Twi­lighT wiTh The gods

Be­fore Mercedes-Benz thought to pack its mid-size sa­loon with a big, bad V8, AMG showed the way. Now ev­ery­body’s at it. Cue Wag­ne­r­ian thun­der…

Octane - - AMG HAMMER - Words Rob Sco­rah // Pho­togr aPhy Paul Harmer

Aufrecht’s hAm­mer. Sounds like a chap­ter from the Ring of the Ni­belung. You could make some­thing very Wag­ne­r­ian out of it: Mercedes-Benz’s fa­mous blue Ren­ntrans­porter driv­ing deep into the Black For­est, with a fright­ened, white 1985 230E chained on board. The wide-eyed crew un­load­ing it in the gloom, leav­ing it next to a huge moss-cov­ered rock, then scur­ry­ing back to their truck and speed­ing away be­fore the sun fi­nally sets. The next you know, this glow­er­ing, mus­cu­lar über-Q-car bursts from the for­est to the stab­bing brass and rush­ing strings ac­com­pa­ni­ment of Siegfried’s Fu­neral March.

OK, that may not have been how Mercedes dropped off its cars to busi­ness-suited Hans-Werner Aufrecht and his rac­ing/tun­ing firm of AMG. But the most shock­ing el­e­ment of the story is true – this pro­to­type of AMG’s au­to­bahn­storm­ers did be­gin life as a stock W124 230E. You know, the kind you might have found at the time in the taxi rank out­side Athens air­port or in a man­ager’s park­ing space at some Frank­furt air-con­di­tion­ing com­pany.

But that W124 had two things on its side. The first was that, in those days, Mercedes built its cars – all of its cars – to the high­est stan­dard: over-en­gi­neered com­po­nents that lasted for aeons, doors that shut like fortress gates. And the newly de­signed model had one of the low­est drag co­ef­fi­cients of its day, at 0.28Cd. Fur­ther­more, Aufrecht, Melcher, Grossas­pach (or AMG) had been formed in 1967 by a group of ex-Daim­ler-Benz en­gi­neers and had es­tab­lished a for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion for tun­ing and hooning big Mercs in com­pe­ti­tion. Think of the Rote Sau 300SEL 6.3 at the Spa 24-hours in 1971 or the flared 450 SLCs both on track and in the Sa­fari Ral­lies.

Sit­ting in the AMG Ham­mer, you can see and feel the dual parent­age. Around you on the out­side are those pol­ished gran­ite body pan­els, the mak­ers and the tuners only al­low­ing them­selves

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