Generally speaking, when we come across a run-down car on private property the best we can do is to take a picture over the fence. The Mercedes-Benz 190D (w201) pictured below is different because it’s more or less owned by a good friend. Not only were were able to unlock the gate, walk in and photograph it, we know exactly the story behind it and how it ended up in a decrepit storage lot.
You’re probably wondering “how the hell do you more or less own a car?” Well, the 190D was purchased new by a friend’s father in 1992. He used it daily until he died a few years ago, and his kids agreed to let one of his nephews drive it temporarily. Long story short, a court battle between siblings froze all of the man’s assets including the 190, making it impossible to transfer the title. That was fine as long as the nephew drove it but when he decided to get rid of it and buy something newer there was absolutely no way to get rid of it. The 2.5-liter ran – quite well, we’re told – but because it is illegal to sell it (for parts or as a whole) it’s been parked in this very spot for a number of years.
All is not lost: It looks like the issues will be sorted out soon and we’ve been asked to put the 190 back on the road. If all goes as planned, you’ll see a lot of more of this 201 over the coming months.
The 1980 Renault 14 TL visible in some of the pictures has been featured in these pages before. It was generously given to us for parts a while back and it’s provided quite a few major and minor bits and pieces over the years.