It all began back in early 1986 when AMG shoehorned the big 5.0 litre V8 from the W126 S-Class into a W124 200 saloon and tuned it to create the AMG Hammer. The V8 formula in this encouragingly fast Q-car soon grew in capacity and output until it ended up with 6.0 litres and 385hp.
Hammer is a wonderfully descriptive name for a car that could basically nail any potential rival in its time. As this was the era before high performance saloons such as BMW’s M5 the AMG Hammer went around nailing supercars with the prancing horse or fighting bull emblem on their bonnets.
The AMG Hammer came in several engine incarnations starting with 5.0, 5.2, 5.4 and 5.6 litres, and culminated with the 5,956cc 6.0 litre European version tested here that made 385hp with 566Nm (417lb-ft) of torque. Even with the optional taller 2.24:1 final drive, it clocked 5.7 seconds for the 0-60mph sprint, and 13.6 seconds through the quarter mile with a 109.5mph (176.2km/h) terminal speed. Top speed was 289km/h (180mph).
The most famous Hammer was based on the W124 four-door saloon, which achieved 303km/h (188mph) under test. While AMG has one in their collection, their current test car is this much rarer Coupe variant, which is of course the more enticing looking car thanks to its overtly extended wheel arch flares and larger footwear.
The wheel arches were extended to take 8.5J and 10.0J x 17-inch AMG three-piece alloys wrapped in 235/45ZR17 and 265/40ZR17 tyres, the wider rear wheels being a big help to stability. Owners could have the wheels in silver, chromed (in the US) or with the centres colour-coded to the body colour.
The naturally aspirated four-cam V8 has a spread of power and torque and a willingness to rev that is entirely alien to the mass production M117 motor on which it is based.