By Stewart Smith on 2017-01-12 - Stewart was the former motoring editor of the Coventry Telegraph and is now a freelance contributor to Eurekar. He is based in Scotland and specialises in First Drive reviews.
AMG at 50 - fast
AMG, the high-performance arm of German car giant Mercedes-Benz, is celebrating 50 years and since its foundation has become one of the most sought-after motors for driving enthusiasts.
It heads into its anniversary with record sales worldwide last year of almost 100,000 models.
Here are a few facts and figures tracing the rise of the iconic brand from its inception in 1967 to its present position as one of the world's most desirable motors.
1. AMG was founded in Burgstall in 1967 by Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher as an "engineering office, design and testing for the development of racing engines". The letters stood for Aufrecht, Melcher and GroÃaspach - the birthplace of Aufrecht.
2. In 1971, AMG became famous overnight, with the red-painted AMG 300 SEL 6.8 winning its class in supreme style at the Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race while finishing second in the overall classification.
3. The plant in Affalterbach was founded in 1976. In a newly constructed building, the racing engine workshop evolved into a manufacturer of sports saloons and coupes.
4. In 1984, Melcher completely independently developed a cylinder head with modern four-valve technology, the innovative engine being used as a 5.0-litre V8 in the Mercedes-Benz 500 SEC. The principle of "one man, one engine" was valid from the outset.
5. From 1988, AMG not only constructed Mercedes-Benz 190 E racing cars, but was also responsible for their deployment in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM).
6. Collaboration with Mercedes-Benz began in 1990. In 1991, AMG embarked on the development and production of sports versions of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
7. The C 36 AMG, launched in 1993, was the first vehicle on the market to result from the collaboration agreement with Daimler-Benz. With sales of 5000 units up to 1997, it became the first best-seller.
8. With effect from 1999, Mercedes-AMG was 51 per cent owned by DaimlerChrysler.
9. In 2001, the newly developed 5-speed automatic transmission in the C 32 AMG was paired with the 3.2-litre supercharged V6. Innovative touch control allowed the gears to be selected manually.
10. In 2005, Mercedes-AMG became a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG.
11. Unveiled in 2009, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG was the first vehicle to be developed entirely in-house by the sports car and performance brand. The sound, along with uncompromising driving dynamics and iconic gull-wing doors, found fans around the world.
12. AMG branched into motor racing with the SLS AMG GT3 in 2011. At the same time, the SLS GT3 marked the entry of Mercedes-Benz into exclusive customer racing sport.
13. With almost 70,000 units, Mercedes-AMG set a new sales record in 2015. The growth drivers included not just the newly launched 43 series models, but, above all, the performance vehicles of the C-Class, SUVs and compacts.
14. Since 2016, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 has written a new chapter in the history of customer sports. At the ADAC Zurich 24h race at the Nurburgring in 2016, the first four places went to teams competing in the Mercedes-AMG GT3.
15. With almost 100,000 units delivered, Mercedes-AMG in 2017 heads into the year of its 50th anniversary on the back of a new sales record.
16. With the AMG GT C, Mercedes-AMG is extending its sports car portfolio to six models plus the customer sports AMG GT3 racing car. In under three years, the second vehicle to be developed entirely in-house has spawned a family of sports cars.
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