The first AMG Americans could buy from a Mercedes-Benz dealership was a joint project between both companies, although production was completed before Mercedes took 51-percent ownership. With a bored and stroked 3.6-liter DOHC 24-valve inline six, a Bose surround sound system, brakes from a V12 SL600, and a tight suspension, it set the standard for MB performance in a reserved, sophisticated package. It also set the standard for depreciating AMG products; costing $50,000 in 1995 dollars, most examples can be cross-shopped today with 100k-mile Hyundais. Find this 1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG for sale in Farmingville, NY for $3,500 via craigslist.
Today’s AMG shopper can opt for multiple drive train and layout options. Not so in 1995. The C36 AMG came as a 268-horsepower 3.6-liter, four-speed automatic (which gained another gear in 1997), rear-drive sedan. You want a V8? You have to wait. Until 1998. Top speed was limited to 155-mph, but 170 is supposedly attainable with the governator
Zero to 60 comes and goes in about 6.4 seconds. Skidpad and slalom numbers are equally impressive, at 0.87 and 68.3, respectively, according to Motor Trend. The steering rack gives better feel than any recirculating-ball unit should, and is quicker and stronger than the base C-class unit’s.
Apparently Monoblocks are supposed to speak for themselves, and additional copy isn’t a requisite for a 20-year-old German performance sedan. At least the pictures show a clean body with a well-kept interior. But maintenance costs and an underdeveloped listing aren’t keeping you from this car: the transmission is. No overworked engine with DTM-inspired forged pistons and variable valve timing should be shackled by the control of a computer. And yet, this is the legacy Mercedes has left for us. Without the option of shifting for yourself, this early AMG is less of a canyon-carving E36 M3 competitor, and more of a point-and-shoot coddle rocket.
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