Starting as an independent engineering firm, AMG, which stands for Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach, combined with Mercedes-Benz in the late 1990s. Since the firm’s inception by former Mercedes engineers in 1967, however, they’ve crafted some amazing creations that car fans across the world have ogled. These are some of the best Mercedes-AMG models to come out of its history, including both its pre-partnership and post-partnership designs. Perhaps these cars reveal the personalities of those designing them: people who were eccentric, wild, and free!
The “Red Pig”: 1971 6.8 SEL
A Powerful Oinker
Photo by Jiří Sedláček (Wikimedia Commons)
This wouldn’t be a best-of list unless we included this big, loud, and fast beast. This is a car of legend: one of the best AMG racing cars ever built, with its own league of fans. This car has been called mad, possibly because the project was mad: It was a souped-up version of one of the company’s executive cars. It raced against much lighter cars in the 24 Hours of Spa event, but it still placed second. It was considered to be the world’s fastest sedan (topping out at 142 miles per hour). It seems that when AMG allows itself to be gaudy, they can do great things.
The Hammer: 1986 W124
The Hammer Is My Mercedes
Photo by Stephen Hanafin (Wikimedia Commons)
It’s easy to explain the Hammer: Take a perfectly fine E-Class, and then let AMG make it better in every possible way. Most of these models were custom-made for high-end customers with their own donor 300E. The Hammer had a powerful 385 horsepower engine, an upgraded suspension, a top speed of 190 miles per hour, and tougher tires. Some parts stayed the same, such as the brakes, but every tiny change AMG made was a step toward making this 1980s super-car a joy to drive.
The CLK GTR
A Rare, Expensive Beauty
Photo by Tony Harrison (Flickr)
There are a few things that keep people up at night: the threat of war, an impending apocalypse, spiders, and/or inevitable death. The thing that keeps us up at night is that fewer than 26 of these perfect, glorious vehicles were ever produced. They’re not cheap. (Two were reportedly customized for the Sultan of Brunei.) And its rarity isn’t the only thing that’s fascinating about it, as it was built in the late 1990s for the international GT competition. It had a top speed of 198 miles per hour, a 7.3-liter engine, carbon-fiber and aluminum construction, upward swinging doors … and it was pretty. It was very, very pretty.
The Modern “Gull-Wing”: 2011 SLS AMG
I Want to Get Away … I Want to Fly Away!
Photo by M 93 (Wikimedia Commons)
We’ve gushed about this gull-winged, glorious car in other lists, but it’s worth mentioning again (and again, and again). This was the first car developed exclusively by the AMG division, though it did bring the glory of the Mercedes 300 SL back. This time, it had a powerful engine with 563 horsepower to go with the flappers. And what a beautiful bird it was!