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Who says you can’t build a 600 horsepower luxury sedan that runs an 11 second quarter mile while massaging your rear end? Well, truth is, today no one says you can’t. Factory cars are getting faster and faster every year and it is getting pretty discouraging these days to modify an older car with go fast parts. I mean, why do all that work when you can just go buy a new Hellcat, AMG, or M series from BMW and go fast with a warranty?

The answer is money. Have you seen what some of these new luxury performance sedans cost? The BMW M5 and Mercedes E63 are pushing $100,000 with options. The cheapest of the bunch is the Hellcat Charger, but that’s still about $70,000. All of a sudden, it seems pretty reasonable to buy an old luxury four door and just start throwing parts at it.


That’s exactly what I’m doing with my 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG that I picked up for $9,000 in great condition. My goal is to be $15,000 all in, including the cost of the car. In my state of Illinois, that’s a little more than the tax you’d pay on the average new Mercedes AMG car.  The latest video on LegitStreetCars, kicks off the build on my E55 with a new front mount Heat Exchanger from Victory Road Performance.

This car has a factory supercharger that works with an air to water intercooler. In order to get cold water to the intercooler, a heat exchanger is mounted up front with an electronic pump. The idea behind a larger, more efficient exchanger is to further cool the water/coolant mix that goes through the intercooler. This in turn lowers the temperature of the air going into the engine. A colder denser air charge contains more oxygen molecule and forces the car’s computer to add more fuel to the mix. More air, more fuel, more power. Furthermore, as intake air temps increase, the car’s computer will begin to pull ignition timing and reduce power output. You don’t want that at all as just a few degrees of timing can cost you about 30-40 horsepower.

The install goes fairly well except I discovered my air conditioning condenser was totally clogged up with dirt. The E55 is equipped with two power steering coolers. They are mounted directly on the condenser so if they leak any oil, it’s going to attract a ton of dirt. That is exactly what happened so a couple of new o-rings for those coolers are in order.

In the video, you see how I properly cleaned out all the oil coolers on the car, including the air conditioning condenser. I mount the heat exchanger and we talk about other go fast goodies that are going on in part 2 of the build.

Can’t wait.

Related: Restore, race or junk: Decision time for the $200 C43 AMG

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