Mercedes-Benz AMG Baby Hammer Is a Dream Fulfilled
Owner and photographer: Arnold Panganiban
Year, Make, and Model: Mercedes-Benz 190E 3.2 AMG
Location: Santa Clarita, California, USA
Back around 1988, as a young car enthusiast, I use to go to Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories (used to be the Authorized AMG dealer/shop, pre-merger) to ogle and admire their showroom cars. During that time they had the AMG-tuned Hammers (W124s with wide body and 6L AMG Tuned engines), and a “Baby Hammer” (W201 body with full AMG kit and wheels with a 3.2L AMG Tuned engine). I knew about them because I read about them in car magazines (I still have all the articles) and used to visit every week just to look at their cars… the cars I read about! I was most interested in the Baby Hammer because it was the cheapest (you know what they say, “baby steps,” not that I could afford it). I loved looking at those cars back then so much that I literally have dreamed that I had owned the Baby Hammer with my own personalized license plate of AMG 3.2L.
I have always been a car enthusiast since I was a boy back in the Philippines. An uncle that I adored would take me with him wherever he went and whatever he did. He loves cars and used to fix them up and race them. I learned to appreciate and love cars the way he did, and as I grew up I started fixing and racing cars as well.
In 1993, a few years after my frequent encounters with the Baby Hammer, I became a respiratory therapist and worked the night shift at Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar, CA. During my down time I always looked at the LA Times automotive section used-car ads and a one liner ad caught my attention: it read “190E 3.2 AMG $18,500”. Curiosity overwhelmed me.
As soon as I got off work, I called the number and asked the owner about the car and she confirmed that that was the BHMA Baby Hammer. That very same day, without sleeping, I went to see the car in one of the affluent neighborhoods in Pasadena’s hills. I was really nervous, anxious, and encited about the car. Imagine, the car of my dreams!
As I drove into the huge driveway, I was surprised to be greeted by a college-aged girl. She showed me the car and I was just floored! My dream car!!! It looked just like as it had in 1988! She told me that it was a high school graduation present from her dad and now that she had graduated college, her dad gave her an SL500 (not too shabby!).
To make a long story short, I was able to negotiate and bought the car the very next day! Unfortunately my ideal personalized plates were taken, so I had to settle with 30 AMG.
I love everything about the Baby Hammer, have been in love with it since 1988, and still in love with it. This car is the only car that never stalled on me!
It’s a regular 190E body, fitted with a full AMG body kit, AMG wheels, 3.2 liter AMG tuned engine, and full Zebrano wood interior. I’ve kept the car the same as it was in the showroom. I love it just the way it is and it will stay that way.
The car is generally in great shape and was recently painted (two years ago) by a friend from Valencia European body shop. Everything else is original, including the interior floor mats.
I daily drove this car from 1996 to about 2012 when I had it repainted. Never once has it stalled on me. Now, I usually drive it on weekends when I occasionally sneak off to Santa Clarita’s hills. It’s just pure satisfaction when I drive this car, pure joy that is hard to explain.
It’s probably one of a kind and I’m proud that it has been featured in major car magazines like Road & Track, Automobile, Auto Week, and now Petrolicious.
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