It’s been nearly 50 years since the original race-prepped 300 SEL rolled on to the starting grid for the first time, but Rote Sau, AMG’s legendary ‘Red Pig’ lives on in automotive folklore. Even better, thanks to a handful of engineers and wrenches at the Mercedes Classic Center, a close relative has been born in recent years.
At Monterey Car Week’s Legends of the Autobahn show this year, I got to meet Silber Sau, which is basically Mercedes’ idea of a good time. A roaring 6.7L tribute to the original, a car that took first in class and second overall at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours in 1971 despite being based on a production vehicle roughly the size and weight of a barge.
I know home-brewed replicas and other Red Pig-inspired builds exist, but there’s something a bit special when the original manufacturer themselves recognizes that the world could use another.
No holds have barred, either, and this period mash-up breathes the spirit of that original AMG racer. The funny deconstructed front end, the bulging fenders, and a stripped-down interior that still features just enough Mercedes trim to remind you what you’re sitting in.
Without a doubt this is an upgraded and modern take on the car, but the Mercedes Classic Center didn’t take things too far in either direction. The originality of the car doesn’t take away from it, and neither does the current hardware that’s in place. It’s perfectly balanced, as all things should be.
Especially when you pop the hood…
Most importantly, Mercedes got the power-plant just right. The 6.3L M100 V8 has been stroked out to 6.7L, and a four downdraft Weber carburetors sit atop the engine in place of the Bosch fuel injection setup. Eight velocity stacks are the icing on the cake.
The car now produces over 400 horsepower and around 450 lb-ft of torque, which should get this thing moving along very nicely.
It’s one of those cars that draws you in, and it’s pretty easy to stand and stare.
I’m glad I made it along to Legends of the Autobahn early enough to get some photos of the Silber Sau before it was swarmed with attendees, and I’m sure everyone was as pleasantly surprised by the 6.7L monster as I was.
It’s a modern recipe of an important slice of racing history. Hats off to Mercedes for this one.
Trevor Yale Ryan