AMG – Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed
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(tires burning) – Created in a guy’s garage
in the shadow of Mercedes comes the craziest band of Germans ever. Sorry Rammstein. They’re the originators
of the bad-ass luxury car and the benchmark to which
all sport sedans are measured. They started as underdogs
who would later go on to dominate the road and the track. This is everything you need to know to get up to speed on AMG. (fast-paced synth music) The AMG story begins in the mid 60’s when Mercedes engineers
Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher started
working on a race engine with the development
department at Daimler Benz. This race motor would be used
in the Mercedes 300 SE sedan which at the time was the fastest
production car in Germany. But at the track, it
was a different story. The stock power of 170 horses was crummy. Oh, James, don’t you think
you’re being a little harsh? No. It was downright crummy. So Melcher fitted the
fuel injection system from a 300 SL Gullwing
onto the SE’s engine which boosted output to 238 horsepower. ♪ More, more more, more, more
(“Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol) ♪ – Before Aufrecht and Melcher How many times did you put
their names in there? (laughs) But before they had a chance
to show off the new engine, Daimler Benz shut down the race team. Scheisse, what to do now? I have a plan. Put the engine under your
shirt and meet me at my house. Under my shirt? Yeah.
Okay. I’m not positive that’s
exactly how it happened but they did work on the
engine in their spare time. Back to the story. They put the motor in a 300 SE sedan and entered it in the German
Touring Car Championship. They didn’t have any support
from Mercedes, in fact, they weren’t even supposed
to be working on the car. But the risk payed off
because their secret race car went on to win ten races. The next year, Werner left Mercedes. What good was working for a company that wouldn’t let him
express himself with his art? He asked Erhard to go with
him and Erhard was like, Ja wohl, dude. Ja wohl, a million times, ja wohl. Their names were Aufrecht and Melcher. And they were working at
Aufrecht’s house in Grossaspach. AMG. Their goal was to use what they learned at the track to make road cars faster. And they weren’t salty
about leaving Mercedes. As far as they were concerned,
Mercedes were still the best. AMG’s first big project was to turn another 300 SE sedan into a race car. But this one was different,
this one was big. The 300 SEL was Merc’s
flagship luxury model powered by an enormous
6.3 liter V8 engine. Powerful enough to make the 300 SEL the fasted sedan in the world. But the SEL was over 16 feet
long and weighed 3,800 pounds. That’s like the same size as my dad. AMG tore the SEL’s engine apart and replaced everything inside. Pistons, rockers, a new cam shaft. The new motor now had a
displacement of 6.8 liters and it made 428 horsepower. But the motor wasn’t the
only thing they changed. They replaced the doors with ones made from
aluminum to increase grip. They widened the wheel track to keep the giant tires from poking out. They gave it fender flares. The 300 SEL or Red Pig made its debut at the 1971
24 hours of spa in Belgium. And it blew people’s minds,
people couldn’t believe it. This was a car your
divorced uncle would drive and it’s destroying the real sports cars. It won its class and
finished second overall. AMG had proven they could win without the support from Mercedes. After the victory, AMG
had some serious cred. So everyone wanted them
to modify their Mercedes. So they did. Through the 70’s, AMG
became the go-to guys if you wanted a bad-ass Merc. And by the 80’s, nobody in the world had a better reputation than AMG. But in 1986, AMG would drop a
bomb on the automotive scene in the form of the most
brutal sedan ever devised. Like the Red Pig before it,
AMG took a 300 SE sedan, pulled out that puny six-cylinder engine, and installed a heavily-modified V8. They also tweaked the body
to be more aerodynamic and aggressive, they
installed bigger brakes, and gave it some super
cool looking five-spokes. The result was a sedan so menacing, so evil that Darth Vader
himself would insist that someone else take the wheel. One auto journalist called AMG’s new car about as subtle as a hammer. It turns out the German
word for hammer, is hammer. And AMG thought, huh, I
like the sound of that. Hammer Time. And the rest is history. The AMG Hammer did zero
to sixty in five seconds and it had a top speed
of 178 miles an hour. The interior was super nice, it was quiet. And when driving over decent roads, the ride was as smooth as I am. To this day, the Hammer is one of AMG’s crowning achievements. After the Hammer’s huge success, Mercedes was like, alright,
we should do something before AMG makes us all
look really, really foolish. So they worked out a contract
with the former employees so Mercedes could sell AMG cars at their dealerships around the world. (“Around the World” by Daft Punk) – The relationship wasn’t salty obviously, but Mercedes figured if
someone was going to sell bad-ass Benz’s, it might as well be Benz. But Mercedes wasn’t the only
partnership that AMG would make The Mitzubishi Galant was
a four-door sedan with a four-cylinder and was even
offered in all-wheel drive. It was basically the Evo before the Evo. (car revving) Mitsubishi hit up AMG to
have them do some work on the Galant and AMG was like, alright, well we usually do V8 stuff
but this could be fun. The Galant AMG was front-wheel drive and, unlike the Evo, naturally aspirated. But it had the same motor, the 4G63. And AMG tuned it to
redline at eight grand. They also gave the Galant
the standard AMG treatment with body tweaks and new wheels. Only 500 were ever made and
all of them were sold in Japan, so (beep) us. (laughs) Back in Germany, the first
car developed in the new Mercedes AMG contract
partnership was the C36 AMG. This new sedan was aimed
squarely at the BMW M3. And even used the straight-six engine like its Bavarian counterpart. In 1998, the C36 got an upgrade in the C43 which returned to AMG’s V8 roots. For their entire history, every single one of AMG’s V8 engines has been hand-built. Each of the 250 people currently
working at the AMG engine plant has their own set of
tools and each craftsmen builds one engine at a
time from start to finish . They’re so good at it that
it only takes them about three hours to complete an engine. – My fingers hurt. – After each engine is built,
the final step is placing and individualized placard on the intake with the engine builder’s signature. They sign their (bleed) work
because they’re proud of it. In 1999, Mercedes bought
a majority interest in AMG which means they were still
free to do whatever they wanted as long as it was only
on Mercedes Benz models. One of the first official cars
AMG would build for Mercedes was another racecar for
the road, the CLK GTR. (engine accelerating) The race version was developed in 1997 for the FIA GT Championship. And the rules required
that 25 road legal cars had to be built. But after two years,
the series was canceled and AMG decided to build the cars anyway. The CLK GTR was not powered by
a V8 like AMG’s previous cars but a 6.9 liter, (chuckles)
69, V12 capable of 604 horsepower and a top
speed of 214 miles per hour. After the car ended
production, Mercedes would keep building the V12 for Pagani who used it in their Zonda
and Huayra supercars. Only one man at AMG is
certified to build it. His workspace is sectioned
off from everybody else. They make him work in a
little room by himself. This is real. He must be going insane. (horn beeping) With the CLK GTR, Hammer,
and Red Pig under their belt, AMG had a reputation for building cars that had a knack for standing out. But what if you wanted
something to blend in? The 2005 E55 AMG Wagon
was the car for you. It was the ultimate sleeper
from the outside it looked like your typical suburban kid-hauler. The only clues being the
AMG and Kompressor badges. But if you looked under the hood, you’d find a hand-built
5.4 liter supercharged V8. (tires screeching) Through all of AMG’s
life, they stayed true to their philosophy of
building performance models of any Mercedes. Unline BMW’s M-division
who only focus on cars with lateral agility, like me. What this means is that there
are a ton of AMG versions of cars you wouldn’t expect. Like the R63, a V8 powered
minivan with over 500 horsepower. And the G65, a G-Wagon with a Biturbo V12. There’s even an A45 AMG, a
hatch-back with 355 horsepower and all-wheel drive. But the craziest AMG of them all, by far, (“Run” by AWOLNATION) The G63 AMG six-by-six. This six-wheeled Behemoth
weighs in at over 9,000 pounds and rides on 37-inch off-road tires. It was originally developed
for the Australian military but some Mercedes VIP’s
saw it in action and said hey, give that thing a nice
interior and we’ll buy some. The six-by-six can go pretty
much anywhere and over anything It of course has six-wheel drive
and can inflate and deflate its tires depending on conditions. I want one. So what’s next for AMG? In the spirit of the
Red Pig and the CLK GTR, AMG is once again putting
everything they’ve learned at the track into one car. The Mercedes AMG Project 1. Mercedes has won a Formula
Championship four times in a row and to celebrate, their building
an F1 car for the street. Mercedes says the Project 1
will use a drive train and hybrid system which
Mercedes claims will make 1,000 horsepower. And the steering wheel isn’t
even a wheel, it’s a rectangle. Because it’s a racecar. From modest beginnings building
engines out of a garage in Germany, to designing the
most incredible hyper-car ever. The AMG story is one of
precision, perserverance, and building absolute sledgehammers out of sophisticated sedans. (bleep) sick. That’s everything you need to
know to get up to speed on AMG Go like our page, the
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go to shop.donut.media Follow me on instagram at JamesPumphrey. Follow Donut on instagram at DonutMedia. I love you. (hiccups) Jesus. (laughing)

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