First Factory: 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG 51K – $24,000

by | Apr 2024 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

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Over the years, a number of specialty automotive tuning houses made a name for themselves by providing high performance versions of production cars. Here in the U.S., arguably the most famous example is Carroll Shelby and the high performance Mustangs that bear his name.  In Germany, Aufrecht, Melcher, Großaspach, better known simply as “AMG,” earned a reputation for hand-built high-performance Mercedes-Benz special editions.  In addition to body, chassis, and interior upgrades, AMG installed hand-built high-performance motors, famously signed and numbered by the builder in each example.

Founded as an independent engineering firm in 1967, the company worked independently providing upgrades for various Mercedes-Benz products. Through the 1970s and 1980s, well-heeled Mercedes enthusiasts ordered a new Benz and then had it shipped to AMG for a conversion that featured high engine performance packages, alloy wheels, and styling products.  The Automotive press took notice and AMG soon earned an almost mythical following among Mercedes enthusiasts.  Mercedes management was also intrigued by AMG’s growing halo brand cachet. By 1993, Daimler-Benz AG and AMG signed a contract of cooperation, where AMG could now offer their vehicles through Daimler-Benz’s extensive dealer network.

By the late 1990s this partnership was not enough for Mercedes Management.  This eventually expanded to AMG and Mercedes-Benz engineers working together to develop new AMG-badged high performance models.  The first such model developed in that collaboration was the W202 C-Class based AMG, available in either four-door sedan or Estate (station wagon) body styles. The first version, launched in 1995, was the C36 AMG. This car featured a high performance inline-six as a competitive response to BMW’s M3. With approximately 280 horsepower on tap, the C36 accelerated from zero-to-sixty in just under six seconds.

The partnership was such a success that AMG released an even better flagship for the W202 C-Class for the 1998 model year.  The new C43 AMG featured a 306 horsepower 4.3 Liter V8.  The C43 AMG has the distinction of being the first AMG car completely assembled at the Mercedes factory following the acquisition of AMG by DaimlerChrysler earlier that year.  The W202 C43 became the first Mercedes-Benz C-Class powered by a V8.  AMG produced 4,200 C43s for its short three model year production run, with approximately eight percent being sedans and the balance estates.

Finding a C43 AMG for sale is a rare occurence. The ones that do come up for sale often feature very high mileage and multiple owner histories in various states of condition.  This Sliver 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG For Sale, first spotted on Craigslist in Boston, Massachusetts in April 2024, bucks that trend.  Specifically, this example for sale features only 50,500 original miles. The current caretaker since 2007 also notes that their C43 AMG for sale has always been garaged and that he has most of the car’s service history receipts.

Currently offered for $24,000, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is well above this guide’s six-month results for all W202 C43 AMG Sedans produced between 1998 and 2000.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $27,300 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $40,500 before making significant adjustments for the 400 engine (35%) and a deduction for the three-speed manual (-8%).

The 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG is a performance-oriented variant of the W202 C-Class sedan, developed and produced by the renowned Mercedes-AMG division. As the first collaboration between Mercedes and AMG on a V8-powered C-Class, the C43 AMG represents a significant milestone in the history of high-performance luxury sedans. Let’s delve into its technical intricacies, spanning its engine, transmission, chassis, and design.

At the heart of the C43 AMG lies a potent powertrain engineered to deliver exhilarating performance. Under the hood resides a hand-built, naturally aspirated 4.3-liter V8 engine, meticulously crafted by AMG’s skilled technicians. This powerplant epitomizes the AMG philosophy of “one man, one engine,” where each unit is assembled by a single technician, signifying a commitment to precision and quality. With an output of approximately 302 horsepower and 302 lb-ft of torque, this V8 propels the C43 AMG from 0 to 60 mph in just under 6 seconds, showcasing its formidable acceleration capabilities.

Complementing the robust engine is a refined transmission system designed to optimize power delivery and enhance driving dynamics. The C43 AMG features a five-speed automatic transmission with AMG SpeedShift technology, enabling rapid gear changes and seamless transitions between gears. Additionally, the transmission incorporates adaptive programming that adjusts shift patterns based on driving conditions and driver inputs, ensuring an engaging and responsive driving experience across a variety of scenarios.

The C43 AMG’s performance prowess extends beyond its powertrain to its chassis and suspension systems, engineered to deliver exceptional handling and stability. The chassis employs a combination of lightweight materials and strategic reinforcements to enhance rigidity and reduce weight, thereby improving agility and responsiveness. Furthermore, the suspension system is tuned by AMG’s engineers to strike a balance between sporty handling and refined comfort, providing precise steering feedback and confident cornering capabilities without compromising ride quality.

In terms of design, the C43 AMG exhibits a sporty yet elegant aesthetic that distinguishes it from its standard C-Class counterparts. Exterior enhancements include AMG-specific styling cues such as distinctive bodywork, aerodynamic enhancements, and signature AMG alloy wheels, all of which contribute to its dynamic appearance and commanding presence on the road. Inside the cabin, the C43 AMG boasts a luxurious yet performance-oriented interior featuring premium materials, ergonomic design, and advanced technology. From supportive sport seats and carbon fiber trim to a multifunction steering wheel and state-of-the-art infotainment system, every aspect of the interior reflects AMG’s commitment to craftsmanship and innovation.

Safety and technology are also paramount in the C43 AMG, with a comprehensive suite of features designed to enhance driver confidence and vehicle security. Advanced safety systems such as ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), traction control, and stability control work in tandem to mitigate risks and prevent accidents, while passive safety features including airbags and reinforced body structure provide additional protection in the event of a collision. Moreover, the C43 AMG incorporates cutting-edge technology such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring to further assist drivers and mitigate potential hazards on the road.

The 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG embodies the pinnacle of performance, luxury, and craftsmanship, representing a timeless icon in the realm of high-performance luxury sedans. With its potent V8 engine, responsive transmission, agile chassis, and sophisticated design, the C43 AMG delivers an exhilarating driving experience that continues to captivate enthusiasts and drivers alike.

The MotorWeek Retro Review YouTube Channel features this 1998 Review of the then-new 1998 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG:

Based on the pictures, this silver over black 1999 Mercedes Benz C43 AMG for sale appears to be a low-mileage, well-maintained, and garage kept survivor quality example.  We would ask for pictures of the truck, undercarriage, and engine bay to confirm those are just as clean and rust free as what’s shown in the ten pictures provided.

If you are serious about buying this rare V8-powered C-Class Mercedes, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their C43 AMG featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1999 Mercedes Benz C43 AMG, 50,500 miles Silver/Black, second owner since 2007, always garaged, 305HP V8, 5 speed auto, A/C, leather, sunroof, halogens. Gently driven and well maintained. Most service records since new. Books, manuals, tool kit, build sheet, it’s all here. Looks and run great. A very clean car. Asking $24,000 or bro.

Show or go: What would you do with this survivor-quality silver 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

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