The History of the Cult Tuning Studios: Brabus A Quick Guide to the Fastest and Most Powerful Mercedes

1977 – foundation

Klaus Brackmann and Bodo Buschmann (pictured) founded the private tuning studio Brabus (the name comes from the surnames of the founders, BRAckmann and BUSchmann) in 1977, but it was Bodo Buschmann who had the idea to create a private company for refurbishing Mercedes cars. His friend Klaus Brackmann was brought in solely because German law at the time prohibited opening a company alone. After the establishment of the company, Brakmann, who never got into the idea of refining the cars, sold his share to Buschmann for a token fee of 100 marks.

1978 – first business

For the crazy power in the late 70’s is not particularly sought, so the bet was originally made on the aesthetics and a sense of luxury. The legendary “Sheikhovoz” S-class W126 was chosen as “first victim”. And it worked: the orders poured one after another (mainly – from the UAE and the Middle East), and by 1979, the company has provided itself with work for several months ahead. In 1982, Brabus installed a TV set with a video player on the back row of the S-Class, a luxury unprecedented at the time.

1984 – 190E with a surprise

or prosperity was laid: the first showroom was opened. And in 1984 the variety of sedans and coupes of the 126th body was diluted by… The brand-new 190. But not simple. The history of crazy transplantations from Brabus has begun with this car: 276-horsepower V8 from W126 (on photo) was crammed under a hood of a compact sedan! It went down in history as the 190E V8.

1985 – Guinness World Records

That year, Brabus did a thorough job on the E-class W124, achieving an amazingly low drag coefficient of 0.26. The outstanding achievement, obtained by reducing ground clearance and installing aerodynamic dodger, was even entered into the Guinness Book of Records. Well, the 190E tested two more new engines: 3.5 and 3.5 twin supercharged!

1987 – Bodo’s entry to the next level

In March 1987, the association of German tuners VDAT was founded, with Bodo Buschmann as honorary chairman. One year later, the most famous Brabus of that time came out: a light and fast 190E 3.6S with 272 hp and 350 Nm. It could reach 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds and its top speed was up to 260 km/h. In 1989, the same car gets a new head block with 24 valves – the output grows to 286 hp…

1992 – a big engine for smaller cars

Already in the early 90’s, Brabus is engaged in refinement of new Mercedes models – in particular, the new SL and S-Class 140th body. But an important milestone was passed in 1992 – the development of the famous Brabus 6.9-liter V12 with 508 hp and 710 Nm output began. One of the first cars to try on this engine will be the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which will appear in 1993.

1994 – agreement with Bugatti

1994 marked the signing of an agreement between Bugatti and Brabus, according to which Brabus becomes… 1994 was marked by the signing of an agreement between Bugatti and Brabus according to which Brabus becomes the official tuner of the French brand. Fortunately or unfortunately, this cooperation did not last long, only four years. Then Bugatti was bought by VW concern and Bugatti had a completely new history.

1995 – Super Limousine and Super Brakes

Though carbon ceramic brakes came into use of sports cars relatively recently, Brabus has been producing them for its cars since far back in 1995. In the same ’95, was presented a limousine S-Class Business with an increased by 500 millimeters wheelbase and separated from the driver’s rear row.

1996 – World’s Fastest

Having finished preparing a new, 7.3-liter version of its V12, and having tested it on the SL model, Brabus decided to cram it into a 210-body E-Class sedan… And got the world’s fastest production sedan, confirmed by the Guinness Book: the E V12 7.3S reached 330 km/h at 582 horsepower. A year later, the title of the fastest station wagon was also won – again, with the 210 body, but already with a V12 boosted to 791 horsepower. The top speed is 320 km/h.


An important step in the history of Brabus was the opening of the subsidiary STARTECH, which was engaged in tuning of Chrysler and Jeep (now the vector is moved towards the British premium brands). In the same 2004, the first modification package for Maybach was presented, as well as the first 12-cylinder Gelandewagen with a 7.3-liter engine.

2005 – two more fastest sedans

In addition to the program for the supercar McLaren SLR, in 2005, Brabus introduced at once two cars capable of running up to 350 km / h – it’s Brabus E V12 and CLS Rocket.

2006 Best Tuner

In 2006, Auto, Motor und Sport awarded Brabus the title of best tuning company. And this victory was not the only one – Brabus won this title eight times in a row.

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