Sport Divisions in the Spotlight - AMG
Just from the very beginning, AMG was destined for success. The story began on June 1, 1967 when Hans Werner Aufrecht and his partner Erhard Melcher founded a company whose first goal was to build high-performance and race cars based on the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE. In case you were wondering where does the company's name come from, AMG actually stands for Aufrecht, Melcher and Aufrecth's birthplace - Großaspach. The two men initially worked in an old mill in Burgstall, near Affalterbach, and struggled to design high-performance race cars to compete in touring car races across the Old Continent.
AMG quickly gained attention as the company's first creation, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 developing 428 horsepower (315 kW) snatched the second place in the 24 Hours of Spa in 1971 in Belgium. Furthermore, the car, driven by Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz, took the first place of the podium in its class.
This was the first sign that AMG was going to have a key role in several racing competitions around Europe. Overall, the company won the DTM team title five times, while Bernd Schneider, Gary Paffett and Klaus Ludwig collected a total of eight DTM titles. Furthermore, Bernd Schneider won the drivers' title in the first FIA GT Championship in 1997.
Aside from these enthusiastic results during sport competitions, AMG continued its expansion in 1976 by moving its headquarters from Burgstall to Affalterbach. In 1985, AMG officially opened the doors of its second plant and hired the 100th employee while five years later, the company made the biggest step in its history: the signing of a cooperation agreement with Daimler-Benz.
The partnership allowed AMG to expand even more than by its own so the company opened a third production facility the same year. The workforce now totaled 400 employees, which was the obvious sign that AMG slowly but sure turned into a large manufacturer.
The first Mercedes - AMG joint product arrived in 1993 when the two partners launched the Mercedes-Benz C 36 AMG.
The cooperation with the German automaker was further expanded on January 1, 1999 when DaimlerChrysler AG took over the majority stake package in the company. On January 1, 2005 DaimlerChrysler purchased the remaining shares in AMG, raising the overall stakes to 100 percent.
AMG and its influence on the automotive industry
During the 1970s, as the company was continuously expanding its operations, more and more consumers became interested in the products it had to offer. But more importantly, AMG proved to be a successful model for other players in the auto sector, as numerous other firms turned their eyes to Mercedes-Benz tuning and accessories.
The best example comes from the 1981 Frankfurt Motor Show when a total of 176 companies, particularly interested in aftermarket parts for Mercedes-Benz models attended the event.
300 SEL AMG
Being designed in two different versions, 6.3- and 6.8-liter, the 300 SEL AMG was one of the most popular models designed in the early days of the company. For instance, the 6.8 version won the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, being driven by Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz. This achievement caused quite a stir among Mercedes-Benz fans, many of them requesting a street legal model similar to its fire red-painted sibling.
In terms of technical facts, the 6.8-liter edition generated a maximum power of 428 hp (315 kW) and could push the car to a maximum speed of 265 km/h (165 mph).
The 6.3-liter version on the other hand came in a choice of three power ratings: 206 kW/280 hp, 221 kW/300 hp or 235 kW/320 hp.The 235 kW/320-hp configuration sprinted from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 6.7 seconds and was capable of reaching a top speed of 235 km/h (standard model: 8.0 s; 221 km/h). A newly-developed sports suspension was installed as standard in order to handle the high-performance figures of the engine.
C 36 AMG
As we mentioned, the 1993 C 36 AMG was the first model resulting from the AMG - Mercedes-Benz collaboration, with the sports saloon officially presented to the public at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. The model was initially available as a limited series to Europeans, while Americans finally got it one year later.
Powered by a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine with two overhead camshafts and four-valve technology, the engine was capable of generating a maximum output of 280 hp (206 kW) at 5750 rpm and 385 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. Furthermore, the car was capable of going from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.7 seconds while the top speed was rated at 250 km/h (155 mph).
Other feature highlights include an automatic transmission with four - and later five - speeds, 17-inch AMG light alloy wheels and AMG high-performance brakes.