Classifieds Hero: James Brown’s Mercedes-Benz 190E

Looking to feel good? All puns aside, you could do far worse than this Mercedes-Benz 190E once owned by the godfather of soul himself – James Brown

Chances are, some of the finest moments from our musical heritage are secretly honed behind the wheel of exceptional vehicles. Rumours state that Elvis Presley’s Always on my Mind was actually about a Cadillac Fleetwood, whereas (Don’t Fear) The Reaper stemmed from Blue Oyster Cult members’ experiences with various Alfa Romeos. Queen’s I’m Going Slightly Mad was based on Morris Marina ownership. Maybe.

In this vein, we can deduce that James Brown’s inspiration for his cult 2min 44sec work of genius I Feel Good can only come from one marque: Mercedes-Benz. Awakening to a crisp Augusta morning in South Carolina, setting off for the recording studio with that three-pointed star leading the way across sun-baked Tarmac… it would be hard not to announce your good tidings to the world. Especially when presented with a jazz orchestra.

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Three decades after first unleashing the iconic tune upon the public, James Brown purchased a 1992 190E. The only change he made to his new car was the addition of a personalised licence plate: ‘Sex Machine.’ Make of that what you will…

The Mercedes remained in the singer’s estate until his death in 2006. It then rested in his museum alongside a signed guitar, before now coming up for sale. The odometer boasts minimal mileage, too.

While James Brown undoubtedly created some of the 20th century’s finest contributions to delicate sound, the 122bhp 2.3-litre straight-six would certainly give him a run for his money. It purrs along with the tenacity of a solid base line and can screech its tyres like a soprano hitting the high notes.

Although the model was originally designed purely for the American market upon its 1982 launch, by the time Brown bought his the 2.3-litre car was available in most European market segments. It also sported innovative rear-link suspension and various ground-breaking safety precautions – including airbags and seatbelt tensioners. We may take these features for granted nowadays, but little over 30 years ago this was a marvel worth writing home about. Especially should you end up drag racing on the Las Vegas strip at dawn, against Satan himself (Gary Oldman)...

James Brown vs the Devil

This 190Eis presented in rude health with unblemished paintwork and the ability to keep modern cars at bay in both performance and style. We dare you not to declare how good you feel when behind the wheel. Get on up!

Get a closer look with the AutoClassics classified Mercedes-Benz advert.

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