Reader Submissions: Mercedes-Benz AMG Baby Hammer Is a Dream Fulfilled

Mercedes-Benz AMG Baby Hammer Is a Dream Fulfilled

By Petrolicious Productions
December 1, 2014
26 comments

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.

Want to see your vintage car on Petrolicious? Click here for more information.

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Tony Lynch
Tony Lynch
2 years ago

Just love this car very expensive to buy today.The best I have is w201 Sportline 190e with pre merger amg steering wheel and Monoblock amg rims. Would love an original amg body kit and 3.2 engine.

Giancarlo
Giancarlo
5 years ago

Zebrano wood interior was a rare optional on 90′ Mercedes?

gwg
gwg
5 years ago

What a gorgeous car! Interesting AMG modifications of the M103 in the engine bay as well. What is that silver tube going to the air filter attached to – just an opening in the front to let in extra air?

hamza mamouri
hamza mamouri
5 years ago

nice care

Bret William Caldwell
Bret William Caldwell
7 years ago

this makes meh happy actually i never heard the term baby hammer only baby benz anyway as of now i’m restoring & customizing meh baby maybe get meh own article never imagined that it could beh meh & meh mercedes~benz

Alan Chan
Alan Chan
7 years ago

ganda dood!

Hans-Arvid Svellingen
Hans-Arvid Svellingen
7 years ago

Awesome car! A must watch video 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYaIFvRqv2k

Arnold Panganiban
Arnold Panganiban
7 years ago

Here is the dropbox link to the articles I mentioned above….

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nztzn7jk67py1tz/AMG\%20Baby\%20Hammer.pdf?dl=0

also, a request for an interior shot…. it still look as it did in the late 80’s… compare to the article pics..

Arnold Panganiban
Arnold Panganiban
7 years ago

Click —–> [url=”https://www.dropbox.com/s/nztzn7jk67py1tz/AMG\%20Baby\%20Hammer.pdf?dl=0″]AMG 190e Baby Hammer[/url]

gwg
gwg
5 years ago

Do you still have the PDF? The link’s not working anymore unfortunately.

Adam W
Adam W
7 years ago

I’m definitely interested in those articles, please share that link

Arnold Panganiban
Arnold Panganiban
7 years ago

Thank you guys for all your wonderful comments! It is truely a wonderful car! I compiled all the articles about my car from Road & Track, Autoweek, and Automotive magazines in a single pdf. If interested let me know and I can share a link.

Jayson M. Ayson
Jayson M. Ayson
7 years ago

Kindly share the link. Would love to read more about it.

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani
7 years ago

Very cool!

Louie
Louie
7 years ago

Ahh my. Nemesis lol my e30 m3. Rather beautiful car . I would love to drive one

insalted42
insalted42
7 years ago

YEAHHHHH BUDDY!! These are by far my favorite Mercedes/AMG cars. This is one of my dream cars as well!!

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson
7 years ago

Never knew there was a Baby Hammer. This article had me on a google-frenzy about aftermarket tuned W201:s. Found two handfuls of four cylinder cars (except the obvious MB and AMG ones), one handful of straight six models and even a V8 version made by Carlsson.

I’d say an hour well spent. Thanks to Petrolicious and Arnold Panganiban for broadening my horizon on the W201 chassis!

The car at hand looks absolutely fantastic. While the juvenile part of me loves the widebody EVO versions, I always find myself yearning for a none-EVO ones in the end. An all black that’s also got a straight six has got to be the epitome of W201:s in my book. Also, kudos for driving the car as intended.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson
7 years ago

For some reason my mind played a trick on me and in my head both EVO versions hade more or less the same widebody. However, since that’s not at all the case, I’d like to clarify that the above mentions of “widebody EVO” is supposed to be EVO II.

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman
7 years ago

any interior photos ?

Jayson M. Ayson
Jayson M. Ayson
7 years ago

Love your ride, kababayan. 🙂

samir shirazi
samir shirazi
7 years ago

Ayrton Senna became famous with racing in a 190E

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Asphalt/466703866733782

Michael Fischer
Michael Fischer
7 years ago

My favorite MB! I truly lusted after a 3.2 the year I daily drove a 2.6 5-speed… Personally, I would fit european headlights w/wipers, corners and period correct OZ 3-piece wheels. Perfection.

Michael Fischer
Michael Fischer
7 years ago

Try again on that attachment..

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

BWTM – Get thyself over to the nearest Mercedes Benz dealership and get yourself on the AMG Owners membership list [ the dealer will need to see the car first hand in order to verify its authenticity ]

Trust me .. the magazine alone is worth the effort !

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

Yeahhhhhhh …. brother ! A 190E [ one of the best small sedans Mercedes has ever made ] done over by the mad scientist/engineers from AMG before Daimler Benz bought them out . Seriously … whats not to love ? Not to mention … what could you even consider doing to the thing other than driving it regularly [ as both the manufacture and tuner intended ] and maintaining it as is to the best of your’s and your mechanics ability … with the understanding of course that at some point something irreplaceable may break [ AMG has a pretty complete back catalogue of supplies … but not everything ]

So Two Thumbs Up .. Congratulations on the very rare find .. and Kudos for having the cojones to seal the deal

Enjoy … and I do mean ….. E-N-J-O-Y … as the maker/tuner intended 😉

Cjak
Cjak
7 years ago

I had a 190e 2.6 that belonged to my mom, before my sister wrecked it. Great car to drive. Wish i still had it. Loved that little benz. Congrats on this one. Wish there were interior pics.