Mercedes-AMG celebrates 50th-anniversary win at 24 Hours of Spa with three GT3 cars

Before Mercedes-AMG came to fruition, what was then known as simply AMG started life building a racing engine for the 300 SEL 6.3 sedan. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL already has a potent 6.3-liter V8 derived from the W100 Mercedes 600 flagship sedan in stock form. But for Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher, founders of AMG, the 6.3-liter V8 mill's 247 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque were not enough.

Aufrecht and Melcher increased the motor's displacement from 6.3 to 6.8-liters, enough to pump out 428 horsepower and 448 pound-feet of torque. The car also underwent a weight loss program to make the most of its newfound power. But despite this, it was still the heaviest car on the grid when it debuted at the 1971 24 Hours of Spa. Hence, the Red Pig was born, a racing version of the iconic 300 SEL and AMG's first-ever racing car.

The Red Pig went on to secure a second-place win in its first-ever professional race. Fifty years on, Mercedes-AMG is celebrating its historic success by unveiling three unique GT3 cars wearing the Red Pig's livery, including a revival of the gorgeous SLS AMG GT3 gullwing.

The limited-edition models collectively known as the 50 Years Legend of Spa include a 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and a 2020 GT3. According to Mercedes-AMG, the SLS AMG took the final and only available body shell from its warehouse to build the SLS AMG GT3 Fifty Years Legend of Spa. Last sold in 2015, it's nice to see the SLS wearing some vintage racing colors.

"The special editions recall one of the most important milestones in AMG's corporate history," said Jochen Hermann, technical managing director, MercedesAMG GmbH. "Technically and optically, they are highlights, there is no doubt about that. And the exclusivity of the three cars is really extraordinary."

The Fifty Years Legend of Spa collection is a one-off, which means only one of each is in existence. All three vehicles are wearing red paint with original numbers and sponsors on the decals. Other goodies include a carbon-fiber instrument panel, Graphic Metallic Matt trimmings on the interior, commemorative plaques, and a high-performance exhaust system.

All three limited-edition GT3 cars feature an AMG-tuned 6.3-liter V8 engine pumping out 650 horsepower. We have no word yet on pricing, but each vehicle will be delivered without FIA homologation.