Do AMGs have their own number?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tmc, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. Tmc

    Tmc Active Member

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    Do AMGs have their own number?

    By that I mean are they actually AMG cars or still Mercedes?

    Reason I ask is I came across an AMG 124 for sale and the price is quite good.

    I'm sure the new AMGs being actually now owned by Mercedes are Mercedes. But back in the 90's? They were an independent tuning company.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. KillerHERTZ

    KillerHERTZ Administrator Staff Member

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    1996 they became part of MB. Prior to that they were separate.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Tmc

    Tmc Active Member

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    Thanks. I thought it was 2005. But that may have been when Mercedes got full control.

    But so before 1996 were the cars sold as AMGs or they still Mercedes after AMG tuned them? What I'm trying to find out is, what should the registration say?

    Thanks.
     
  4. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler MB Club Veteran

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    It will probably say Mercedes, but the actual model designation could be as it left the factory, before it was modified by AMG, eg E300 rather than E36.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Tmc

    Tmc Active Member

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    This is what I was wondering. If it would say AMG E36 or even Mercedes AMG E36 for example or just Mercedes 300 E-24 or whichever model it was based on.

    KillerHERTZ, does yours say Mercedes-AMG CLS55? Since it's from after the merger.
     
  6. neilrr

    neilrr MB Club Veteran

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    Back then they were real AMGs, rare & special cars built to order at extravagant prices.

    Now, with a few exceptions, AMG is a branding exercise for people who like to wear baseball caps & call their children 'buddy'.
     
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  7. KillerHERTZ

    KillerHERTZ Administrator Staff Member

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    No, mine is a 'Mercedes CLS55 AMG' the stupid current naming system only started a year or so ago:

    Mercedes
    Mercedes-AMG
    Mercedes-Maybach

    Added to which they swapped the badge font / position, so that AMG is now on the left of the boot, rather than the right.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  8. OP
    OP
    Tmc

    Tmc Active Member

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    I can see where you are coming from. Although this is different matter.;)
     
  9. OP
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    Tmc

    Tmc Active Member

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    I see. Thanks for the info.

    Maybe somebody who has or has had a 80's or 90's AMG will comment about how it was done back then.
     
  10. ftb

    ftb Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I can't say for definite, sorry, but I doubt that back then AMG were recognised as a separate car manufacturer. More like an aftermarket tuning house. As such VIN would stay the same as it left the Mercedes factory. Just my thoughts!
     
  11. E55BOF

    E55BOF MB Club Veteran

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    So far as I know AMG has never been a separate car manufacturer. They have never manufactured cars. They modified cars made by Mercedes-Benz.
     
  12. Red C220

    Red C220 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    AMG were an aftermarket tuning company pre 1996 very much like Brabus are now.

    So as already mentioned in this thread the car will still be registered as the base Mercedes Model on which it was built as opposed to a specific AMG model.

    This is because back then there was no such thing as a specific basic model, it was an A La Carte menu from which you picked as few or many items as you wanted. Mechanical or cosmetic or a combination of the two.

    Some of the bigger builds were undertaken in Germany - one of the forum members here owns a 560E AMG which started life as a W124 230E - was sent to AMG Germany by George Harrison (yes - of the Beatles) and fitted with a 560 motor from an SEC along with other upgrades.

    This kind of car is considered a full factory AMG by collectors.

    On the log book of this car it will be registered as a Mercedes 230E with an engine capacity of 5.6 litres. It's provenance can be traced by documentation (both with the car and in the media) and also a build plate on the slam panel.

    Cars were also built by international companies that held the concession for whatever country they were based in. Stratton was a well known UK AMG builder. They built a number of widebody SEC's here some with mechanical upgrades some without.

    All were hand built and no two are identical.

    There was a point at which this changed and the cars would have been supplied new by Mercedes and registered as such, this would most likely be C36AMG or C43AMG or around that time. I think anything pre either of those cars would simply be registered as the original donor car.
     
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  13. OP
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    Tmc

    Tmc Active Member

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    Thanks everybody.

    I suspected as much but wasn't sure.

    I never knew if AMG was set up as a manufacturer or just a tuning house back then. Because some of the AMG cars were quite modified and certainly would have earned the right to be considered a different car.

    In many ways companies like RUF, Hennessey and others are not that different from what AMG was. They make cars based on other cars. But yet I'm pretty sure their cars get their own VIN.

    So I wasn't sure about AMG. I knew you could send your own car in and get only a rear wing and an AMG badge for example. But I didn't know if the cars which had an actual AMG model number like E36, E60 etc were shipped new from Mercedes to AMG to modify it, like Opel did with the Carlton to Lotus, or like I think it's done between Lotus and Hennessey. Or even if AMG just got the parts and built it themselves like RUF does.

    What Lotus did with the Carlton is hardly different from what AMG did with their cars. Yet the Lotus Carlton is registered as a Lotus as far as I know and received its own VIN. I know this wouldn't be possible if AMG wasn't set up as a manufacturer, which Lotus obviously is. But I wasn't sure if AMG was or wasn't.

    The reason I asked is that like I said I found a supposed W124 AMG for a good price. But how can one tell if it's a real AMG? And what is a real AMG anyway? If you could send your car in to get tuned choosing from an A La Carte menu, who sets the parameters to what consists a real AMG? How many or what AMG modifications there needs to be for it to be a real AMG? Is a car with a body kit fit by AMG and no other mods less of an AMG than a car which only had a suspension tune up or even just the engine worked on and nothing else?

    This all leaves a lot of room for fraud I would think. After I found out about the supposed AMG W124 for sale I checked prices and the only 124 cars which are appreciating and selling for silly money are AMG ones. So there is definitely motivation for crooks out there to fake old AMG cars for profit. It's easy enough to tell a fake AMG Hammer, as very few were produced and they are probably all accounted for. But some other more widely produced models or not so famous ones may not be so easy. Especially if they are not cars which got the full AMG treatment but just sent in for small mods.

    Unless AMG has kept records of the VINs of every car they have worked on and what modifications were done, and make this register available to the public, I would say at this point in time it might be pretty darn hard or nearly impossible to tell if every AMG car from that period and earlier is a real AMG. And knowing how the corporate world works I would risk a guess that even if AMG did keep such records, it might have been all thrown out when the takeover happened. And a 10-15 years old company might not have realized yet that their cars might be any valuable in the future and not have thought about keeping such records.

    The only 100% sure way would be AMG VINs. Or at least if the cars were numbered, like the Lotus Carlton is. It’s almost impossible to get away with a fake Lotus Carlton, even when almost 1000 were made.

    Like Red C220 wisely points out, an AMG could be traced by documentation with the car and in the media and also by the build plate on the slam panel. But honestly you can fake or replicate all of that. And as for the media, I doubt very much that every car AMG has ever worked on has had media coverage. The slam plates and all badges are the easiest to replicate I would say. So all the above can help. But I wouldn’t say it’s a sure way. I can't help but think AMG VINS would be the only real way to id the real cars.

    That is of course after everybody can agree what exactly is a real AMG. It would have been way easier if they would only sell you the full package with body kit + performance upgrades or nothing at all. But as it is they have made it very difficult indeed.
     
  14. Doodle

    Doodle Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    IIRC it is down to how the car is supplied/marketed

    RUF/Alpina et al buy a car from the parent manufacturer, modify it and then sell it as a completed item to the customer with their own separate VIN

    AMG - customer buys car and then has it modified, car stays on Mercedes VIN. Often this would be the same transaction for both bits, so it's pretty grey, but it explains the difference in VIN#
     
  15. Rob77

    Rob77 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Do you really think so? Leaving aside the Hammer, which you accept would be hard to fake, what would you say is open to fraud?

    Is there that much of a price differential between (say) a W124 with some AMG bits fitted by Strattons and one where they were fitted later? And if you're talking more than a few bits then that's not an easy "faking job" and is generally undertaken by somewhat of an expert in that field and done openly.
     
  16. Pontoneer

    Pontoneer MB Club Veteran

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    ...and I know HE has a Maybach as a 'spare' car .
     
  17. Red C220

    Red C220 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Don't get hung up on this idea of something being "real AMG" or not, it's actually a circular argument.

    A car of that vintage would have been a base model that was modified, figure out what AMG parts are fitted and then value it as such.

    The vast majority of these cars had nothing more than cosmetic enhancements which makes them more desirable but not a great deal more valuable. Basically add the cost of obtaining the AMG bits to bolt on yourself.

    The more mechanical changes the more value, but they need provenance.

    AMG documents from the time are at best a bit patchy.

    Only a handful of cars that eventually made their way to the UK were ever built in AMG Germany, the rest were built here by Stratton or cobbled together over the years with parts.

    This forum is full of people though who will be able to give some sensible advice if you post details about the car in which you have an interest. There are subtle differences that are easy to pick up for someone who knows what they are looking at.
     
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  18. OP
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    Tmc

    Tmc Active Member

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    OK. I did a lot of reading on the subject the last few days.

    It seems facelift W124s would have the AMG options in the VIN if it's a real AMG. By 1993 AMG and Mercedes started working closely together.

    But prior to that, meaning pre facelift cars don't have any AMG reference in the VIN.
     
  19. OP
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    Tmc

    Tmc Active Member

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    Depends which version we are talking about. Some are so rare that they don't even have a price list for. But the more common ones do.

    The last time I was in Germany I picked up a classic car magazine which has prices for cars that came out between 1920 and 1990.

    AMG versions seem to go for the double or more than the versions they are based on.

    The very rare AMGs such as the E60 Limited or the Hammer where only around 10 or so were made of each it's difficult to fake. But they go for way more than just the double of their base cars. The more normal AMGs I don't think are difficult to fake.

    Yes, the Hammer would be difficult to fake. But only the real Hammers. Most people call any W124 AMG Hammers. But the real Hammer is only the 1986 V8 WIDEBODY coupe. Not the 6 cylinders and technically not even the V8 Saloons. But online you see normal W124 and C124 AMGs for sale all the time with the name Hammer in the title. They are not the Hammer.

    So when I said the Hammer is difficult to fake I was specifically referring to the V8 widebody coupe. Besides that and the E60 Limited pretty much any other W124 AMG is not difficult to fake. Unless I'm overlooking another very limited run.
     
  20. OP
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    Tmc

    Tmc Active Member

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    Yes, indeed it seems to be a circular argument. Basically what I have learned so far is that there are no 2 AMG cars from that time which are alike. They were all bespoke. And pre 1993 cars don't really have a real solid way to tell if it's an AMG or a replica. I would say if the engine is not an AMG then it's not a real AMG, even if the bodykit was fitted by AMG Germany. I personally would call that an AMG styled Mercedes instead of an AMG Mercedes. But there doesn't seem to be an agreement. People with only AMG bumpers would of course disagree because they want their cars to be real AMG.

    So for pre 1993 cars, the more clues the car has the better when it comes to knowing if it's a real AMG or not. I agree with you.

    Only bumpers and nothing else? Probably fake! The body kit is the easiest thing to find, specially replicas.

    The point of telling if it's a real AMG or not is not only to value the car and know how much to pay. Some people may be looking for real AMGs only, regardless of the price. And even if only trying to figure the value to pay, how would you add the cost of obtaining the AMG bits to bolt on yourself? They don't sell them new anymore. So there isn't a solid price to go with. Real AMG body kits in the used market sell from anywhere between 2000 and 4000 quid. So is adding 4000 to the price of a normal 300 E a fair price? I'm not sure this is a good way to figure the value. But your approach of figuring what AMG parts are fitted to access the value is probably the only way and is a good approach. The problem is what to base the values on.;)
     
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