Although most people never see the end of days for their car’s engine, its demise is inevitable. A very well maintained engine can go hundreds of thousands of miles, but eventually, it will slowly wear, lose power and need a rebuild. Piston rings loosen up creating blow by, valves stop sealing well, and oil pressure can begin to drop from larger bearing tolerances. Some engines last longer than others, and in my latest video on the LegitStreetCar YouTube channel, I wanted to see how much power a hand-built Mercedes AMG engine would lose after 178,000 hard, probably not maintained miles.
My test subject was what I believe to be the “World’s Cheapest AMG Car.” I bought my 1999 Mercedes C43 AMG for only $200 with a clean title. I drove it 25 miles home with no issues and did a few minor repairs like a new radiator and fan, fixed a couple of transmission leaks, that’s about it. I didn’t even do a tune-up, change out the air filters or even change the oil.
I took this cosmetically challenged, but once awesome AMG car to Performance Solutions in Schaumburg Illinois to use their Dynojet Dyno. We made three pulls back to back, and the numbers were amazing. The car made an average of 230 wheel horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. Considering a 20% drivetrain loss and that this car made 302 horsepower and 302 lb-ft of torque new, these were great results. From my calculations, the car only lost about 15 horsepower over its very tough 19-year life. That little amount of power could surely be made up by replacing some basic maintenance items, but I wanted to see what this car could do without investing much money.
Not sure what’s next for this old AMG car, but it’s definitely not an engine rebuild. She has at least another 178,000 miles in her.