When it comes down to it, the only nation on earth that can hold a candle to the US in muscle car building is Germany. Oh, and Australia. Let’s talk about Germany though. The Germans, and AMG especially, understand the magic of a car with a massive V8, enough torque to vaporize the rear tyres, and a mean street presence. More often than not, this is exactly what AMG does, and is exactly what they did with the 1987 300E ‘Hammer.’
The Hammer comes from the days before AMG was acquired by Mercedes, and was so good that it prompted Merc and Porsche to collaborate on the 500E as a response. AMG basically took a stock 300E, threw out the straight 6 and gave it the full hot rod treatment. It was lowered and had its fenders rolled. An aero package was added to lower its drag coefficient. Big fat tires were installed to maintain some semblance of control and at the heart of it all sat a 5.6 litre V8 bored out to 6.0 litres and making 375 horsepower. Top speed was 178 mph.
This was an amazing car in 1987. It’s still got very respectable performance figures today at almost 30 years old. The fly in the ointment? When new the 300E Hammer cost the equivalent of $320,000 in today’s money. Pricey, yes, but worth it purely for the idea of a four door Mercedes that could run with the likes Testarossas and 911 Turbos.