For 47 years AMG has been home to some of the fastest, mightiest, most exciting road and race cars ever created – the latest chapter of which is revealed at 19:30 GMT tonight. So this seems to be an excellent time to reminisce…
AMG was formed by two motorsport enthusiasts – Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher.
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.
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, 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.
It was in 1986 that one of the most iconic AMG models ever created landed – dubbed ‘The Hammer’ – a 300E 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 – it wouldn’t be until 2005 that AMG would became a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler.
In 1993 the first car jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG was launched – the C 36 AMG. With 280 hp and 385 Nm of torque, the C 36 AMG was a relatively modest starting point (by modern standard) for AMG – capable of accelerating to 62 mph in a brisk 6.7-seconds.
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.
In the same year the first Black Series – the SLK 55 AMG Black Series – was produced. It would be followed by the CLK AMG Black Series, the SL 65 AMG Black Series, the C 63 AMG Black Series and the SLS AMG Black Series.
The SLS AMG Coupé – first ever entirely AMG-engineered car was launched in spectacular style in 2010. Featuring gullwing doors, a naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 and concept car styling, the SLS AMG Coupé represented a huge step for AMG, evolving into a Roadster and highly successful GT3 racer before road-going variants – the GT and Black Series were created. Production ended earlier this year.
Mercedes-AMG GmbH currently employs a workforce of just over a thousand people at its plant in Affalterbach. AMG’s professionalism is defined by its pursuit of high performance as embodied in its vehicles, coupled with a due commitment to precision and respect in keeping with the brand motto of “Driving Performance.”