Jean Alesi with the F1 Safety Car Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG, his own Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM
The company was founded back in 1967 by Hans Werner Aufrecht (the A) and his partner Eberhard Melcher (M), whilst Aufrecht’s birthplace of Großaspach (G) supplied the third letter in the company name. They officially described themselves as “engineering, construction and testing specialists in the development of racing engines”. The firm was based in an old mill in Burgstall..
In its early years, AMG concentrated on building racing cars based on the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE and competing in European touring car races. And the company didn’t have to wait long to taste success, their first real breakthrough arriving in 1971. A Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 modified by AMG took a surprise class victory in the 24-hour race at Spa in Belgium, finishing in second place overall. The 1971 success proved to be the springboard for a enviable record on the track which has continued to the present day.
AMG’s success was to spread well beyond the international motorsport stage. By the 1970s, customers were beginning to develop a taste for more individuality in their cars and the German company based it's future on supplying cars to satisfy those desires. Core to their philosophy was transferring technology from motorsport into road going cars.
The strong demand for tuned Mercedes-Benz in the late 1970s led to a steady increase in the number of orders received by AMG. The company outgrew its base in Burgstall and moved to Affalterbach in 1978. Going from strength to strength, further success required another move in 1985 when the company opened “Werk II”, the second factory, and welcomed aboard its 100th employee.
One of the key milestones in the history of AMG came in 1990, with the signing of the cooperation agreement with Daimler-Benz AG. Under the terms of the deal, AMG products could now be sold at Mercedes-Benz sales and service outlets and dealers, giving the brand a great deal more credibility.
Further expansion led in 1990 to the opening of “Werk III”, the third factory, and an increase in the workforce to 400 employees. In 1993 the company unveiled the first co-developed vehicle to be born out of the cooperation agreement: the Mercedes-Benz C 36 AMG.
AMG Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM
On 1 January 1999, H.W. Aufrecht handed over a majority shareholding in AMG and the company was incorporated into DaimlerChrysler AG. This allowed the newly founded Mercedes-AMG GmbH to take advantage of the Group’s resources and global status.
AMG can point to a recent history of enviable success. Over 5000 units of the C 36 AMG were delivered between 1993 and 1997, whilst almost 3000 E 50 AMG vehicles were sold between 1996 and 1997. The E 50 AMG was then succeeded by the E 55 AMG, of which around 12,000 units were produced. However, the best sales year so far has been 2001, with 18,700 AMG vehicles delivered to their owners around the word - more than 1999 and 2000 together.
And they're not done yet.