A Man and his Obsession

A Man and his Obsession

Bodo Buschmann was an interesting man. Living by the mantra; “Never work for money, work for passion”. The man from Brabus certainly had a passion for building fast cars, or rather, fast masterpieces. Fast masterpieces that he sold for staggering amounts of money. If you wanted one, you should have probably started working for money, instead of passion. The Brabus 190E 3.6S of 1988 was one of those masterpieces.

It was a one-off promotional car that Brabus built in 1988. The W201 started out with a M103 2.6 Liter mated to a 5 speed manual transmission. The 160 Hp this engine created was obviously not enough for Bodo, so Brabus’s development chief Uli Gauffres started over with a 3.0 Liter M103 12 valve engine which was enlarged to 3.6 Liters (3590cc). This gave the car 268 Hp and 269 lb-ft of torque (eventually the same concept would be developed based on the M104 24v. The difference in power was negligible and the M103 version is considered the most reliable). Brabus added a roll cage but took out pretty much everything they deemed unnecessary for going really fast. As mentioned, this was a PR car so when it had fulfilled its tire shredding duties, it was retired. Unfortunately, it didn’t go to storage, instead it was converted to a “normal” Brabus car. The car was sold to a client who, as many others, thought the lightweight was to spartan. Clients demanded creature comforts like a back seat and air-conditioning and they just didn’t like a roll cage in their baby Benz. The lightweight was no more.

One man did like the 3.6S. He had secretly fallen in love with this brilliant machine. 20 years after the original was built, Sven Gramm asked Brabus to build him one, and they did. Sven was heavily involved in the project, roaming the Brabus archives, turning the Brabus facility in Bottrop upside down to find the original blueprints. Sven also happened to be the PR manager at Brabus. It took them 10 months to recreate the car and the result was stunning. There were subtle changes made to the car. The original car was a 1988 and Sven’s car is a 1989. But there are more subtle differences made to improve this car although they look spectacular identical. The exterior changes included the grill and hood, which are a single piece on this car, in addition to that, the wipers, trim, doorhandles and badging are done in MB040 black.

This “new” Brabus 3.6S, started out as a 5 speed manual w201 2.6 that Sven found with an elderly gentleman, who had taken good care of his car ever since he bought it at the Mercedes dealership. Brabus went to work to add those horses to yet again a 12v 6-L 3.0 Liter M103 engine. Both bore and stroke where increased and slight over squared to 92.2 x 90.0mm. A sharper camshaft was fitted. The connection rods where lightened and balanced and custom KS pistons were installed. The cylinder head was given three angle valve seats and bigger valves. A modified intake and fantastic looking exhaust manifold were also installed. The raw power this engine produced meant a lot of extra heat. To counter this, engine cooling was increased and a transmission oil cooler as well as a differential oil cooler were installed. All this, and a bit more resulted in a 3.6 liter 12 valve engine producing 286 Hp and 269 ft of torque.

This beast of an engine in the nearly empty shell without rear seats, air conditioning or a radio made the car lightning fast for its time. However, more modifications were needed. They installed a Weichers aluminum anti roll cage, Recaro Kevlar seats with 4 point seatbelts, high-performance brakes with 286mm vented discs and 4 pod calipers, an upgraded version of the original Bilstein shock absorbers and Eibach spring setup and much, much more. Amazingly enough, the original suspension parts where still in stock at the Brabus plant, as were many of the other parts. The car was placed on 16 inch Brabus Monoblock 1 rims with tires from Yokohama A048s in 225/45/16 for both front and rear to give it some traction.

This slim fast diet made this car outperform the W201 evolution II. The lightweight is three tenths of a second faster in a sprint from 0-60 miles. It does it in 6.3 seconds and doesn’t stop till it reaches 162 Mph, which is 7 miles faster than the Evo II. The original 3.6S had the option where you could choose either, the shorter sprint rear differential that Sven has installed or a taller version that could reach 177 Mph.

Sven had his car for many years and we can only assume he enjoyed it…sporadically. It had only driven 10.477 Km or 6.511 Miles when he offered it for sale for about $175.500,- a while back.

Back to Last Page