Or at the very least forgot about.
The three best letters in the automotive alphabet, A. M. G, are usually followed by some alphanumeric code referencing displacement. Like most good car-related things it was started by two men in a shed. A shed, mind you, that now employs more than a 1,000 people and sits atop the highest pedestal in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. To celebrate this shed we present to you five lesser known AMG-tuned vehicles. We are of course omitting non-Mercedes models, so no Mitsubishi Galant AMGs and no tuners. Sorry, Brabus.
First up we have the first ever Black Series, based on the R171 SLK. AMG's skunk works division, then known as the AMG Performance Studio, gave us a 400-horsepower SLK. On sale from 2006-08, only 100 were made for around $110,000 each. The SLK55 AMG Black Series removed the retractable hard top and dropped in some serious new carbon fiber bodywork. Composite six-piston caliber brakes were tucked under 19-inch AMG forged wheels shod in 265 mm Pirelli R19 rubber, saving 68 pounds. Total weight reduction resulted in shedding 100 pounds for a total weight of 3,200 lbs. The three-valve 5.5-liter V8 netted 383 lb-ft of torque and hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The interior was swathed in carbon fiber accents and other weight-cutting features.
This car started life as a 1983 W126 540SE before AMG went a little mad. The engine was the European-spec 5.0-liter V8, but AMG decided that wasn't enough; AMG cams, mechanical lifters, ported heads, and a blueprinted motor mated with a Torsen rear-end and double disc racing clutch were all added. The suspension was fully adjustable via a switch on the steering wheel. Designed as a showcase vehicle for the European Touring Car circuit, this was the only W126 widebody ever made. Eventually the car was brought to the US and stored before it was purchased by a collector in 1984. The model changed hands and now resides in western Michigan.
The Sultan of Brunei is known for his collection of eccentric vehicles, this one being no exception. In essence, it's a W140 S-Class that has been converted into a wagon. Now, a large station wagon is nothing to scoff at, especially when it has the heart of a Pagani Zonda. Yep, the Sultan commissioned AMG to build him a 7.3-liter V12 S-Class wagon. We'll just let that sink in a for a moment. With 565 horsepower on tap and riding on an AMG sport suspension, the S73 T Kombi could certainly hustle its way up to 200 mph. The 48-valve DOHC 12-cylinder was mated to a five-speed automatic. A reworked version of that engine would later find itself in the Pagani Zonda F. The Sultan originally ordered 15 examples and took delivery of 10.
There has long been a rumor that AMG never made a manual car. This is false, and the world is all the better for it. AMG was not a part of Mercedes-Benz when the W201 190E was first introduced. Instead, AMG served as a separate racing and tuning company, honing its craft in the gauntlet that was DTM. The 190E 3.2 AMG packed a 3.2-liter version of Mercedes' M104 inline-six netting 231 horsepower. The 12-valve six was then mated to a five-speed manual in a car that only weighed in at 3,086 lbs. With the AMG-tuned suspension and brakes, the beefed-up 190E was nothing to sneer at. Though with only 200 examples made and a price of $90,000 a pop in 1992, that may have swayed some buyers to look elsewhere.
Before the C63 AMG took all the love as the AMG division's proper M3 rival, there was the C55. The successor to the seriously anonymous W202 C43 and C55, the W203 evolved the premise. Packing a 5.5-liter M113 V8 churning out 367 hp and 376-lb-ft of torque, it certainly was no slouch. The C55 may get little recognition thanks to possessing an automatic gearbox and being priced well above the E46 M3 when it was new. Of course a lucky few still bought them. A wagon version was also introduced. Used as a safety car in Formula 1, the bold lines of the W203 C55 certainly have a presence. We know we didn't hit all the rare AMGs out there, so let us know which ones we missed and which of the above is your favorite.