Der Dampfhammer

Der Dampfhammer

The Mercedes Benz W124 is another great creation of Bruno Sacco. The clear sporty lines and timeless design remind of its earlier created little brother, the W201. It was also the car that started the E class line but more importantly it was the base on which a truly legendary car was created that more or less set the standard for petrol fueled insanity. The W124 AMG Hammer, which by the way means the same in English as in German.

In 1986 a year before the baby hammer was born his big brother saw the light. What started out as a standard 230E was now one of the baddest autobahn monsters around. The first thing they did at Aufrecht, Melcher, Grossaspach was removing the M102.982 inline-4 engine that produced 132 Hp (97 Kw) and replacing it with a 231 Hp (170Kw) M117.963 5.0 liter (4793cc) 8 cylinder from a W126 or V126. These where the early years of AMG’s road tuning projects so there wasn’t a warehouse full of brand new engines yet.

The engines AMG used where already road “tested”. The little tuner from Affalterbach wasn’t well known outside of the race car scene until 1984. In this year the engine whisperer Erhard Melcher devised a largely independent cylinder head for the M117 engine. He turned the already powerful and comfortable purring five-liter V8 engine into a wild roaring beast. Instead of two valves there were four per cylinder; plus a sharp camshaft and all sorts of accessories to turn the 8 cylinder into a real power house.

This conversion would later in 1986 be applied to the m117 for the Hammer. Turning the 5.0 liter into a 32 valve engine with a 9.8:1 compression a bore of 96.5mm and a stroke of 85mm. This resulted in 340 Hp (250 Kw) and 457 Nm torque. At this point the 5.6 and 6.0 liter versions weren’t available yet. This all started when AMG started selling it’s Hammer in the U.S. a couple things were different with the U.S. hammer models.

They were based on the 300E because the 230E wasn’t available in the states. Basically the same car but with a M103 3 liter inline-6 engine instead of the M102 2.3 liter inline-4 engine. AMG offered the sedan with either a standard 5.0 liter M117 from the W126 or V126 or a to 5.4 liter enlarged engine with Erhard Melchers cylinder heads and modifications installed. This produced over-the-top outputs for what was still supposed to be a stately executive sedan.

When in 1987 Mercedes-Benz updated the W126 S class line with the newest 5.6 liter M117. There was a lot of interest for this car from the U.S. so AMG stept up and launched the W124 300E 5.6 AMG (5547cc) with 360HP or 265kW and 510Nm of torque. This engine had a compression rate of 9.8:1 a bore of 96.5 and a stroke of 94.8. It was one of the first saloon production cars to pass the 300 km/h mark in 1987. The recorded speed was an astonishing 303 km/h according to the Mercedes archives. At the time of launching the Hammer, AMG increased its dealer points in the U.S. significantly to keep up with expected demand. This never really came to fruition but on the plus side it makes the hammer models really rare. The new 5.6 m117 engine also made conversion time a lot shorter for the wizards of AMG. There also needed to be an absolute over the top model or it wouldn’t be AMG as we know and love it. The car, the myth, the legend, the Mercedes Benz 300E 6.0 AMG. This car is by many considered the true “Hammer”. 

Available in regular, widebody, coupe, station or sedan. The cost of this car in sedan was DM335.000,- or €167.500,- back in Germany. An astronomical amount for the time. A top of the line Rolls Royce was about €50.000,- cheaper. The same hammer in the U.S. was sold for $161.500,-. AMG offered packages and it was basically up to your bank account how far you could take it. The cars where hand build and could be customized to it future owners preferences for a fee obviously.

The base price of a W124 300E was $39.000,- for an extra $17.000,- AMG would transplant the M117 5.6 under the hood and then bolt on DOHC cylinder heads increasing the performance from 177Hp to 355Hp. For a further $39,950, AMG would increase the cylinder volume to 6.0 liters (or 5953cc to be exact) and fit the engine with 9.8:1 pistons. It had a bore and stroke of 100mm and 94.8mm.

To top it all off Melcher’s 4-valve, double overhead-cam cylinder heads where fitted for a total of 32 valves. The engine was then matched up with a revalved and upgraded four-speed transmission. This little setup made the car shoot from 0-100 in 5 seconds which isn’t surprising with 283KW and an insane 566Nm of torque. A Torsen limited-slip in a modified W126 differential together with a modified rear subframe where installed to withstand the forces unleashed by this demon. 

A real hammer needs at least some Recaro CSE seats and a MOMO steering wheel not to mention a full kit of exterior and interior trim pieces. Parts of this where included in the price others where extra. To get all this power glued to the road an additional $14.000,- was required. For this you’d get the lower AMG suspension with more aggressive damping and a set of 17-inch AMG Aero 1 rims with Pirelli P700 215/45VR17 rubbers in the front and 235/45VR17 rubbers in the rear. This all excludes the $18.000,- labor cost.

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