Janz used to work for the motorsport division at Abt, the factory-approved Audi-VW tuner and DTM Audi team, while Herre worked for a local Mercedes-Benz dealer, Bulle Automobile. When the Kicherer brothers decided to retire in 2003, Bulle Automobile bought them out.
Bulle transferred the young and enthusiastic Herre there, and his interest in tuning and good customer skills helped take the company's reputation to the next level. However, after a few months the management decided that aftermarket tuning was too far removed from their core business as a Mercedes dealer and made the decision to sell it on again.
Herre called up his friend Janz, and they both agreed this was a perfect opportunity. They came to an arrangement whereby they bought 74 percent of the company, leaving Bulle with the remaining 26 percent. "This partnership works perfectly for everyone," Herre says. "Bulle has a share of another profitable business that they don't have to divert resources to, while we have full access to their workshop and connections to the factory."
As in the days when the Kicherer brothers were running the show, discussions with clients are more positive as people know they are talking to the boss rather than a salesman who might not be there the next time.
"Our clients are very forthcoming with their opinions and ideas," Herre says. "The SL is one of the most popular cars among our clients, and many have already told us that they don't like the nose of the facelifted car. Two or three have even asked us to investigate the possibility of retrofitting the old style nose."
Such special wishes are a Kicherer specialty. Recently a client asked to have a rear seat installed in his CLK63 Black Series; the fulfillment machine went into overdrive. The solution is a beautifully produced carbon rear seat molding covered in black leather with silver stitching to match the new front seats, lightweight carbon-fiber front seats that tilt to allow access to the new rear seat.
"All these parts were produced by the same company that makes our aerodynamics," Herre says. "They are fast workers and deliver fabulous quality-an unusual combination for a subcontractor these days."-IK
Kicherer C63 AMG Super Sport
Longitudinal front engine, Rear-wheel drive
6.2-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve. Kicherer airbox, tubular headers, 200-cell metal catalysts, sport exhaust, ecu remap
Brembo GT assemblies
Wheels and Tires
Kicherer alloys, 8.5x20 (f), 10x20 (r) Dunop Sport Maxx, 245/30 (f), 275/25 (r)
Kicherer front spoiler, side skirts, carbon-fiber rear underbody diffuser, LED driving lights
Carbon-rimmed steering wheel, Kicherer floormats
Peak Power: 565 hp @ 6800 rpm
Peak Torque: 487 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
0-60 mph: 4.0 sec.
Top Speed: 195 mph