Alfa vs Mercedes in upcoming Dorset auction

DVCA are offering limited editions from both the Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz stable during their up-coming DVCA auction on September 13 – and we think they're worth a look

Choosing between the finest of Italian metal from Alfa Romeo and tank-like quality of an old-school Mercedes-Benz has always been a challenge. It's a battle of heart and head, one exuding passion (and various fluids), the other being a little more sensible. Whichever side of the fence you're on, an example from each thoroughbred stable are two of the best picks from Dorset Vintage & Classic Auctions upcoming September 13 sale.

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As you'll be able to tell from the estimated auction prices, these highly-specified, finely-tuned and drop-dead gorgeous saloons offer a huge chunk of heritage and an awful lot of car for the money. But which one to go for?

1992 Alfa Romeo 75 T-Spark

Estimate: £5000 - £7000

Gaining its name from Alfa Romeo's 75th-anniversary celebrations in vehicle manufacture, the 75 fittingly possessed near-perfect balance courtesy of a transaxle design and considerable racing pedigree. Gleaned from several decades of serious competition in motorsport, the 75's handling and charisma were second to none.

With its sharp, angular aesthetic lines and square headlamps, Alfa's new boy appeared unquestionably modern when introduced in 1985; despite the 75’s overall character clearly showcasing inherited innovation from days gone by.

Contemporary interior features included a dashboard-mounted diagnostic computer, front electric window switches mounted in the roof and a handbrake which looked suspiciously like a briefcase handle.

Besides offering an intriguing blend of blockish looks combined with unexpectedly delicate and precise driving ability, the 75 was also the first model to showcase the marque’s development of twin-spark technology, which resulted in improved engine torque and fuel economy and went on to be utilised in many more models down the line.

Although highly capable, the 75 was unfortunately overshadowed by its rivals of the day, meaning those that remain are rare survivors. Unusual within classic circles, this rarity has not yet resulted in sky-high purchase costs, so for an authentic but reasonably priced introduction to the joys of Italian motoring, this Alfa Romeo 75 makes for a very tantalising prospect indeed.

Factor in over £21,000 of upgrades and maintenance work on this particular 75 courtesy of Clive Hodgkin from Avon Racing, with Recaro seats, alloy road wheels and a stainless steel exhaust thrown in – we can’t quite believe that this Alfa is even looking for a home.

1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E LE Auto

Estimate: £6000 - £7000

Launched in 1982, the Mercedes-Benz 190 was built to compete with BMW’s highly successful 3 Series, the Audi 80 and Saab 900. It was the first compact executive car to be manufactured by the well-known German marque. Critics claimed the market gamble wouldn't work, but they were soon silenced. In fact, they devoured lashings of humble pie as 190 sales took off.

Despite the new venture into smaller vehicular proportions, several elements strongly associated with Mercedes-Benz –including sturdy build quality, notable ride comfort and unyielding reliability – remained as true as ever.

The 190 proved an instant hit, particularly within the European markets, and over 2 million examples went on to be sold within the following decade. The E editions featured Bosch's multi-point fuel injection that delivered more power and improved fuel economy, which proved a popular choice.

Several decades later, the durable bodywork and impressive mechanical longevity of the 190 means the model is now an appealing and mostly problem-free classic option. Even those with the mechanical sympathy of a spotty 17 year old teenager can't break it.

This 190E is also rather rare, being number 792 of 1000 limited edition vehicles specifically geared towards the UK and Irish markets.

As well as being in immaculate condition throughout, this 190E LE comes with four electric windows, electric aerial, 8-hole alloy wheels, Blaupunkt Verona CR43 Radio/cassette player, walnut wood trim, rear headrests and an official limited edition certificate. This is a particularly solid 190E and well worth consideration given the comprehensive original extras that are included.

You can view the full auction listings here.

Classic Cars for Sale