Theme: Special – Too Special or Not Special Enough?

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to ask yourself “Do I feel special? Well, do ya, Punk?”

Special. Image: Mercedes-AMG
Special. Image: Mercedes-AMG

If we ignore the Citroen 2CV for a moment, Special (in automotive terms at least) has generally meant more. More equipment, more individuality, more value. But for some that’s not enough. The statement is the thing. Some of us will recall the era of Rude Mercs, those bespoilered, beskirted, altered images of Bruno Sacco’s finest; as emblematic of an Eighties we’d prefer to forget as Stock Aitkin & Waterman, Huey Lewis and the News and the Westland affair. Fashions change, the world turns and for all I know Huey Lewis may well be hawking his flaccid wares somewhere as I write. (I’m sure he’s a nice man by the way, but some things you can never forgive). 

But automotive fashion hasn’t really changed, so news that Mercedes is offering AMG factory-supported DIY enhancement packages shouldn’t surprise anyone, even if it does mean we really can no longer justifiably throw stones directly at the aftermarket. Yet isn’t there something not only slightly déclassé but more than a little passé about all this?

Since 2015, the AMG-Sport arm of the Sindelfingen car giant’s marketing department has been offering German customers the opportunity to sex up their C-Class’ with injudicious use of moulded plastic accoutrements of questionable aesthetic (and possibly material) quality. Now, they’re rolling out a similar set of sill extensions, diffusers and body stripes through selected ranges; the A and CLA-Class lines being the latest worthy recipients. Your A-Class AMG-Line a little too timid looking? We have just what you require madam.

Even more special. Image:Mercedes- AMG
Even more special. Image:Mercedes- AMG

Side sill extensions cost €790 each – [note: you will need two]. A front splitter and rear diffuser will set you back €470 each, while the rear three-quarter faux-air extractor thingys will extract another €185 from your bank account, although it’s unclear how many that gets you. (€185 sounds a lot for just one – but money, old rope etc). Anyway, you’ve frittered away the best part of €2900, so what’s another few Euro’s? It’s all meaningless without the AMG-Sport stripe anyway; €200 being the required stipend for something that looks like a five year old’s accident with a magic marker.

I distantly recall Vauxhall offering something similar for the Corsa during the mid-eighties, which doesn’t feel too far off where Daimler are now in reach and ambition. Should we care? You could argue it’s good business; they’re as entitled to part the credulous from their savings as any aftermarket emboldener. But for those of us who care about Mercedes’ ongoing fall from grace, the bottom of the barrel appears to be developing unfathomable depths. Does anyone know the way back from here?

So, just how special do you feel now, Punk? Image:businessinsider
So, just how special do you feel now, Punk? Image:businessinsider

By the way, even I find the Dirty Harry link a mite tenuous, but in the absence of a better one I’ve decided to run with it. Sorry.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founding Editor. Content Provider.

8 thoughts on “Theme: Special – Too Special or Not Special Enough?”

  1. My memory when I first encountered the Rude Mercs forecourt whilst driving up Cambridge Heath Road in London was amused outrage. Why would anyone want to do that to the dignified and restrained conveyances that were 80s Mercedes? I seem to remember one that had an added zero, to read 5000SL (in gold of course) as though that, in itself, made it better (see Spinal Tap). In hindsight they were harmless fun, far more so than a pimped up AMGmobile. Incidentally, Rude Mercs was replaced by Figarude. What do they sell? Go figaro.

  2. Yes the original uber powerful Mercs were only discernable by a bootlid badge that said either 6.3 or 6.9 (which was often removed) and wheels that had a diameter a modest half inch greater than standard. Now even a 1.5 petrol can look as anabolically disfigured as a modified 20 year old saxo.

    1. Yes there were a few amg versions for racing purposes but they weren’t available at your local dealer (amg was an independent tuner at the time). Not really the same thing.

    1. That reminds me, the new Mad Max film has popped up on Now TV. I will have to watch it again before cancelling my subscription (filthy Uncle Rupe has enough money already, without me adding to it).

  3. Well done Mercedes for capturing a slice of the aftermarket market. My feeling is that the main customer for this product line will be waiting eight or ten years before purchase. Will customers of brand new cars really want this?

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