- Credit: Mercedes USA

The story of the "Red Pig"

Meet the automotive equivalent of a genetically modified product

40w ago

219.4K

If you like/own/owned cars with an AMG badge, then you will definitely love this one. Why? Because the entire AMG family tree can trace its roots to this particular model- the Mercedes Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG, also known as the Red Pig.

Back in the 1960s, Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher were developing engines for the iconic Mercedes Silver Arrows. At first, the two did not get along, but they were brought closer by a shared enthusiasm for developing race cars. They became very famous, and many people were approaching them directly when they wanted some improvement on their cars. After a while, Hans convinced Erhard to start their own company which would specialize in tuning Mercs.

This was the first AMG workshop. Credit: Mercedes-Benz

This was the first AMG workshop. Credit: Mercedes-Benz

They also decided to add the name of Hans’ birth town into the company name and in 1967, the world was introduced to the Aufrecht-Melcher-Grossaspach or AMG for short. Since these guys were the only Mercedes tuners at the time, they did not need a marketing strategy. As the word quickly spread around, they became very famous. And their first creation will always have a special place in AMG lovers’ hearts.

The standard 300 SEL. Credit: Snaplap.net

The standard 300 SEL. Credit: Snaplap.net

AMG's very first creation was the Red Pig, a starting point for all the mad cars that were later developed under this badge. Hans and Erhard took a 300 SEL and decided to turn it into a race monster. There weren’t many changes on the inside of the car, as it still featured wood panelling on the dashboard, carpets on the floor and 4 bucket seats.

The only racing bits were the roll cage and some rally-fog-light switches instead of a radio. Speaking of fog-lights, they weren’t the only aggressive looking thing on the car. AMG removed the bumpers, added bigger wheel arches and put wider tires on it. So, it is no surprise that this fat Merc quickly got the nickname “die Rote Sau”, or Red Pig.

The engine was upgraded from 6.3-litres to 6.8. Credit: Snaplap.net

The engine was upgraded from 6.3-litres to 6.8. Credit: Snaplap.net

But, the heart of this thing was an even crazier feature. The original 6.3-litre V8 was upgraded to 6.8-litres and received some upgrades on camshafts, pistons and compressors. This meant that the engine could produce an insane 428 HP and 620 Nm of torque. So, when the car showed up at the 1971 24 Hours of Spa, it really stood out next to small BMWs and Alfa Romeos. Kinda like Jeremy Clarkson turning up at a convention of little Greta Thunbergs.

During the 24 Hours of Spa. Credit: Snaplap.net

During the 24 Hours of Spa. Credit: Snaplap.net

During the race, the Red Pig’s gas-guzzling engine really took a toll on it and it had to pit for fuel and tires more than any other car on the grid. But, that didn’t stop it from winning in its class and coming second overall. This race really did well for AMG, and many people recognized them as proper speed hunters. However, a hero car like this didn’t have the usual happy ending.

During the 24 Hours of Spa. Credit: Snaplap.net

During the 24 Hours of Spa. Credit: Snaplap.net

After its racing career, the car was sold to a famous French company Matra, who used the car to test fighter jet landing gears. Pretty soon, the car became a wreck and its last resting place still remains a mystery.

Credit: Mercedes USA

Credit: Mercedes USA

Fortunately, Mercedes realized the historic meaning and importance of this machine and, in 2006, they found the old blueprints and decided to revive the monster.

One bolt after another, the Red Pig came to life looking exactly the same as it did in 1971. Even though it is not the original car, the 2006 Red Pig showed us how to properly resurrect an icon.

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Comments (8)

  • Just saw this post, and although it was already mentioned that it’s in Munich right now I just wanted to add this shot of the mad beast 😁.

      9 months ago
  • Those tires were just preposterously wide.

      9 months ago
  • MercedesMe @ Odeonplatz Munich

      9 months ago
  • I saw a red pig look a like car at my brothers work, yes it was a 300sel, this was in Australia though... Can't see it ending up here.

      9 months ago
  • It's AUFRECHT,not Aulfrecht

      9 months ago
    • My mistake. Fixed it. Thanks for pointing that out

        9 months ago
    • Thanks for the celebration of the ONE which started the LEGEND

        9 months ago
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