The products of Mercedes-AMG are hugely impressive. The C63 is a true dynamic rival to the M3, and arguably a better all-round performance car. The AMG GT is, in some guises, a sports car that can go toe-to-toe with the Porsche 911. Affalterbach is even making an F1-powered hypercar in the form of the One.
It hasn’t always been like that, however. Once upon a time, AMG was known primarily for stuffing huge engines in ordinary Mercedes and not always providing the chassis mods needed to ensure the rest of the car kept up. It was a purveyor if brilliantly silly hot rods that have their own appeal. And few cars demonstrate this ethos as successfully as the ‘Hammer’.
Devised a few years before AMG became officially recognised by Mercedes in 1992 and over a decade before Stuttgart became the majority owner of the concern, the Hammer is an old-school bruiser. The affectionate nickname encompasses all of AMG’s big engine options for the W124, covering the saloon, estate and the CE two-door coupe.
5.0, 5.6 and 6.0-litre V8 engine swaps were on the menu. The car you see here had the 6.0-litre option, and was one of only 12 AMG-breathed CEs specced thusly.
This gives it 375bhp and 400lb ft, all of which is sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed automatic gearbox pinched from an S-Class along with the big V8. It’ll crack 0-62mph in five seconds dead and top out a little beyond 186mph - true supercar territory at the time of the CE Hammer’s release.
There were some attempts to contain that power with a lowered chassis and a mechanical limited-slip differential, but make no mistake - this is an overpowered car. And that’s the appeal.
This particular example is part of the famed Youngtimer Collection from which we’ve featured a few cars already. Despite being a 1992 car, it wasn’t until 1995 that this Hammer was registered in Japan. One of only 12 6.0-litre CE Hammers, it lived in the country until being exported to the Netherlands in 2014 and resprayed in black. The current owner snapped it up in 2017.
The Hammer - which has just 75,100 kilometres on the clock - will go under the, erm, hammer on 24 October at an RM Sotheby’s sale in London.