Some of you might’ve heard of Hartge over the years but that’s most likely because you were in your 20s in the 1990s. Hartge was a BMW tuner and the guys knew how to get the most out of every BMW out there. Their specialty was swapping huge engines inside cars that would otherwise be viewed as part of the other end of the spectrum. Being specialized on BMWs, they did some unique projects of the years as well, including this one of a kind Hartge F1.
It was an ambitious name, no matter how you look at it and in was considered by many a true ‘Frankenstein’ project back in the day. What we have here then is a Mercedes-Benz W124 300E from 1988 with a bit of BMW flavor. Can you guess where the BMW parts come in? That’s right, under the hood. That’s where you’ll find the legendary BMW M88 engine that was used in various specs on the BMW M1 and E28 M5 among other things.
To say this engine is iconic is an understatement but Hartge upgraded it even more. The bored it out from 3,453 cc to 3,535 cc and made it sing like a canary. The power output of this Hartge F1 is claimed to have been 325 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque. That was all handled by a BMW 6 Series manual gearbox and other upgrades include different shocks, new bushings as well as new brakes.
And that’s how you get a perfect sleeper in the shape of the 170-hp 300E that actually have over 300 HP to dunk on you, if you challenge it.
Unfortunately, Hartge went out of business a while back and with it the chance of seeing such monsters being made again. They only made one Hartge F1 and this is it. It’s not in the best shape, as the photos will prove, but I think it can shine again with a little TLC.
The best part about it is that it’s going under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s Essen auction on June 24-27. It’s definitely not a collector’s item but it will play nicely with a die-hard, old-school gearhead.
[Photos: RM Sotheby’s]