The AMG high performance division of Mercedes-Benz has certainly produced some exceptional cars over the years. Some of my personal favourites from AMG include the C32, SL55, C43, E55, A45, C63, SL65 and SLS. The AMG E36 is also a car that springs to mind as it was a direct competitor to the BMW M3 E36, a car that I own.
Unfortunately only 49 of these AMG’s made their way to Australia so they’re an incredibly rare sight. Eight years ago when I was searching for an M3 I also did a search for this AMG, but couldn’t track one down and the fact that they only came with an automatic gearbox also put me off. Still, I would love to drive one and do a comparison between these two great German performance cars from the 1990’s.
There is another very rare Mercedes-Benz AMG that I discovered at the Fox Classic Car Museum known as the A38 AMG, built in the year 2000. I haven’t ever seen one on the road and it’s believed that there’s only four left in existence. Lindsay Fox owns this car and Mercedes-Benz owns another. The final two were given as gifts to McLaren Mercedes F1 drivers of the time Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard.
The A38 is unique in that it has two engines. There is a 1.9 Litre four cylinder engine up front in the usual position and another 1.9 Litre four in the back, resulting in an overall output of 250 hp (186kW). Normally, the front engine powers the car on its own and drives the front wheels but the rear engine can be activated by a switch to drive the rear wheels. A clutch mechanism enables both engines to be hooked up, driving all four wheels. The car’s 1 Motor Mode enables the driver to switch the rear engine off to improve fuel consumption.
The AMG can reach a top speed of 230 km/h and 0-100 km/h is dispatched in 5.9 seconds, pretty impressive for its time. Brakes are taken from the E55 AMG high performance V8 sedan. Cars this rare certainly need to be preserved and this particular model represents an important piece of AMG’s history.