Some further AMG comments:
AMG North America was owned by Richard Buxbaum and was in Westmont, Ill and was the, and the only official AMG facility for building AMG cars, and specifically AMG Hammers in the U.S.
My Beverly Hills Motoring business was the West Coast agent for AMG North America, but I did not build cars: all of the Hammers and SEC’s that I sold were built in Chicago with the exception of the Phil Hill 560SEC that we built here in Beverly Hills, but we exported Hartmut from Chicago to Beverly Hills for a few weeks to do the job.
By the way Hartmut is a delightful guy who has the most extensive AMG knowledge of anyone in the U.S. And since there is no AMG facility in the U.S. Renntech would be the place to go to get any AMG work done.
All of the 4 valve engines that they installed were built at AMG in Affalterbach, West Germany at the AMG plant, and they came complete and were installed at that facility by Hartmut. Hartmut worked at AMG in Germany before he moved here to work at AMG North America, so it really was like Germany being here in the U.S. with this setup.
Again as far as I remember there were only about 10 U.S. Hammers built and for sure only ONE station wagon. The Hammer’s required so many extensive modifications to accomodate the big engine in the car that only came with a 6 cylinder motor from the factory, that as far as I know there were
NO other cars built with the 4 valve motor by AMG North America because it would not be safe to do so without all of those extensive frame, brake, suspension, rear end, etc. modifications.
The Hammers were basically a 300E body with all W126 components installed to be able to handle the power of the engine and also be able to handle and stop properly.
126 cars were different as it was pretty much a bolt in modification to put a 4 valve motor in a SEC or SEL.
The reason the Hammers were built in North America
was that by that time you could not import a Hammer from
Europe due to anti gray market regulations, so the decision was made to build the cars at AMG North America with virtually all of the parts that were used in Germany, with the same craftsman, Hartmut Feyhl, so A US Hammer was identical to a German built one except for the U.S. vin #.
The Hammers were all made from BRAND NEW 300E’s bought from Mercedes dealers in the Chicago area. So in my mind it is doubtful that this other wagon was built at AMG North America.
The cars were very expensive when new at $175,000,but they were so much faster than anything else at the time that there were a handful of people that boought them, and all were ecstatic with their purchases.
As far as 6 speed cars go, I do not remember any 6 speed cars being built at AMG in Chicago. I know there were a few 500SL’s
built at AMG in Germany in the early 80′s
before AMG of North America was formed with manual transmissions and were imported to the U.S. when Gray market cars were allowed. I remember one white with tan and one black with tan, but there were not many more.
In 1985 I decided I wanted a manual transmission 500SL with a four valve motor. So on a business trip to AMG I asked Mr Aufrecht, owner of AMG, if they could put a 4 valve motor in the car, and they said they would try, so I ordered a brand new European 500SL triple black from a Mercedes dealer in Israel and sent it to AMG.
Mr Aufrecht asked Hartmut, who was still working in Affalterbach as this was before AMG of North America, to try to install the 4 vslve motor in the W107 for me, but the engine bay was just not wide enough to accomodate the width of the four valve heads, and the car would have required major butchering, so Hartmut built me a 5.4 liter 2 valve motor for it, and they used the Gertrag 5 speed manual transmission. It arrived in Beverly Hills a few months later, and it was my everyday driver from 1985 until 1993, when I sold it to a client who still owns it! It had the 5.4 motor with manual transmission, AMG body kit, Suspension, limited slip differential, factory back seat, AMG steering wheel, and an AMG stereo system. It was a fun car and really fast for its time.
One more thing, was that EVERY AMG engine built at the time was put on an engine dyno at AMG,and run at redline for a long time and then checked again before being put in the car. That is why there were minimal engine problems when these cars were new