Follow the journey of Santosh Ponen and his beloved 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 Sportline

Santosh Ponen has been a lover of all things Mercedes-Benz since he was six years old and has an interesting story about his one-of-a-kind 1993 190E 2.3 Sportline model.

The seed was initially sowed when his dad purchased a green in colour 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280S that had some cool features like a red-covered leather interior, column shift gears and a petrol tank situated behind the number plate – in true James Bond style as he calls it. He says he has driven a number of models over the years but nothing comes close to the 190E in terms of sheer driving pleasure and German engineering.

Santosh purchased his 190E in September 2020 for a mere R14 000 – with the only snag being that it was last licenced in 2013. It wasn’t in the best state as its leather seats were torn, had a cracked windscreen and badly worn out shocks. It became clear that money had to be spent in order to return the German sedan to its former glory.

Long road to glory

The next point of call was to get the paperwork in order. This involved the transfer from Wesbank (the financier), then to the previous owner (who passed away) and only then could it be legally transferred to Santosh’ name. The outstanding licences set him back a hefty R12 000. Next in the transformation process was a respray – which was unfortunately poorly done.

Once the licence was sorted out, it was put up for sale and after initially listing it for R60 000, a price of R35 000 was agreed which meant little to no profit was made. Overall, Santosh says that the car brought him great pleasure in both the restoration and driving process, while also turning heads, especially on Sunday morning drives.

Gumtree lists some interesting facts about the Mercedes-Benz 190E:

  • 190E’s was only imported by Mercedes-Benz South Africa during 1993.
  • Right hand drive models was shipped to the country in partially broken down form and reassembled locally.
  • A total of 2 000 units made its way to SA.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local service information close to home.

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