After various circuit checks and with little else we could do there and then, I booked the car in to be left with him for a longer period in a couple of months and jumped back on Google. Another possible cause seemed to be the car's over voltage protection (OVP) relay, its 10 amp fuse often blowing and not providing enough oomph when it's most needed. Of course, there are also question marks surrounding the fuel lines, pump and filter, all of which will be assessed soon.
But let us not be too concerned with such a trivial issue - what about how the 190 performed on a trip down to Dorset? The answer: an absolute dream. With the engine and gearbox warm, the 190, even in its entry-level 1.8-litre automatic form, felt completely relaxed up at motorway limits, its ride improving even further with speed.
And, as my phone's sat-nav revealed the M3 was backing up and diverted me first onto the A303, then onto the fast-flowing A354 south of Salisbury and finally the snaking B3078 out of Cranbourne, the 190E's handling was called into question. You'd probably imagine my bias would lead to glowing descriptions of bewildering agility and involvement, but in fact, it feels very much like the 24-year-old car it is. The new Avon tyres offered decent grip at around seven-tenths on Wiltshire's slimy surfaces, but the car's steering and body control were far less assured.
There's more good news, though. For many years, it seems, the poor car had been parked using its wheel trims, rather than its mirrors, as guides, and they were a real mess. So, while I was in Poole, I thought I'd drop them into Trimtek who, for £100, sanded them down and resprayed them. I think you'll agree from the pictures above, they did a brilliant job.
Indeed, stand 10 paces away and the 190E is looking better than ever. On closer inspection, though, its oxidised paint needs serious attention, and there are plans afoot for that. It isn't perfect to look at, true, but nevertheless, when somebody reversed into me over this last weekend I was still pretty heartbroken. Luckily, the resulting dent was fairly small, only a little paint was taken off and for now the other driver is willing to pay. Let's hope it stays that way. I'll be back with more soon.
Read Part 1 HERE
Read Part 2 HERE
Read Part 3 HERE