1995 Mercedes C36 AMG
For many years I had appreciated the vastly underrated Mercedes C36 AMG. Fortunately this also means under valued and in 2013 I began casually looking for a suitable car.
I was quite open to what I would consider, being a compulsive tinkerer I was happy to look at cars that needed a little work, specification and history were more relevant to me. With work commitments and motor racing the searching came and went until mid 2014 when I realised the shallow pool of available cars were getting shallower, even more so as I only wanted a Silver one and asking prices were beginning to climb.
I looked at more than I cared to recall, late 2014 a nice 1995 C36 AMG appeared on one of the classic car for sale sites, the price was at the upper end of the asking prices, but it had low miles and good history, what it did not have was many options, even down to it still having cloth trim.
Though I dismissed it on specification, it did become my benchmark to judge other cars against. My search continued but I kept coming back to this car. In the end I decided that the best course of action was to have a good crawl over it. The seller had known the car for several years and was only selling as he had purchased a nice R129 SL.
Apart from the odd stone chip it was in exceptional condition, far and away the best I had seen. Very original, even down to the correct period Blaupunkt stereo.
It was originally supplied by Ciceley Continental in Preston, Lancashire to the Warburtons Bakery company.
C36 AMG History
had been a well known and respected tuner, modifier and builder of race cars
since the late 1960’s.
Following a co-operation
agreement between Mercedes and AMG in the early 1990’s it paved the way for
AMG products to be available through Mercedes Benz dealers.
Though not a particularly well
known model, the C36 AMG can be considered the Grandfather of the current
crop of high performance AMG models.
The C36 AMG was the first model
that was developed by Mercedes-Benz in collaboration with AMG, as an
exclusive vehicle with full Mercedes-Benz warranty. The
base for the vehicle was the new C class W202 which had been introduced in May
1993 to replace the outgoing W201 190 series. Based on the C280 Sport, this was
taken partially built from the Mercedes Benz factory in Bremen to the AMG
factory at Affalterbach.
The six cylinder engine was
modified to 3.6Ltr. resulting in an impressive 276 Hp (AMG later conceded that
since the engine was hand-assembled, power outputs could vary slightly from
276Hp to 287Hp) with a peak of 385 Nm Torque. From 0-62Mph it took about 6
seconds and the top speed was electronically limited at 155Mph (250
Featuring lowered and uprated
suspension the C36 AMG also had further visual changes with its own front and
rear bumpers as well as side skirts along with faux Carbon Fibre on the B
pillars. The interior was differentiated by sport seats, AMG specific
instruments, AMG leather steering wheel, faux Carbon fibre effect (though USA
models had Wood effect) and many other gadgets that were included as
standard, such as electric sunroof, centre console and electric windows.
The brakes were also different
than standard C class models. On the front axle the big 320mm discs and
4 pot caliper brakes of the SL 600 were used, though later models received
cheaper sliding calipers, while on the rear the brakes of the E 420.
All the visual upgrades the C36
featured were also available as options on lesser C class models, so you could
dress up your poverty spec C180 to look like a 155mph AMG Autobahn Stormer
The introduction of the C36 AMG
did mark the beginning of an identifier that carries on to this day. Regular Mercedes models, even AMG sport line will be badged as a 3 digit number,
C350 for example, whereas a genuine full fat AMG will be badged as a 2 digit
number, C36, C43, C55 etc.
The production life of the C36
ran from 1994 to 1997, the run remaining pretty much unchanged except the change
from 4 speed to 5 speed Auto in 1996 along with some minor trim changes.
The C36 AMG was replaced by the
V8 engined C43 AMG for the 1998 model year.
It is estimated there were 5221
C36 AMGs built, of which 378 came to the UK
The first registered keeper was
Warburtons Bakery, it was the personal transport of Tom Warburton who had been
Co-Chairman of Warburtons in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Tom was a bit of a car
enthusiast and had raced Minis in the 1960’s and in later years Rallied Austin
Healeys in Historic Rallies.
By 1999 and just over 50k
miles, the C36 AMG moved to its second custodian who owned it for 15 years and
put just 30k miles on in that time. Reputedly never venturing out in the rain,
it led a charmed life.
2014 the car was doing very few
miles, the aging owner decided to find it a new home. The third
custodian had known the car for several years and being a Mercedes enthusiast
continued to pamper the C36. His ownership was quite short lived as a Mercedes
SL took his eye.
We purchased the C36 in April
2015 after looking for a suitable car for around 18 months.
The specification is quite
unusual. In addition to the standard factory specification, the vast majority of
C36’s were fitted with optional Leather trim, while ours retains the standard
cloth sport seats. It does have A/C, Cruise Control, Adjustable Column and
Electric Drivers Seat specified though along with the deletion of the Sunroof
(only possible if A/C was specified)
Radio/Stereo was not included
in your £40,000 basic purchase price. The optional audio range could be
factory fitted, dealer fitted or aftermarket fitted. Ours was dealer fitted and
it still retains its original Blaupunkt Pasadena DJ stereo.
222 - Right Front Seat,
240 - Outside Temperature
341 - Additional Blinker Lamps.
362 - Right Hand Drive.
420 - Automatic Transmission,
443 - TEMPOMAT (Cruise
Control), Adj. Steering Column.
461 - Instrument with Miles
Ind. & English Legend.
570 - Folding armrest front
w202/210 stowage box front with armrest.
586 - A/C and Electric Windows.
593 - All-round WD-Green Glass,
Heated Rear Window-ESG,BF.
613 - Lamp Unit - Asymmetrical,
655 - Sports Suspension with
Light Alloy Wheels, 5-hole.
668 - Packaging for
Shipping Vehicles with Tie-Down Hook.
673 - High-Capacity Battery.
772 - AMG Styling
Package—Front Spoiler, Side Skirt.
774 - Shell Modification for
776 - Wheel Covering for AMG 17
Wheels (only Export)
833 - Additional Parts for U.K.
956 - Equipment Package Sport.
957 - AMG Sport Package
984 - COC Doc., Deletion of
Vehicle Registration Doc.
744 - Metallic Silver.
601A - Schwartz Cloth.
are many 1990’s W202 C class Mercedes still providing sterling daily service
for their owners, and as the values of the W201 190 series rise, the W202 is
seen to be the next Modern Classic small Mercedes. With reliable running gear,
hard wearing interiors and inexpensive parts, they make an ideal alternative.
There is plenty of choice of engine size and trim to suit most tastes and
of the C36 AMG are also firming up, unfortunately the pool of available cars is
shallow, nice cars even more so. Like the BMW M3 they have been cheap enough to
attract the type of owner who have skimped on the maintenance made them look
like they have crashed into Halfords.
said, there are still nice cars out there and potentially for less than £5000
you may find a nice example that will hit 0-60 in
a tickle over 6 seconds and run all the way to the limited top speed of 155Mph.
Of the original 378(est.)
brought into the UK, the likes of “HowManyLeft.co.uk” claims there were 103
licensed and 71 registered on SORN by the end of 2014.
1995 New car prices
The C36 is often compared
against the BMW M3 in road tests, at the time when the C36 was a little under £40k,
the M3 was £34K. Some of the alternatives you could have had for your £40K(ish)
BMW 730i £40,700
BMW B10 Alpina £41,200
Jaguar XJS 4.0 £38,950
Mercedes E220 Cabriolet £38,550
Mercedes S280 £38,750
Porsche 968 £37,495
Or start your own budget car
rental with 10 Lada Riva's at £3995 each…