1995 UPS-Tabac Original-Sonax-Team AMG Mercedes C-Class V6: sounds and smells of success
The mid-90s were arguably the most exciting times in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft with team budgets exceeding one hundred million German marks, leading to the development of some of the most advanced racing touring cars ever built. When the factory AMG Mercedes team landed a sponsorship deal with TABAC Original, two historic German brands joined forces. Honouring TABAC’s sweet smelling sponsorship AMG Mercedes gave its high-revving championship-winning C-Class V6 a classic dark brown livery for the 1995 season, turning it into an instant DTM classic, the sound and smell of which can still be enjoyed today.
HIGH-REVVING F1-LIKE EXHAUST NOTES
The 190 E was outpaced by Alfa Romeo’s new 155 V6 TI in 1993, so for 1994 Mercedes and AMG had created an all-new DTM racer based on the W202 C-class. Cosmetically it still looked like the road version, be it with carbon bodywork, but technically it was highly modified. Its main feature? The entire front of the car, a subframe housing double wishbone and pull-rod suspension, the engine and the cooling system, could be unbolted from the car in under fifteen minutes; exactly the time available between DTM-races. A lightweight, compact 2500 cc-90-degree V6-engine, as per the rulebook derived from the E420 V8 street car engine, was specifically designed for the W202. With double overhead camshafts, four pneumatic valves per cyilinder and a paddle-shift gearbox it reached up to 440 horsepower at 13.000 revs per minute in 1995, producing F1-like exhaust notes.
But the C-class DTM had more ‘gadgets’: traction control, anti-lock brakes, power steering, power braking, track position dependant active anti-roll bar, progressive throttle and ‘active flaps’. Mercedes called it ‘Active Aerodynamic Balance’ which enabled them to release or capture hot air through six intake funnels, maximizing downforce when needed. A seamless six-speed sequential gearbox was mounted at the back for better weight distribution where it also used multi-link pull-rod activated suspension.
SUCCESSFUL BUT SHORT CAREER
The W202 C-Class’ career was successful but short. At 750.000 German marks Mercedes only made a handful of cars each year. AMG Mercedes won the 1994 DTM championship with Klaus Ludwig and the 1995 Driver’s and Manufacturer’s championship with Bernd Schneider. In 1996 the C-Class had to concede to Manuel Reuter and his Opel Calibra in what was now called the International Touring Car Championship. The series then ceased to exist from 1997 onwards, only for DTM to return in the year 2000, using 2-door coupés, in the case of Mercedes, the CLK.
This 1995 UPS-Tabac Original-Sonax-Team AMG Mercedes C-Class belongs to Jörg Hatscher, a businessman and former Managing Director for the Tourenwagen Legenden. Jörg van Ommen drove this car to five podium finishes and 2nd in the championship. Team mate and future F1-driver Jan Magnussen achieved an additional podium finish in the TABAC car. In 2018 it was beautifully restored by Thorsten Stadler from Hannoversch-Münden who will present it, among other C-Class cars, during the TABAC Classic GP Assen as part of the Tourenwagen Legenden series.
The TABAC sponsorship in DTM ran for only two seasons, but left a lasting impression with the fans. TABAC fragrances has been a trusted brand in personal hygiene for men for over 60 years. The brand was established in 1959 in Germany and is being sold all over the world. It is the official title sponsor of the TABAC Classic GP Assen.