Hubert Burda Media

AMG 300 SEL 6.8: Pigs Really Can Fly!

A Mercedes motorsport legend pays a brief visit to Hong Kong.

AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz that was founded as a small independent outfit by a pair of former company engineers in 1967, marks its 50th anniversary this year. And to celebrate the occasion, Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong is displaying one of AMG’s most famous cars at its Mercedes me store-cum-restaurant in Central on June 17-23.

Nicknamed Rote Sau (German for “red pig”), the monster AMG 300 SEL 6.8 racing saloon achieved a surprising overall second place, as well as a class win, in the 24-hour race at the classic Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in July 1971, where it was competing against much lighter and nimbler machinery. As that car was subsequently much modified by its later owner (the French aerospace company Matra, which used it as a high-speed testbed for landing gear), Mercedes-AMG engineers set about building an exact replica of the 428-horsepower SEL 6.8, which they first exhibited at the Geneva motor show in 2007.

As befits such a magnificent machine, the AMG’s huge V8 engine makes an Earth-shattering racket. Although that noise is unlikely to be heard during the SEL’s seven-day Mercedes me residency, local petrol heads will at least get ample opportunity to feast their eyes on this glorious old-school racer.