When Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher founded AMG after their engineering careers in the Development Department at Daimler-Benz in 1967, they first put their hands on the 300 SE, which became a real-deal touring car. Their ambitions for optimizing the performance of Mercedes-Benz vehicles led to the famous AMG Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8. The “Red Pig” surprisingly won its class and finished second overall at the 1971 24 Hours of Spa — a breakthrough for the company, which was nothing but a bunch of engineers and mechanics at that time.

Racing is an integral part of AMG´s DNA. But, as we all know, it’s the street cars that have changed our perception of a fast Benz. And the well-aged W110 “Fin Tail” you see here, shot for RM Sotheby´s, is one of the first commissions of an AMG street car.

It entered the AMG premises as a 230 in the summer of 1972. And was turned into a 280 SE — a car that had never existed before. AMG applied some magic to the fuel-injected engine, resulting in 185 hp, fitted a sports exhaust, added a limited-slip diff, bigger brakes, wider tires, a visually astonishing oil cooler under the front and Bilstein dampers underneath. This transformation, including a rev counter on the sophisticated Mercedes dashboard, came in at a whopping 17.711,95 Marks. A huge amount of money, pretty much the same as the base car itself. But just like today, there was a growing clientele on the horizon for whom a Mercedes was just not enough. Which makes this W110 a very relevant car for AMG´s history, and the starting point of a worldwide success story.