There wouldn’t be any AMG without him! Hans-Werner Aufrecht has just turned 78 and it’s the right time to remember his entire memorable career. The story starts decades ago, even before Hans-Werner Aufrecht founded the company in 1967.
Maybe his name doesn’t ring a bell. He has always been the man in the shade. “I am the A in the AMG”, he proudly says. The A stands for Aufrecht, the M stands for Melcher (Erhard Melcher started the company with him) and the G as in Großaspach (his birthplace). Hans-Werner Aufrecht started out with a vision of building racing engines and then, later on, of providing road vehicles, tailored by the shape and power of the racing ones.
His passion for motorsport turned into the foundation of an unique brand. Once he finished University, he enrolled in the Mercedes-Benz company as a dynamometer engineer in the racing department. But soon after that, Mercedes pulled out of racing. For Aufrecht, this was not going to be the end, but the beginning. Together with fellow engineer Erhard Melcher, in total secrecy, Aufrecht prepared a Mercedes 300 SE to join the German racing championship in 1965. The car won the title that year, but the driver, Manfred Schiek, became a posthumous champion. He had died in a terrible crash in Tour d’Europe, near the city of Prague.
Two years later, in 1967, they put the base for the AMG company.
But 1971 was the year everyone heard about AMG. The heavy boxy luxury sedan, AMG Mercedes 300 SEL, with a 6.8 liter engine nicknamed “The Red Pig”, finished first in its class and second overall, in the 24 Hours of Spa and, naturally, it caused a big sensation.
In 1976, outgrowing their headquarters in Burgstall an der Murr, near Stuttgart, part of the company moved to Affalterbach, with 40 employees.
In 1990, Daimler-Benz AG and AMG signed a contract of cooperation, allowing AMG to leverage Daimler-Benz’s extensive dealer network and leading to commonly developed vehicles. On January 1st, 1999, DaimlerChrysler, as it was called between 1998 and 2007, acquired 51 percent of the AMG shares and AMG was renamed Mercedes-AMG GmbH. Racing engine development was divested and continues to exist in Burgstall, under the name of HWA (Aufrecht’s initials).
On January 1st, 2005, Aufrecht sold his remaining shares to DaimlerChrysler and, since then, Mercedes-AMG GmbH has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG
In 1993, the first car jointly developed, the C 36 AMG was launched, with 280 HP and 385 Nm of torque. It may sound quite modest for the present. But it was just the beginning.
Sixteen years later, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, in September 2009, the first car completely engineered by AMG, saw the light of day under the name of SLS AMG Coupe. It featured a naturally aspirated 6.2 liter V8 engine and – what seemed to be a jaw dropping at that time – the gullwing doors.
And in September 2014, AMG launched the second car developed from scratch, named AMG GT. This car is much cheaper than the SLS AMG and it represents another milestone in the Mercedes-AMG history, because under the hood, there is the completely new biturbo 4.0 liter V8 engine, which will replace, on a medium-term, the current 5.5 liter V8 bi-turbo engine.
Nowadays, the brilliant engineer, as a member of the supervisory board in the 1 000-employee Mercedes-AMG GmbH plant in Affalterbach, is only keeping an eye on the business. He reserves most of his time for the DTM. He actually revived the competition in 2000, by new rules and regulations that brought up the show on the racetrack.
Awarded with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2000, he has been married for almost 40 years with Roswitha and has two daughers, Pia-Luise and Eva-Maria, both working with horses. But not horse power.
Photo source: Mercedes-AMG