It’s known that AMG was founded in 1967 by two guys working out of an old mill in Germany building really fast cars for locals. Inspired by their customer’s feedback, AMG’s Mercedes racing efforts soon began. Their racing success brought them quick popularity and in the 1970’s they started offering high-performance tuning packages to Mercedes customers. Not to lose focus of their passion for motorsports, AMG set out to develop a racing coupe to complete against Jaguar and Alpina-BMW in the European Touring Car Championship. The result was the AMG Mercedes 450SLC which debuted in 1978.
A factory standard 450 SLC tipped the scales at about 3,700 pounds. According to race regulations, the coupe could be slimmed down to 2,700 pounds. Increasing the power output was never an issue for AMG. The 4520cc V8 was bumped to 375 horsepower and revved all the way to 6500 RPM. Unfortunately the preferred five-speed manual transmission was not homologated so the original three-speed automatic transmission remained in place.
Through it’s first two seasons, the 450 SLC AMG had never managed to position better than third place on track. The opening race of the 1980 season resulted in a promising second place finish. It wasn’t until the very last race in the 1980 European Touring Car Championship Grand Prix at the Nurburgring which the team pulled off it’s first victory. The rest is history.