of front overfenders that run along the front bumper, a set of sideskirts, rear overfenders, rear bumper and DTM wing. Other additions are the Lexan windows to shave some unwanted weight, a black painted dry carbon trunk lid and a set of Craft Square carbon mirrors. Matsumoto built an underpanel that runs under the engine bay and has a carbon fiber DTM lip upfront.
The interior has been stripped; remember this is a time-attack car. There is only one seat, a Recaro SPG bucket with a 6-point Sabelt harness. The original steering wheel has been replaced with a SARD suede wrapped steering wheel.
Other track oriented modifications include a Stash dash unit that is mounted in a carbon fiber panel, a Lap Shot timer and a HKS F-CON V Pro computer. The rear door panels were taken out and a set of carbon fiber sheets were installed in order to shave some weight.
This 190E sits on 8.5×17’ upfront and 9×17’ in the rear RAYS Volk Racing CE28N wheels wrapped in Yokohama Advan A050 tires, measuring 225/45/R17 in the front and 245/40R17 in the rear. Grip is also provided by the specially built TRD 5-step adjustable front dampers with Swift springs, the Koni Racing Formula rear dampers with special pillow balls and Eibach springs and the front adjustable pillow upper mounts. The calipers and rotors were sourced from a later E500 model.
Motor Racing Clever is the workshop that was in charge with this project. They found a 2.5L bottom end from an Evo II car and installed some upgraded parts, like the aluminum overflow tank, the Nissan VQ35DE pistons with Carillo H-section rods, a ported and polished original Cosworth twin cam head with four Toyota AE101-spec 4A-GE throttle bodies, a new fuel rail and a vertically-mounted oil cooler. Matsumoto-san custom built the carbon fiber intake that covers the velocity stacks and a bumper-mounted air filter that sits in a carbon fiber box. The engine now provied 250hp, which in a 1,020 kg car is not so bad.
The transmission received some attention in the form of a Cusco 2-way LSD with a 3.5:1 final gear and a Toyota 7.5’ housing and an E30 M3 Evolution clutch.