The story of how Mercedes-Benz and AMG are doing so many great things together
It was in 1967 when two former engineers from Mercedes (Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher) decide to launch a new venture called: AMG Motorenbau und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (translated into English is something like AMG Engine Production and Development, Ltd). For those interested, AMG stand for Aufrecht, Melcher and Großaspach (Aufrecht's birth town), simple as.
AMG original intentions were to focus only on engines, particularly Mercedes engines, so they could provide a racing edge by modifying them and get a good customer quickly. During their first decade they manage to create some tailor made unofficial upgrades of Mercedes cars for different classic car models: R107, C107, W116, W123, W124, W126, R129 and W201 not only focusing on the engines but also on the car body. We assume their former colleague Bruno Sacco, head of design in Mercedes at the time, was not particularly happy with getting his boys “improved”, but this is another story.
In the early 80s though, AMG started offering different parts, mainly alloy wheels, performance packages and some other performance car parts independently from Mercedes. Mercedes-Benz realised the potential cross selling and great looking fit for them and they signed a contract with AMG so that those upgrades could be offered in Mercedes showrooms. What a great deal for both of them.
Mercedes and AMG kept working together in motor racing even though there were different companies and they created a few beasts like the Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 V8 saloon (the one pictured above has a Pininfarina body).
It was in 1998 when the original AMG shareholders sold a substantial package to Mercedes and since then AMG has operated as a separated entity inside Daimler Group. These days AMG employs around 1400 people. The funny thing is, Mercedes has kept the performance / racing engine subsidiary as a separate entity with the name of the initials of one of the founders HWA AG and they also remain as a racing team on the DTM championship.
AMG best products to name a few include a DOHC 32V engine, performance five spoke wheels in 15-inch and 16-inch sizes (there are replicas of them), instrument clusters, cosmetic body kits, hi-fi stereos, …
The best car they ever produced was in 1986 and it had to be done in that year, Mercedes introduced the 560 M117 engine too. This provided yet another opportunity for customers to order the largest AMG displacement available at the time, the 6L 100 mm bore SOHC or DOHC engines available for both the W126 coupe and passenger car, based on the W124 E-Class. AMG engineers took AMG's performance modifications for a fast midsized passenger car to a new level, something to dream off. Actually, by doing this, AMG made the world's fastest passenger car at the time, nicknamed the Hammer by the press (imagine how it was in terms of performance), by squeezing a Mercedes 5.6-litre V8 tuned by AMG to 360 hp into a regular Mercedes W124 E-Class (pictured below). It was very aggressive for the era, with 32-valve cylinder heads and twin camshafts. They announced it was going to be faster than the Lamborghini Countach from 60 to 120 mph (can you imagine!). Later models were even more powerful and introduced the 17-inch AMG Aero 1 Hammer wheels.
AMG remains doing works for Mercedes and certainly beautiful cars, but as they are not classics, we won’t cover that part of their history.
Pictures thanks to drive-my.com, benzinsider.com and motorauthority.com