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Is it the real deal AMG?

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Discussion Starter #1
Yes, yes. The age-old question. I found a 300SD being sold in the Mid-West that the seller claims has a genuine AMG Body package installed on it. I've done my research on what I can see, and the front bumper, skirts and spoiler all seem to be the genuine article. My only concern is what appears to be a stock rear bumper.

Can any of the AMG experts here help me I.D. this either positive or negative? What part-numbers would AMG parts have? Could you order an AMG without a full body kit?

The car has 94k on it, and some minor rust in one of the door jambs. I'd like this wonderful communities help in figuring out if this car is worth the effort or not.

VIN: WDBCB20C1FA103376
 

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W201, W212, W221, & W222 Moderator
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The kit looks genuine, even the rear lip on the rear bumper. However, AMG never did anything with diesels, but someone took the effort to put an AMG kit on an SD. Genuine parts will have part numbers on them in various areas.

So, even if the kit itself is geniune, this is not a "genuine" AMG car.

Data card shows a Feb. 10, 1984 delivery date, and it certainly looks taken care of for its age.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK, kind of what I thought. The kit seems genuine, and the seller's story of the car is consistent: bought it off a lady whose father collected old Benzes and gave it to her in his will.

My next question is do we have any proof that AMG Westmont didn't work on diesel cars? Not even a bodykit? I can't find any USA diesels that were but as we all know, AMG back then was more "We'll do it, you pay for it" than having a set options list/car list.

Also, what part numbers exactly denote an AMG piece?
 

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W201, W212, W221, & W222 Moderator
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Most genuine cars are verified by paperwork (which is easy to falsify) that states the VIN, work done, cost, etc. Because of this, there's no way to really prove what AMG did or didn't work on, as they didn't keep any records themselves while they were independent of MB. Short of finding an AMG letter in the car, with a name on it of someone you can track down and ask if they recall working on a US-market diesel, you're pretty much out of luck.

I suppose anything is possible in terms of what they put kits on and worked on, but diesels were never a performance market for anyone in a sedan. They did the PowerPack for the M102.983 in the 190E 2.3-16, they did some work on the 5.0L and 5.6L M117s, they also offered taking the aforementioned motors and boring them out to 5.4L and 6.0 respectively. Then you could get the 4-valve heads (which I hear could actually be an owner's nightmares with leaks)... basically all gasoline stuff.

I don't know the part numbers off the top of my head for bodykit pieces, but they do differ for US-spec parts and European-spec parts. Again, even part numbers are things that can be imitated and forged in the process of making "replica" parts.

Again, without calling up someone who was with AMG before the merger and providing all the information you can on this car with the hopes they'll remember, there's no way to prove anything on this car is genuine AMG or not. It's a gamble.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Fair enough Josh. I appreciate the help. I think I'll end up taking the gamble on this one, and it should turn into a pretty good build/DIY/AMGornot thread. If I acquire this beauty I'll be sure to take everyone here on the adventure too.

If you had to throw a guesstimate value on this weirdness, any ideas? I've found it very difficult to find any numbers at all for something like this. NADA reckons an average sell of $7500 for an SD but with the mods I'm not sure.
 

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To put it bluntly, most people wouldn't consider it AMG unless it has AMG engine bits (which you can visually identify by the headers, etc). Are the parts real AMG parts? Looks like it :) I wasn't old enough to be driving in the 1980's, but it seems the experience is that AMG did sell authentic parts that folks (ex: Beverly Hills Motoring, etc) would install for a price, aftermarket (kind of like RennTech does aftermarket tuning)
 

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W201, W212, W221, & W222 Moderator
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I'm just trying to be as realistic with you as possible is all. There are many cars that pop up around here where folks will ask if it's genuine or not, and in most cases there's no way of knowing when they're just the body kits. If it were a V8 and you could see the visual changes (like those 4-valve heads) then it would certainly increase the odds that it's a genuine AMG car as you can't just pick up an M117 with 4-valve heads anywhere.

Values are tough, given recent trends of these older diesels in nice condition going up in value that makes it even harder. It looks like a well cared for example, at least in those photos. I can tell you that most people (around here, anyway) dismiss NADA, KBB, and other sources of valuation. There's never a consensus of whether or not the prices are too high or too low, as you'll have people in both camps.

I really can't give you an honest valuation, as what I'd pay for it would probably be lower than what it's probably worth. Or it could be higher. If the car checks out and it's in excellent shape and all maintenance is up to date, I could see spending $10,000-15,000 for this. Again, that's just what I'd pay. Someone here may say this is a $5000 car at best because it's a diesel and not V8, while someone else may say based on observed condition and "genuine" parts, this is a $30,000 car.
 

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Rather than getting caught up with AMG body kits and the like, I would be more focused on the car's mechanical and aesthetic condition. Also drive a M117 V8 and compare them and ask yourself if you really want to drive a 300SD?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice bsclifton & slownrusty. The OM617 is in good working order, compression seems fantastic. There are a couple of issues. One is a fairly aggressive rust spot in the right rear door dog leg. It's in a very strange place and its the only bit of rust the seller has disclosed, so I'm wondering if there's a plugged drain there or something. I've included some pictures below.

@slownrusty I was looking for a 560SEC as well as either a 300TDT/300CD, so I'm OK with either set-up. I'm a Sprinter mechanic by trade, so diesels don't scare me. I was planning on modifying the engine regardless with some euro mods like fuel pump/bigger turbo/tuning/injectors etc. Given the low(ish) mileage, good condition and rare bodykit, I thought I'd try and make a performance diesel AMG. It would be very unique, I think. Thoughts? Would that impact the "purity" of the car?
 

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W201, W212, W221, & W222 Moderator
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If you've got the time, money, and don't consider the "purity" factor of the car, the OM606 would be a pleasant motor to swap in; capable of incredible power output with some work; something that could more than compete with an AMG of that era.

It will be much more receptive to mods and handle the power far better than the 617.

Search up OM606 on YouTube and you'll see what I mean.

I will say if I had a diesel 126, my endeavors would be to get an OM606 in there at some point in the future.
 

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I’ve seen rust like that in northeast cars , it means there’s a ton of Rust hidden from salt driven roads .

I would just pass. The fact it may have a genuine amg body kit means nothing , it’s a rusty diesel . Anyone could buy genuine amg body kits back in the day , and westmont , Barry Taylor , Beverly Hills motoring accessories etc would sell and install on any car . They did not refuse work because it was a diesel ! They would even put a 1000sel badge on it if you wanted .
 

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Having lived in the midwest most of my life and driven MB diesels since 76 I would follow tusabes advice and RUN. Also no diesel mods to a OM617 will ever come close to a SEC in my opinion
 

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I am sure this car is not a "real" AMG. I am old enough to remember an interview in AutoWeek during the mid 1980s with Richard Buxbaum, who was owner of the AMG distributor in Chicago. He said in the interview that most AMG stuff sold then was counterfeit. He even mentioned that somebody had called him in the week prior offering to sell him molds for AMG body parts. Authentic AMG parts from the era were shop built, hand laid fiberglass, and it was very easy to make molds and copies of them. That means every logo and part number imprinted could easily be counterfeited. I think only a solid paper trail could help owners.
Also, the wheels are chrome plated, aftermarket copies of factory 140 body wheels, which were very popular as a wheel and tire set sold via Metric Motoring (IIRC) in the early 2000s. The rear spoiler does not look like any AMG part I am familiar with.
I think it is all but impossible for a 300SD to be an authentic AMG vehicle. I suggest you value it as a stock SD, and value the non-OEM parts at salvage/replacement cost.
 
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