Ever since two former Mercedes-Benz engineers founded the company in 1967, AMG’s fortunes have been based on one thing only; performance. With performance being company’s foundation, AMG set out on a mission its founders Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher, probably never imagined was possible. A mission of becoming one of the world’s most renowned tuning houses with worldwide recognition and tremendous impact on automotive industry.
From their humble beginnings in Burgstall an der Murr garage to employing more than 1,100 people in their Affalterbach plant, into which they moved in 1976, AMG has given birth to countless numbers of performance-oriented vehicles. And all of them were Merecedes-Benzes in origin. AMG was able to tweak a Mercedes to such an extent upon company’s foundation, that they quickly drew the automaker’s attention. In 1990, Daimler-Benz AG and AMG signed the cooperation agreement act. Hans Werner Aufrecht would then transfer the majority stake to DaimlerChrysler AG in 1999, and AMG would finally get absorbed into the company in 2005. Today, AMG contributes to their parent company by stuffing more than 40 different models with their hand-crafted high-performance engines.
Their models, which range from compact A Class to supercars, produce at least 367 horsepower. Other end of the scale is even more impressive. Most powerful street-legal AMG models churn out as much as 630 ponies. In other words, today they have it all. Let us now embark on a journey through time by reminding you of the most important and likely the best AMG cars ever produced. Here are 10 of them from oldest to newest.
1971 300 SEL 6.8L AMG “The Red Pig”
“The Red Pig” was an aberration in so many ways, but it was also the car that has established AMG’s reputation as performance division for years to come. Maybe it doesn’t sound that radical today, but stripping down Mercedes-Benz’s pride and joy, the S Class predecessor 300 SEL to bare bones, was a big deal back then. Moreover, nicknaming it “The Red Pig”! That really took some balls on Aufrecht’s and Melcher’s part.
But they’ve done more than simply tuning the world’s fastest sedan of the time. Regular 300 SEL was powered by 247-horsepower 6.3L M100 V8 capable of topping 142 mph and clocking 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds. Impressive figures for 1968 luxury sedan weighing almost 4,000 pounds. Aufrecht and Melcher first increased the engine’s displacement to 6.8L. Then they added pretty much new everything including the camshafts, pistons, intakes, etc. Power gained from such an undertaking read 428 hp and 448 lb-ft of torque. Although they also added aluminum doors, in bizarre fashion, Aufrecht and Melcher had decided to keep the original rear bench seat, wood trim and other unnecessary details. I say unnecessary because “The Red Pig” was intended for 24 Hours of Spa race. And it still weighed over 3,600 pounds.
Needless to say, “The Red Pig” was seen as the underdog. Weighing as much as pretty much the rest of the competition, that didn’t come as a surprise. But “The Red Pig” had an ace up its sleeve. It was built by then-marginal AMG. It ended up second behind much smaller and nimbler Ford Capri RS, trailing only 3 laps (311 to 308). In the process, “The Red Pig” had obliterated all others, including Alfa Romeo GTA’s and BMW E9’s. This has propelled the AMG into motorsports and, automotive in general prominence and given them the reputation they keep to this day. The reputation of one of the best tuning houses in the world.