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Japan’s Secret Haven of AMG Classic

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Could Japan be the true home of these iconic Mercedes-AMG super sedans like the E500 and E60?

As far as classic vehicles go, AMG has made some of the most legendary examples we will ever see during our lifetimes. There is a special allure surrounding these iconic brand legends that cannot be replicated by modern cars. When you really put the time and effort into building something great like Mercedes did then and continues to do today, it’s no surprise that people will love these Stuttgart legends. So, while there might be nothing quite as essentially German as a W124 Mercedes, this doesn’t mean these sedans can’t tug on the heart strings of many diverse individuals. Most of us would say that it is hard not to fall in love with their appeal.

So picture this. Imagine you are driving through greater Tokyo as a foreigner on a trip on a busy weekday. Sprawled out through the metropolitan madness that urban Tokyo provides, you see something through the corner of your eye. It’s a small street corner shop. You see there is a glass-laden showroom displayed front and center of the small building. As you continue to approach this mini-shop (by US-standards), details begin to become clear. You start to notice the shop is filled with Japanese gentlemen all wearing black-suits and Mercedes vintage jackets surrounded by ultra-rare classic AMGs. In this moment, you’d probably break your neck driving by this place. Without a doubt, the throbbing curiosity to know what the hell is happening in that little building will strike your core.

AMG classic

Congratulations, you’ve officially discovered one of the most coveted Mercedes-AMG classic shops anywhere in the world: J-Auto. Thanks to this wonderful article by Speedhunters, we discover their story. This small business has been dealing with specialty Mercedes vehicles for the better part of 30 years.  Their poison of choice? W124 Mercedes. Specifically, E500/500E models and more so, the legendary E60 AMG. In order to understand their dedication for these vehicles better, let’s cover some history.

AMG classic

Back in the 80’s, Mercedes was working with their German compatriots and motorsport experts, Porsche. Their collaboration project would initially stem from a conversation like this. “We have a powerful V8 and we have a sedan chassis we want to put it in. Do whatever it takes to make it work.” The result of this conversation would be the coveted 500E/E500 model. This sedan would feature bespoke widened bodywork and the 322 HP 5.0L V8, along with revised suspension and tuning. Essentially, the car was a quality-first, hand-built performance version of the W124 thanks to Porsche and Mercedes.

It’s glorified status and incredible reception after its release would come to define the E500 as the quintessential German muscle car. Currently regarded as a bonafide classic, it’s limited production numbers still fetch high prices to this day. The pedigree alone is a must-have for any classic Mercedes enthusiast collection.

So we beg the question, how the hell do you make a car that special any better? Well, let’s introduce the mad geniuses at AMG. The E60 AMG model would only be built for a single year, between 1994-1995. Using the upgraded 6.0L V8, the E60 made 381 HP and had even more performance than the “standard” E500. The numbers are not certain, but it is estimated that around 50 of these models were built. These are considered the “true” E60 AMGs with original AMG VIN numbers.

J-Auto most likely has done service or seen most of these. That’s how recognized they are as a shop. Only the highest quality Mercedes products will ever and have ever graced J-Auto’s floor space. They appreciate quality and they plan on keeping that way. However, even if you don’t have an ultra-rare AMG but still own a classic Mercedes in excellent condition, they will be happy to work for you. Not to mention, they have a fleet of courtesy cars and an incredibly high standard for their work. So next time something catches your eye while wandering around town, don’t forget sometimes there are precious gems hiding plain sight.

J-Auto Tokyo
AMG classic

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Photos: Speedhunters

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