You may have heard of AMG, Mercedes-Benz's in-house performance tuner, but do you know how it came to be?

AMG has produced its own succinct history, detailing the brand's beginnings as independent company, its subsequent alliance with and absorption by Mercedes, and many of the great cars that emerged along the way.

It also explains what the letters "AMG" actually stand for. The next time you're in a trivia contest, let people know that they stand for Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher--the two ex-Mercedes engineers who founded the company--and Großaspach Germany, Aufrecht's birthplace.

The two founders say they carved a niche for themselves by listening to customer concerns that large OEMs ignored. However, AMG didn't really take off until its 6.8-liter V-8 Mercedes sedan--known as the Red Sow--won the 1971 24 Hours of Spa.

As an independent company, AMG built cars the factory wouldn't, including the legendary E-Class-based "Hammer" and even a version of the Mitsubishi Debonair, which was only distinguished by a hideous body kit.

AMG gradually developed a closer relationship with Mercedes, continuing to hot-rod its cars and, after 1988, managing the company's racing operations. In 1999, Mercedes parent Daimler became AMG's majority shareholder.

Since then, AMG has been tasked with flying the three-pointed star flag on the track, and producing a performance version of seemingly every Mercedes model. Currently, the range includes everything from the four-cylinder CLA45 AMG to the G63 AMG off-roader.

AMG even got to build its own road car, the recently-discontinued SLS AMG.

Today, AMG is synonymous with Mercedes performance, and it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon.


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