Corporate News

Jay Leno Tours AMG and Hand Assembles an Engine

Words Jim Davis | July 07, 2011
Jay Leno visited the AMG engine shop and assisted in the assembly of an AMG 6.3 V8 engine for the SLS AMG
Words Jim Davis July 07, 2011

The star of late night, Jay Leno, paid a visit to AMG recently. Ola Källenius, the Chairman of the Mercedes-AMG GmbH management board, gave Jay Leno a comprehensive overview of the company and its products. During his one-day visit the comedian and automobile enthusiast was not only able to acquaint himself with the new SLS AMG Roadster and the SLS AMG E-CELL during test drives, but also hand-assembled an AMG V8 engine.

Jay Leno was greeted by Ola Källenius on his arrival at Stuttgart airport. After a brief familiarisation with the car, Jay Leno had the opportunity to drive the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster on the motorway and on country roads: “A great car that gives you a fantastic feeling. This will be a real winner back home in California,” Jay Leno commented. During subsequent test drives on the Daimler AG test track in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, the American talkmaster was able to enjoy the incomparable dynamism of the Roadster. Jay Leno: “The SLS AMG Roadster delivers top performance. Whether the engine, transmission, handling or brakes – you feel that the engineers at AMG are serious! When I was 18 or 19 years old I worked for Mercedes-Benz in America. I knew about the test track in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim from films in which Mercedes sedans like the 220 SE or the 300 SEL 6.3 were driven through the banked curve. I have always wanted to see this for real. It took me over 40 years to do it, but now I’m here! It’s fantastic to drive the latest AMG models here on the test track today.”

Thrilled with the dynamism of the electrically powered gullwing model

Jay Leno was also able to enjoy a practically silent but emphatically dynamic driving experience behind the wheel of the SLS AMG E-CELL: “The power delivery from standstill is fantastic. It’s unbelievable how the 392 kW and 880 newton metres catapult the gullwing down the track. Very impressive, especially because you hear nothing except a little wind and tyre noise. And thanks to four-wheel drive, the SLS AMG E-CELL has no problem in bringing its enormous power onto the road. The performance and handling are every bit the equal of the SLS AMG with the V8 engine. This is the future! I have a Baker Electric dating from 1909 in my collection. It’s unbelievable how electric drive technology has developed over 100 years or so!”

Engine assembly according to the AMG “one man, one engine” philosophy

Following a tour of the AMG Performance Studio, where individual customer wishes are realised by dedicated craftsmen and special one-off examples are created, Jay Leno visited the AMG engine shop and assisted in the assembly of an AMG 6.3 V8 engine for the SLS AMG – by hand of course, according to the traditional AMG “one man, one engine” philosophy. Every AMG technician in the engine production department is responsible for an engine from start to finish. Accompanied by two experienced AMG technicians, Jay Leno installed the crankshaft, cylinder heads and even the wiring himself, and carried out the subsequent quality tests. Afterwards he applied an AMG engine plate bearing his signature to the completed eight-cylinder power unit. The TV star was then able to watch “his” AMG V8 engine being tested extensively on the glass-walled test bench.

Accompanied by a camera team, the 61 year-old made a video of his activity as an engine assembler and the test drives with the SLS AMG Roadster and SLS AMG E-CELL. It will shortly be possible to view the result on his website This is where Jay Leno regularly reports about his passion for automobiles. While the SLS AMG Roadster will celebrate its world premiere at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt/Main on 13 September 2011, potential customers for the SLS AMG E-CELL will need to be a little more patient: a small series of the electrically powered gullwing will be produced from 2013.

Ola Källenius: “Driving Performance” at first hand for Jay Leno

Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Mercedes-AMG GmbH management board: “I am very pleased that such a passionate automobile fan as Jay Leno has found his way to AMG and Affalterbach. We are quite sure that during his test drives with the SLS AMG Roadster and the SLS AMG E-CELL, we were well able to deliver on our brand claim of “Driving Performance”. And Jay Leno also cut a fine figure as an M159 assembly technician in our engine shop!”

Jay Leno delighted after visiting AMG

Jay Leno presents “The Tonight Show” on NBC, the world’s first and most successful late-night show, and also the longest-running entertainment programme on US television. The TV entertainer is a passionate collector and owns more than 200 vehicles, among them 40 Mercedes-Benz models, valuable classics, current sports cars and classic motorcycles. There is also an E 55 AMG in his collection, but after the test drives in the SLS AMG E-CELL and SLS AMG Roadster, Jay Leno can well imagine “that one or two AMG models might soon be added to the line-up. I also have a project under way at home which is now nearing completion. A Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 dating from 1971 is receiving a transplant in the form of a 386 kW (525 hp) AMG 6.3-litre M156 engine!”

Jay Leno summed up his impressions very positively after his one-day visit to Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach: “AMG delivers unbelievable performance – whether by man or machine!”