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BRABUS: Behind the Scenes

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Only a handful of aftermarket tuning shops will consider modifying a Mercedes-Benz. Of those few, no advertiser has graced the pages and digital properties of the duPont REGISTRY longer than Brabus which has been nearly 20 years. 

Our late friend Bodo Buschman founded BRABUS in 1977 as a small garage in Bottrop, Germany. The Ruhr Valley is home to the nation’s industrial heartland, and the residents have a need for speed. After unlocking more power from his own Mercedes-Benz, Bodo realized that no other shop was up to his standards.

While AMG was focused on racing, BRABUS offered improved styling, leather, and luxurious amenities not offered by the factory. He and his team were not afraid to venture into unknown territory. Bodo saw an opportunity in the duPont REGISTRY, and never looked back. Although he passed away suddenly in 2018, his son Constantin remains one of our biggest fans.

Starting at the bottom, he was taught the fundamentals by watching and helping the master technicians. His father taught him to never disregard a new or untapped opportunity, and that is evident in their rapid growth of BRABUS Marine. They had been asking us to visit for quite a while, so the details were handled by Sven Gramm, Director of Marketing and Communications.

His counterpart in the U.S. is Peter Moeller, of German Tuning Corporation. As the U.S. division of BRABUS, they handle all BRABUS and STARTECH imports to North America. STARTECH is a BRABUS company devoted to adding the same level of refinement to Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar/Land Rover, & Maserati.

It was decided our trip would start at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Not just to see their display, we were given VIP access to see each car up close. After a week at the World’s Largest Auto Show, we were invited to visit their headquarters.

Arriving in Bottrop, we quickly realized their facility is a model of efficiency. The campus is comprised of five massive buildings, each with a specialized purpose. Quality over quantity is evident when you walk in the door. We were greeted by Sven, and taken aback by the amazing cars in the showroom. Management offices surround a Brabus 900 S65, Maybach, and a Landaulet. Our first stop was the Coffee Bar, we wanted to get pumped up for what we were about to witness.

Newborn Mercedes-Benz models are given white-glove inspections before work begins. A few apprentices are allowed to sort parts and keep the facility clean, but the only hands allowed to touch the cars are those of master coachbuilders.

There is nothing proprietary in hiring the best workers available. The engine shop is a quiet place. Watching the delicate assembly of pistons, rods and bearings demand respect from visitors and coworkers alike.

From there, these masterpiece motors are bolted to a dyno for break-in. Once every cylinder and turbo have been checked, the engine meets its forever home. While the engine is being installed, the brilliant upholstery takes form.

The finest leather in the world is sewn on state of the art machines. A careful eye makes every stitch true to size. This is offered on every interior surface, from floor mats to the roof. Sure it is time-intensive, but you can’t rush perfection.

Before each car is allowed outside, it is strapped to a 4-wheel dyno for some exercise. The cars are brought up to cruising speeds with varying amounts of load to monitor the CO2 output.

After fine-tuning, each BRABUS build beats the world’s toughest emissions standards. Building brutal power doesn’t have to harm the environment, but that is all we can say for now.

It was time for lunch, and we needed a ride. Instead of a taxi, we were chauffeured in a new BRABUS 800. Based on the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, it sends 800 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque to all wheels. Our driver was well acquainted with his town, so it was a ride we’ll not forget!

After lunch, we were able to see the assembly of a BRABUS G V12 900. Only 10 examples will be built, with each one receiving a twin-turbo 6.3L V12. If 1,106 lb-ft of torque doesn’t excite you, seek help. Was it the most powerful build in progress, no, and that is what continues to make us wonder how much power can be contained in a street-legal SUV.

One building is not like the others. BRABUS has been responsible for much of the engineering of the SmartCar. Not only do they continually build them to be faster and safer, but their engine upgrades also make these little rides very affordable to own.

Another building handles innovation and design. Because BRABUS never turns down a challenge, their team is constantly at work solving problems for the world’s largest automakers. Engineers and stylists at the big manufacturers get tunnel vision by their corporate overlords. That is where BRABUS steps in with a fresh set of eyes. Very exciting stuff is coming from this crew, and we wish we could tell you more.

Because each BRABUS build requires small batches of highly specialized parts, the same methodology can be applied to restoring classic cars. Brabus Classic was started as a side project, and now they received neglected Mercedes & AMG models from around the world. With the ability to make exact replicas of original parts, the end result is often better than showroom condition.

In order for your car to be restored, BRABUS Classic subjects it to extensive evaluations. Only historically significant, numbers-matching cars are chosen. From there, the car is completely disassembled with its parts being cataloged. The body is chemically stripped before all rust is cut out, then dipped in a bath of cathodic primer. This ensures it will never rust again.

Each nut and bolt is refinished or replaced with a new-old-stock part from Mercedes. If the part no longer exists, BRABUS Classic classic makes an exact replica. The engine and transmission are rebuilt to factory condition and dropped into a fully restored chassis. A BRABUS Classic Six-Star restoration is the German equivalent of Ferrari Classiche or the Lamborghini Polo Storico. We could have spent weeks going over these amazing restorations.

We would not be able to show you such amazing builds without the support of our clients. Our hats are off to the Buschman family and every employee who made our trip so enjoyable.  If you want a German car with unmatched power and refinement, BRABUS is the only answer. We honestly wish we could tell you what they have in the works, so that’s why you will see it first here on duPont REGISTRY Daily.