There has already been plenty of talk about the new Porsche 911-challenging AMG GT, and it hasn’t even been revealed yet – not until 7.30pm today, and you can watch the reveal live here. That’s the (very near) future. And it’s as good an excuse as any to look at AMG’s past.
Hans-Werner Aufrecht was working as a dynamometer engineer for Mercedes-Benz in 1965. Erhard Melcher had just left college and was starting his career as an engineer. Through a common interest in motorsport, they began working together. Pretty quickly, they established a reputation in the motorsport industry servicing and modifying racing versions of the 300 SE. They were also renowned for fitting them with fuel injection. In their early days, the duo didn’t have a great commercial focus; the workshop was a basement garage and it operated only in the evenings and at weekends.
It was 1967 that AMG was formed, when Aufrecht and Melcher left their day jobs at Daimler-Benz. Their company’s name borrowed the initial letters of their surnames, and that of Grossaspach – where the original workshop has been – even though, by now, they had relocated to Burgstall.
The 1971 Spa 24-hour was the scene of AMG’s first big success. Amongst a field of much smaller cars, nobody expected the 300 SEL 6.8 AMG – nicknamed the ‘Red Pig’ – to come first in class and second overall. But that’s exactly what it did. It put AMG on the map.
By 1976, the company moved to Affalterbach and, a decade later, it created one of the most famous AMGs ever. The 300E, better known as ‘The Hammer’ had a 379bhp 5.6-litre V8 engine was capable of 190mph. In 1986, that was unheard of for a saloon car.
In 1991, AMG and Mercedes-Benz began to work together on an official basis. The first joint-development was the 1993 C36 AMG, a car whose performance figures seem rather tame by modern AMG standards: 276bhp, 0-60mph in 6.7sec. Six years later saw the arrival of the E55 AMG, which coincided with Daimler acquiring 51 per cent of shares in AMG.
It would be 2005 before Daimler owned the company in full, and a year later the first engine entirely designed and engineered by AMG arrived. The M156 V8, with its 6208cc, continues to be built today in evolved forms. In the same year that engine arrived (2006), the Black Series made its debut.
Having developed its own engine, it was only natural for AMG to develop its own car. That was the SLS AMG, which arrived in 2010. It spawned a roadster and GT3 racer before production ceased earlier this year.
It makes way for the AMG GT. The next part of the AMG story…