Art is King! AMG – One man. One engine


I have found it to be quite easy to chase scale and neglect quality. Abandon the soul of what you do in order to make much more of it. Make more money. And come to think of it, why the hell not?

You do it for money, chances are. Most people do. So it seems to be the only plausible choice of action.

Or not.

For some people, they do what they do for far more than making money. Some do it to make themselves happy. And others do it for the generosity they have — so they feel the need to transfer that energy through their products and services.

Right in the middle of Affalterbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where the headquarters are, magic is produced through motor engines.

AMG was founded by former Mercedes Benz engineers, Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher. So, the letters “AMG” stand for Aufrecht, Melcher and Großaspach (Aufrecht’s birth town).

“AMG has changed the game.

From the beginning, the “One Man, One Engine” philosophy has guided Mercedes-AMG’s approach to manufacturing. Even now, every Mercedes-AMG engine is hand-built from start to finish by one Mercedes-AMG master engine builder in a special facility. 

As the final step in the assembly process, the engine builder affixes a plaque engraved with his signature to the engine cover. It’s an enduring reminder that even the heart of a Mercedes-AMG has a heart and soul.”

In the words of racer, engine builder and quite frankly, an artist, Michael Kübler.

It seems to have become his mantra, I love this insight from Mike: some things cannot be mass-produced.

Now, please allow me to deviate just a little.

I have had conversations with friends about parties. More specifically, street parties. So, in Soweto, there once was such a get-together every 16 December. The street would be jam-packed, to a point where it was unusable by motorists. To a point where it became normal to take alternative routes on the day.

People attended, became part of the experience once, and often couldn’t wait to tell more people about it. No local radio marketing or anything of that sort to spread it. There was something special about going there.

Until a certain point, and then it plummeted! For one simple reason: Magesta (the guy who started the movement) saw an opportunity to cash in. So he moved it to a local hall and charged people an entrance fee.

He killed its essence. He didn’t realise that some things can’t be corporatised. That once you do, you lose the flair. The soul, the authenticity — they become soul-less experiences.

Image credit: Michael Kübler | Instagram (@f1Mike28)

With all this said, I think it is wise to think about these things:

What is your passion, your vice? Are you comfortable with making it for every person who’ll express interest in buying it? Or, for a certain type of people?

Their passion at Mercedes Benz-AMG is hand-crafted, superior engine performance. The cars are special, their engines have a unique exhaust burble that takes numerous hours to produce.

Being an artist at one’s trade, connection, humanity, soul and intent matter greatly. I think that’s precisely the reason why one man per engine can touch a racer’s heart un-limitlessly (is that a word?)