The production of the Mercedes-Benz 190E ended decades ago, but it remains among the gems of its maker to this date. After all, it is from the range where the legendary 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II was based.
The car is also one of the favorites of tuners because of its quality and versatility. Recently, some gearheads experimented on putting transparent wheels into it, and the result was nothing short of amazing.
The people at Garage 54 were at the helm of this project. Basically, they unbolted the spokes of the classic three-piece wheelset and replaced them with plexiglass for a transparent look.
Plexiglass or Plexiglas is a very rigid material made of poly(methyl methacrylate), which is a clear thermoplastic that is shatter-resistant. It is normally used as a replacement for glass. Despite being an alternative to the traditional silica-based glass, it is still classified as glass like other thermoplastics. The material used in the Mercedes is 20mm thick and sturdy enough to handle the pressure coming from the weight of the vehicle.
The work didn’t come without a hitch though. Since the mechanics custom-ordered the spoke-replacement after some measurements were made, they forgot to allow some clearance for the facets. As a result, they couldn’t fit the material into the wheel initially. They had to shave off some of the excess material before drilling holes for the bolts of the plexiglass.
Alas, they completed the task and fitted each transparent wheel into the Benz. Sadly, they couldn’t really drive the car that far because the new tires were rubbing against the wheel arches of the car, and they couldn’t steer the auto properly.
Nevertheless, the modification certainly looked great on the 190E, but it would have been better if they installed LED lights on it. However, there’s a question as to the resiliency of plexiglass being a spoke-replacement, especially when the vehicle is subject to daily driving.