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German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

Since I moved to northern california from Pittsburgh, PA, the types of cars that i see coming through the shop has changed quite a bit. For example, a vast majority of the projects we do these days are imports from the last 5 years...gone are the days of 20 year old cavaliers, escorts and the endless array of 80s and 90s trucks and suvs.... Not that i am complaining :)

Another by product of a dry climate with over 300 days of sun shine a year is that from time to time, we get to see some pretty rare olders cars preserved in excellent condition, and owned by folks who still appreciate a good system and sound quality.

This is exactly such a project. Car enthusiasts will instantly recognize this car:







As a Mercedes Benze 190E. this particular one from 1987. While it isnt the uber rare Evolution model, this car does have something about it that makes it even more rare. at some point during its life, the owner of Renntech, decided to rip out the original motor and stuff in a 3.2L straight 6, bored out to 3.4 liters. So this baby has some pickup and go even by todays standards and sounds different than most 190E 2.3-16s. :)



The goals:

1. to achieve a nice level of sound quality

2. to build a slightly showy trunk while maintaining some degree of daily usability

3. cosmetically build things to a somewhat period correct style

Joey did the front kick panels, while Jesse did the wiring and fabricated the trunk, i pitched in and did a few odds and ends in between :)

lets get started. first a quick shot at the custom bolted stinger fuse holder bracket that Jesse made under hood next to the battery:



the front stage was one of the key focuses of the build. the car came orignially with only a set of 4" speakers at the top of the dash. obviously, no 4" speaker is going to be produce the type of midbass we desire in a true SQ build, so after looking at the various options, we decided to fabricate a set of kick panels upfront. Here the illusion audio C6 with its super shallow mounting depth came in handy. and Joey fabricated a set of kicks, based off the original kick panel cover pieces, that blends in with the interior very well. it is as shallow as possible and has a press fit vinyl trimmed grille that covers the midbass. They kind of just disappear into the interior:













here are some quick fab pics of the kicks. basically joey built the multi piece baffle, aimed and positioned them, and attached them directly to the kick panel pieces, and then blended them in using filler. a particular sharp corner needed to be made at the driver side to allow for the movement of the hood latch:





i then came in and wrapped the pieces with black carpet:





and secured them to the car and wired them up. the way its shaped, it forms a very good seal against the side of the vehicle and i placed some blackhole acoustic STUFF inside the cavity



the illusion audio carbon c6 midbass was then wired up and installed:



the same procedure was then repeated on the passenger side:





i then wrapped the speaker grille rings and stapled the painted mesh onto them, these then just press fit onto the kick panel snuggly:



The rest of the front stage consisted of a set of Morel Hybrid Integra 402 4" point sources. a perfect compliment to the midbass and brings the staging way up. amazingly, the oem cutout for the the dash speaker was EXACTLY the cutout required for the 402s, and then simply drop in and lock in with their locking prongs on the side of the speaker :) the stock grilles then went over them, giving us a 100 percent oem look:













the rest of the front interior work involved installing an alpine 149BT headunit in the stock location, and jesse removed the factory cig lighter and placed instead a stinger USB port connected to the alpine headunit:





and the entire front end as a whole:





now comes some pics of the wiring bundle as it travels from the front of the car to the back. with the power and rca cables fully separated. the car actually has a lot of loose wires from the factory, so some pics it may be hard to pick out our bundle :)



















the final piece of the interior work was to fully sound proof the rear deck, and becuase this car had a previous audio install in it, it featured a strange looking wooden grille over a big hole cut int he rear deck. it was not very secure and we figured it would prone to buzzing. so jesse rebuilt a sleeker replacement, installed the same studs in them as before, and this locks onto the under side of the rear deck to prevent any additional rattles and buzzing. the bottom side of the rear deck cover also received ample amount of foam to decouple it from the rear deck:











 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

finally, its time to get to the trunk. as mentioned before, the idea is to have some period correct showy cosmetic appeal, but still be somewhat daily usable. so here is the view with everything covered up, the new rear facing wall with a center grille is at the front, while a new fake floor housing a similarly shaped grille is at the bottom. all done in black carpet:







pop off the grilles and here is what you see. two arc audio black series 10" subwoofers fire back, and two arc audio xdiv2 amps are shown on the floor. the equipment is trimmed in black vinyl on a board that has received several passes with the cove bit. on the cutout is a layer done in suede and then an additional layer done in black vinyl. the idea is for a clean and classy look, and I think jesse did a great job on that:



















lets get to the build pics of the trunk. first, the old install was completely removed and the floor pan and the backside of the gas tank was fully sound proofed while all the wiring were run into the area:





then jesse built a 1.4 cubic foot sealed enclosure for the two subs:



and did the front trim plate for them:



this is the structure he built to house the amps, the dsp and other wiring and passive crossovers that bolts to the car in the floor well.







then he added the equipment and wired them up. the amps are actually a smaller xdiv2 600.4 and a bigger 1100.1 for the sub, but jesse used a bigger amp's cover to go over the 600.4 to give the impression that we have two identical sized amps. the mosconi 4to6dsp is on the passenger side of the well, while the two morel passives for the front 402 point sources are below them on the side of the structure:











these are the three separate coved pieces that act as trim for the amps:



and here is the main front wall panel for the sub enclosure, with the cutouts and trim rings blended into the shape.



and here is the main floor board panel with the same technique applied:









and here is how thin the trim ring around the cutouts are as he vinyled them:



after all the upholstery has been done, this is what it looks like all snapped together ready to be press fit into the car:





here are the two grilles that goes over the amps and subs:









and here is one final shot of the wiring in the car:



and the last piece we did in the trunk was to fully sound proof the oem rear wall cover, as we noticed that it was a very flimsy piece of plastic simply resting against the metal rear wall:



so thats it for this one.

sonically, one of hte most impressive things about this car is realism of the imaging and staging. traditionally, we are used to 3" mids above the dash, but with the additional bandwith afforded by these morels (down to 150hz), it added another degree to the mix. i have to say this could be one of the best cars for believability of the imaging and staging i have done. it really sounds like the performers are standing right on top of the dash.

the c6 did a great job at keeping up with the rest of the system, and the two black 12s, off of more than a kilowatt, can really give the car a good shaking.

overall, i find this to be a very cool car to listen to.

until next time,

Cheers,

Bing
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

Nice install Bing! Like the matching carpet on the kicks. It's hard to to get matching stretchable carpet on older Mercedes cars.

How long have you been in Philly? Rob from Lexington, KY is trying to get in touch with you, he has some questions about the xdvi2 amps.
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

I love the car! The install turned out very nice.
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

Nice install Bing! Like the matching carpet on the kicks. It's hard to to get matching stretchable carpet on older Mercedes cars.

How long have you been in Philly? Rob from Lexington, KY is trying to get in touch with you, he has some questions about the xdvi2 amps.
hey Chuck, never was in philly and never will be :p
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

Any pics of the rear deck installed?
unfortunately i dont, this is what happens when i didnt take the pics...its really hard to see from inside the car or outside due to glare etc. but just imagine that board structure in the middle, thats how we received the car s well, except the old grille square and it was kinda loose.
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

I want to say Thanks for all the build threads that you made. It's a pleasure to see a quality install.
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

Great build!

Curious as to how the bass enters the vehicle.

My 1990 MB SEC has the same layout with the gas tank between the shock towers and directly behind the rear seat. I tried putting a pair of 10" subwoofers in a sealed box in the spare tire well and it didn't work for me.

I'm back to hanging a pair of 10" subwoofers off the rear shelf in an IB configuration.
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

Love the car, love the build, however HU selection I would disagree with.
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

Great build!

Curious as to how the bass enters the vehicle.

My 1990 MB SEC has the same layout with the gas tank between the shock towers and directly behind the rear seat. I tried putting a pair of 10" subwoofers in a sealed box in the spare tire well and it didn't work for me.

I'm back to hanging a pair of 10" subwoofers off the rear shelf in an IB configuration.
this car had that gigantic grille opening ont he rear deck...i am not sure if its stock or the previous shop put it there but it was like a good 18 inches x 6" or so...so that allowed plenty of bass to get into the cabin. :)
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

Love the car, love the build, however HU selection I would disagree with.
headunit is the one part that i dont usually get involved in the design...as long as its not garbage, i understand everyone has their preferences for cosmetics and feature set, and this was the HU that the customer chose :)
 

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Re: German Unicorn: 87 190E "3.4" SQ build - Morel, Mosconi, Arc, Illusion Audio

Cool car, definitely don't see many of those on the road.
 
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