Mercedes-AMG has expanded so rapidly in recent years that one could argue that some of its models have become a little too commonplace. Rewind to the 1980s, however, and owning a vehicle tuned by AMG was something very special.
Long before Mercedes-Benz acquired a 50 per cent stake of AMG in 1999 and then took full control of it in 2005, this particular 500 SL AMG 5.0 was sold and imported into the United States by Classic Motors, a shop in Chicago that played an important role in the expansion of AMG.
This particular 500 SL is said to be the first of eight examples built for North America while equipped with a five-speed manual transmission. It was ordered by a buyer from Naples, Florida in 1981 and benefits from a host of upgrades over a standard SL.
Read: Mercedes-AMG’s Bright Yellow GT 63 S E Was Designed With Tennis Legend Roger Federer
AMG made a host of important modifications to the 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8, including fitted ported and polished cylinder heads with solid mechanical intake valve lifts as well as a set of AMG camshafts. The engine also benefits from a modified air intake system that saw it pump out 276 hp, an impressive figure considering the most powerful non-AMG SL of the day delivered 204 hp through its 3.8-liter V8.
Coupled to this engine is a close-ratio five-speed manual transmission sourced from Getrag that drives the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential. Further aiding in the car’s performance is suspension from Bilstein as well as a set of lightweight 16-inch BBS wheels wrapped in sticky Kumho tires. Adding to the car’s desirability are the Recaro seats clad in Palomino leather.
RM Sotheby’s will auction off the car during its Miami sales event on December 10. The listing reveals that the car has had three owners since 1985 and been driven 113,313 miles (182,359 km) since new.