Sunday, March 11, 2018

Three Pedal AMG- 1995 Mercedes C36

The Mercedes C36 was the first car produced by AMG after Mercedes purchased them.  The C36 was the successor to 190E 16V as Mercedes compact performance car.  It was a very expensive car when new and competed directly with the BMW E36 M3.  The engine, square edged styling, brakes, and build quality were without fault.  The real achilles heal of the C36 was the dimwitted automatic which was the only transmission option.  C36 resale prices pale in comparison to the M3 largely due to the the lack of third pedal.  Today's seller took matters in their own hands and swapped in a proper manual transmission.  Find this 1995 Mercedes C36 AMG for sale in Santa Barbara, CA for $8,500 via craigslist.  Tip from Sean.

From the seller:

Good used 1995 Mercedes Benz C36 AMG with a manual transmission conversion. Conversion performed by a Mercedes Benz Master Technician with all Mercedes parts so you know the job was done correctly. Black on black with about 170k miles. Some evidence of minor body repair at some point in it's life but looks good and runs strong. Suspension upgraded with Ground Control adjustable suspension with Koni adjustable dampers. Upgraded Brabus Mono IV 3 piece wheel set with newer Michelin Pilot SuperSport tires. Vehicle can be seen by appointment at Santa Barbara Autowerks in downtown Santa Barbara.

The 5 speed shifter looks to be from a 1999-2000 SLK M111 4 cyl manual.  It is conceivable they used dual mass SLK transmission in the swap as well.  A compatible M104 6 cyl dual mass flywheel from a euro car is not terribly hard to find.  The 1995 C36 came with a 2.87 rear end.  If the builder did not change out the rear diff,  the 3.6 engine would barely break a sweat on the highway with the 5th gear overdrive.

The one nit to pick on the car is the missing 3.6 crossover tube.  They are very expensive and hard to source second hand.  The performance advantage the larger crossover provides is debatable because the throttle body and mass air are the same diameter on the 2.8, 3.2, and 3.6 engine sizes of the M104 straight six.

See another manual transmission Mercedes with square exhaust tips? email

Cory is waiting for winter to be over so he can work on his C36.


  1. I have not been able to follow MB evolution closely enough. Do these fall into the "bank vault solid" category? And do they have the bio-degradable wiring harness that I have read about on this site? So many idle questions, since California continues to be stubbornly distant from my location.....

  2. Yes, these are solid cars. The 1995 cars have engine harness and throttle body wiring degrading issues. Once you replace the those two pieces with good ones, you are set for good.

  3. I can't imagine how great the torque is on the straight 3.6. It has to be fantastic to drive.

    1. Sean -- I owned a stock C36 AMG for a few years -- it was a much torquier engine than the S50 in the E36 M3 (I owned one of those right after the C36)...and has an amazing sound track, even with the stock pipes. I think the manual would go a long way to making one of these a keeper.

  4. Great cars. Shame the original shocks are gone. They could be rebuilt and were specific to the C36. Engine and throttle body harnesses fall apart and should be replaced.

    These are fast, handle well from the factory, are much larger and faster than the M3. The sound when you put your foot in it are worth the price of admission.


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