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Little Classics News: 14 September 2014

The Mighty Continue: A History of AMG

300 SEL 6.8 AMG and SLS AMG GT3

For nearly 50 years AMG has been home to some of the fastest, mightiest and most exciting road and race cars. Last week saw the newest chapter launch, so it seems right to look back at the classic car past of these important three letters.

AMG was formed by two motorsport enthusiasts - Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher.

AMG Melcher engine

In 1965 Hans-Werner Aufrecht was working as a dynamometer engineer testing the 300 SE racing engines for Mercedes-Benz. While working on production engines, he met Erhard Melcher, a fellow engineer, who had just finished college. Their shared interest in motorsport and sheer competitive nature brought them together.

In their free time, Melcher and Aufrecht serviced several race drivers owning examples of the 300 SE, modifying the engines by fitting them with direct fuel injection. This was done without any real commercial aspirations, working nights and weekends in Aufrecht’s basement and garage in Grossaspach. Their extraordinary achievements and acute attention to detail quickly earned them a reputation in the racing scene.

300 SEL 6.8 AMG at Spa 1971

In early 1967 Aufrecht and Melcher left their jobs at Daimler-Benz and rented workshop space in a barn in the Swabian town of Burgstall. They named their new operation ‘AMG’. The initials stand for Aufrecht, Melcher and Grossaspach – Grossaspach being Hans-Werner Aufrecht’s place of birth.

Their first big success came at the 24 hours of Spa in 1971 – a 300 SEL 6.8 AMG (above), nicknamed the ‘Red Pig’, finished first in class and second overall, causing a little consternation and great deal of respect among a field made up of much smaller cars.

Following their success as an engine builder and supplier in motorsport, business grew substantially to the point that, in 1976, AMG had outgrown its Burgstall headquarters and moved to Affalterbach – the demand for its expertise in the creation of highly bespoke, high-performance Mercedes-Benz cars expanding in the process.

Mercedes-Benz 300 E

It was in 1986 that one of the most iconic AMG models ever created landed – dubbed ‘The Hammer’ – a 300E (above) equipped with a 385 hp, 5.6-litre V8 and capable of an unheard of (at the time) 190 mph.

In 1991 AMG and Mercedes-Benz began an official cooperation – with the Affalterbach engineers being made responsible for the high performance variants of selected Mercedes-Benz models.

In 1993 the first car jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG was launched – the C 36 AMG (below). With 280 hp and 385 Nm of torque, the C 36 AMG was capable of accelerating to 62 mph in a brisk 6.7-seconds.

C 36 AMG 1993

Six years after the C 36 AMG debuted, in January 1999, and as the mighty E 55 AMG was entering the market, Daimler acquired 51 per cent of shares in AMG – leading to the company to be renamed Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

The first engine entirely designed and engineered by AMG arrived in 2006. Codenamed M156 and displacing 6,208 cc, the unit was one of the most powerful naturally aspirated engines of its kind – an evolved version of the mighty unit continues to be produced today.

As far as we’re concerned AMG is the loud, brash and spicy addition delivering that something special over the standard Merc – and we’re happy to see it continue. Looks like there will be some exciting classic cars growing in the background.


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