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The Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V is quickly becoming one of those ”snatch one up while you can” cars. Much like it’s rival E30 BMW M3, these are becoming hot buys in terms of driving enjoyment and collectibility. They aren’t quite at the level of the E30 M3 where people are pulling them out of the bottoms of lakes and selling them as-is for $12,000 yet, but probably in the next few years we’ll get to that point. That’s probably why this 1986 is still for sale in San Diego. Well that, and a few other areas of this car certainly need some attention.
“Pre-merger” AMG cars date from the period when the company was not yet officially part of Mercedes-Benz and instead existed as an independent tuner (it would be folded into the MB family in the early to mid 1990s). Back then, customers could upgrade their cars with AMG parts by choosing from a menu of cosmetic and mechanical upgrades and having them shipped from the production line to Affalterbach for modification (or, if they were in the US, having those parts installed by a locally authorized dealer, like the storied Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories). Early period AMG cars that show up for sale today offer a neat slice of the exotic 80s tuner world, but they present a number of difficulties when it comes to authentication. This gray market, seemingly AMG modified 500SE is a good case in point.
The 1971 Mercedes–Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG is one of my favorite cars ever. The ‘Red Pig’ entered 1971 24-hour race at Spa as the over-weight underdog. To everyone’s surprise, it finished 1st in it’s class and second overall thanks to the madmen at AMG who took the already impressive M100 engine and pushed it to 428 horsepower and 448 lb-ft. This example for sale in California isn’t the famous Rote Sau, but it is a very nice tribute that will have you yelling ”Sooie!”
There are many legends from the 1980s tuning scene, and probably if you were to single out one single car as the most famous it would be the Ruf CTR “Yellowbird” that stunned magazines with its 200+ m.p.h. top speed and created one of the first internet sensations with its slithering sideways lap of the ‘Ring. But near equal to the yellow 911 is the widebody bad boys from Affalterbach. With their four cam V8s churning supercar power levels and their widened flanks, they were a favorite poster subjects and still draw adoring crowds today. A steady stream of AMGs from Japan have been making their way across the ocean to the U.S., and this one is reported to be one of the original 6 widebody 560SECs made for the Japanese market:
Yesterday I pulled up behind a lightly modded 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC in my Audi Coupe. It was interesting, having them parked together and considering that they were produced only 1 year apart, yet the target audience for each was so vastly different. The Audi, steeped in modernity and full of angles, appeared short and lithe next to the Leviathan Mercedes. It was the last of the 1970s dinosaurs that somehow was still roaming the earth in the early 1990s, shouting and stomping around the land that time forgot. Yet there’s an inherent appeal in these cars too; beyond build quality and luxury, even beyond the fluid design of the pillarless coupe. There’s just something that is right about the C126, and pop some period AMG bits on and roll it in the period drug of choice, all that is missing is the Miami Vice soundtrack and some rolled up white sport coat sleeves: