This new limited-edition restomod is an ode to a cult-classic 1990 Mercedes racer

By Ben Oliver 24 June, 2024
hwa restomod

The boutique manufacturer, started by the cofounder of AMG, will reportedly build 100 examples of the roughly US$800,000 restomod

Would you pay in the neighbourhood of US$800,000 for a restomod based on a small 1990s sedan, and built by an outfit few have heard of? Turns out plenty of collectors will. The first HWA EVOs won’t be delivered until late next year, but Robb Report’s sources indicate that around 75 of the 100 examples to be made have already been reserved, with strong demand for the remaining build slots.

The first example, chassis No. 000, will be auctioned on July 27 at the RM Sotheby’s sale at Tegernsee in Germany. By then, that might be the last still available to purchase. Of course, this is no ordinary sedan, and no start-up restoration house. Only 502 examples of the original Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 EVO II were built in 1990 to allow the design to go racing in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), Germany’s touring-car race series.

hwa restomod
The HWA EVO, a reimagined 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 EVO II. Photo by HWA AG

Back in the day, the ultimate road-going version of renowned Mercedes designer Bruno Sacco’s 190E small sedan—first seen in 1982—gained an uprated engine and race-car styling that included a wild new wing, gorgeous flat-spoke rims, and a front spoiler secured with struts—a feature which definitely wouldn’t pass modern pedestrian safety regulations.

The race version would go on to win the DTM series, and the road car’s combination of performance, rarity, competition success, and extreme aesthetics has won it a cult following among a new breed of younger collectors. As evidence, one of the few originals brought into the U.S. sold at the RM Sotheby’s Las Vegas auction last November for US$544,000.

hwa restomod
The first example will be auctioned in Germany, through RM Sotheby’s, on July 27. Photo by HWA AG

Now HWA, a German race team and maker of ultra-low-volume road cars for other brands, is producing a restomod homage to the EVO II, based—as the original was—on the body shell of a standard 190E. Although not yet widely known outside motorsport and industry circles, HWA has an impressive pedigree. It was founded in 1998 by Hans Werner Aufrecht (hence the HWA), the cofounder of AMG, after the latter was taken in-house by Mercedes-Benz.

HWA has since handled almost all of Mercedes’ racing activities except Formula 1, won the DTM series multiple times, and also built some of Mercedes’ most extreme, low-volume road cars. These have included the 1998 CLK-GTR Straßenversion (a street-legal Le Mans racer), and the 2008 SL65 AMG Black Series. It has also made supercars for Apollo and DeTomaso, and hand-builds the Mercedes-Benz V-12 engines used by Pagani.

hwa restomod
The full technical specifications of the HWA EVO have not yet been announced. Photo by HWA AG

This restomod marks the first time that HWA is making road cars under its own name, and inside sources suggest that given the success of the EVO, more will follow. The market is certainly hot for such restomods, with a number of automotive ateliers offering to completely reimagine a “modern classic.” Singer’s reinterpretations of the Porsche 911 are the best-known examples, but you can also have a modernised Porsche 928 from Nardone, a Lancia Delta Integrale from Automobili Amos, and even an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione—from as recently as 2010—updated by Swiss firm Office Fioravanti, which also offers a peak-’80s Ferrari Testarossa restomod.

The full technical specifications of the HWA EVO have not yet been announced, but it’s understood that the complete reengineering of the donor car extends to updating the front crash structures to modern standards. As for the performance and power-train specs, those remain secret, though their release is supposedly imminent.


This story first appeared in Robb Report USA