- Mercedes and its performance arm, AMG, have made extremely cool cars over the decades.
- They are all variations of the same theme: regular cars but tuned to be sportier and more powerful than before.
- There’s also a Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing boat with six engines.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
You might know Mercedes as the sort of car your suburban neighbor with the well-kept lawn takes to the farmer’s market on Wednesdays. But that’s hardly the only thing the German automaker puts out into the world.
Mercedes has a rich history in racing, its modern sports cars are a force to be reckoned with, it has a wildly successful Formula One team, and it offers a truly over-the-top Cigarette Racing boat with six engines — you know, in case the first five break down.
But much of Mercedes’ current greatness comes marked side by side with “AMG.” Today, AMG is known as Mercedes’ high-performance arm, giving us cars like the gull-wing SLS AMG and various other sporty models.
Mercedes-Benz may have been founded in 1926, but the story of AMG doesn’t start until almost 40 years after that in the 1960s.
The three letters of AMG stand for two men, Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher — “A” for Aufrecht, “M” for Melcher, and “G” for Großaspach, the town in which Aufrecht was born.
Aufrecht and Melcher were ex-Mercedes engineers who enjoyed tuning existing Mercedes cars and racing them on weekends, according to Gear Patrol. In 1967, the two founded “Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach Ingenieurbüro, Konstruktion und Versuch zur Entwicklung von Rennmotoren” which translates to “Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach engineering firm, design and testing for the development of racing engines.”
The duo quickly established themselves to be very good at race-tuning engines. During the 1971 24 Hours of Spa, their AMG Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 took second place to the surprise of many.
The relationship between AMG and Mercedes-Benz flourished after that. Here are some of Mercedes and AMG’s greatest hits throughout the years.
Here, you can see Erhard Melcher working on an engine during the early days of AMG.
This is the AMG Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8, which took second place at the 1971 24 Hours of Spa.
The 300 SEL was never intended for racing, but that didn’t stop AMG.
It stuck a massively powerful engine into a hulking sedan that had no business on a race track. This became the AMG way of doing things.
Only five examples were built: two test cars and three race cars. Its nickname? “The Red Pig.”
Pictured here is an authentic reconstruction, as the original was sold to an aircraft company, which in turn destroyed it for testing purposes. Sad.
Today, AMG is very much a part of Mercedes.
Aufrecht transferred a majority stake in his rapidly expanding company to DaimlerChrysler AG in 1999, and AMG then became Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
AMG has independent engineers and contracts with other companies to customize Mercedes-AMG cars.
The company is headquartered in Affalterbach, Germany.
AMG V8 engines abide by the “one man, one engine” philosophy — that is, each one is hand built by just one person.
The very first car developed jointly between Mercedes-Benz and AMG was the 1993 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG.
It was based on Mercedes’ four-door C-Class model. Production lasted from 1993 to 1997.
It was powered by an inline-six cylinder engine.
And just look at those five-spoke monoblock wheels!
Of course, because enough is never enough, AMG announced an even more upgraded version of its cars in the form of the Black Series.
Reserved exclusively for two-door cars, the Black Series treatment includes weight reduction, better handling, more powerful engines, and improved performance.
The first Black Series model was the mid-2000s Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG Black Series, which made about 400 horsepower.
It was never imported to the US.
After that came the second Black Series model, the CLK 63 AMG Black Series.
It was based on the official Formula One safety car.
And it had a fire-breathing, 500-horsepower, 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8.
Based on the CLK 63 AMG, the Black Series had huge fenders and no back seats for weight savings.
Then came the SL 65 AMG Black Series.
It’s a seriously wicked-looking thing, with fenders as wide as park benches.
Only 350 were ever made, making it very rare indeed.
From a twin-turbocharged V12 (!), it made enough power that could pull down a house.
The output: 661 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque.
Its price when new in 2008 came out to around $300,000.
The C-Class was next to get Black Series treatment in the form of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series, which arrived for the 2012 model year.
Keeping to Black Series tradition, only the coupe version the C-Class was available as a Black Series model.
From a naturally aspirated, 6.2-liter V8 came more than 500 horsepower.
Currently, the last Black Series offered was the SLS Black Series in 2014.
The regular SLS already had a powerful V8 engine and iconic gull-wing doors, inspired by the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” coupe from the 1950s.
The SLS AMG put out more than 600 horsepower. Even years after its launch, it’s still awesome.
In 2017, Mercedes unveiled the Mercedes-AMG One with Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.
The interior is super minimalist and completely driver-focused, taking cues from an F1 cockpit.
The Mercedes-AMG One is powered by a hybrid system that includes one internal combustion engine and four electric motors.
Total system output is claimed to be more than 1,000 horsepower.
And let us not forget Mercedes-AMG’s tendency to dabble in boats, affectionately recognized by some (me) as the cars of the sea.
It has six 450-horsepower, supercharged Mercury Racing V8 outboard engines. That amounts to 2,700 horsepower.
It costs $3 million. Here it is, sitting pretty with a special-edition Mercedes-AMG G 63.