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5 Things I Love About My 1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG (and 5 Things I Hate)

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author photo by Tyler Hoover August 2017

With over 1,400 miles logged across California, and many adventures with my 1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG, my journey has come to an end. During my epic trip, I became very familiar with the things I like about my old AMG, along with the things I hate. In the video posted above, I detailed the pluses and minuses -- with some "help" from a very unlikely source.

During my leisurely drive to Los Angeles after Monterey car week, a green Lamborghini Huracan blew past me, and I quickly realized it was Parker from the popular YouTube channel Vehicle Virgins. Chasing him down required speeds my 210,000 mile Mercedes probably hasn't seen since the Clinton administration -- but when I did finally get his attention, we pulled over for a chat. I've had a few brief encounters with Parker before, and for some strange reason, he agreed this time to collaborate for a video -- probably because he's never watched my videos.

A few days later, I met Parker at his swanky new digs in Santa Monica, and we set to work. The subject of the C36 AMG was relatively unfamiliar to him, but the format was something he knew very well. 'Five things I love and hate' about a car is the Vehicle Virgins equivalent to Doug's 'quirks and features.'

I began the video by covering the things I liked about the car, starting with the styling. The Bruno Sacco-designed cars have always been my favorite era of Mercedes, with their angular lines and subtle elegance. These cars were designed to be timeless, and I think the C36 has aged extremely well. I feel the blobby styling of most modern Mercedes-Benz models simply blends into the crowd of the mostly blobby cars offered today. Parker happens to own a new, blobby S550 -- and my feelings about his car may have triggered the start of some pithy banter.

Of course, I love the engine in my C36, as AMG transformed the boring inline six from the C280 into a screamer. This is the third C36 I've owned, and I recalled the horsepower was rated at 286. This was a pretty impressive upgrade from the original hp rating of 195, a feat achieved by boring out the cylinders and increasing stroke. I was always perplexed by the C43 AMG that followed, as the AMG hand-built V8 had only 27 more hp than the stock version.

Apparently, Parker did a little homework before the video, and he was brave enough to try and correct this Mercedes expert on the hp numbers. He read the C36 was rated at 268 hp, and announced this on camera. Just to be polite, I double-checked--- and the cheeky jerk was right.

Things went downhill when I discussed the other things I liked about the car, including it being the best luxury car, not because of technology -- which is what luxury cars of today are measured by -- but because Mercedes was the best built car out of the highest quality of materials. I also noted the durability, giving my car as an example, since it performed flawlessly on my trip. Parker pointed out that my C36 was vastly more expensive new than the BMW M3, and that my check engine light was on. I responded by threatening him like he was a flippant child.

We then moved on to the things I didn't like about the C36, and most of it was related to its age and previous owners. I'm certainly not a fan of the straight piped exhaust, nor the lowering springs. I remarked how stupid I thought it was, knowing very well this is a popular theme on Vehicle Virgins. The driver's seat spring has also collapsed due to age, which is a common problem with this era of Mercedes.

The only legitimate point I have against the C36 in general is the automatic transmission. While it's a very robust gearbox, it certainly feels antiquated. The car is practically begging for a manual transmission, which is something that was never offered. This is probably why the C36 was mostly forgotten, and the M3 became part of the boy-racer holy trinity.

The banter and self-deprecating jokes between Parker and I continued throughout, but it was all in good fun. I had a great time making the video with Parker -- and afterwards, he was nice enough to take me for a ride in his newly supercharged Huracan. I then immediately hit the road for Las Vegas, where I left the AMG with a friend, and caught a flight home.

The C36 will eventually follow me back to Kansas via transporter, where it will be given a thorough once-over by the Car Wizard. Finally, my garage will feel whole again with an AMG inside of it -- an AMG that will also double as a really cool travel memento.

Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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