I Still Don't Get It.... [PIC]
The G class Mercedes was designed as an off-road military vehicle that was suggested by the Shah of iran who was a major shareholder at the time. Development began in 1972 by agreement between Daimler Benz and Styer of Graz,Austria who would build them. The first generation, the W460, was certainly the envy of East German border guards, but actually entered service first with the Argentine army. It became popular enough that it was built under license by Peugeot for the French military. In 1980, a bubble topped version became a Pope-Mobile. When full production began in 1979, this was hardly a luxury vehicle. By the 1990s, the US Marine Corps modified them as "Interim Fast Attack Vehicles" replacing the "Mutt" Jeep. Its rather loose construction gave it a penchant for rattles and leaks. Mercedes never prepped it for the American civilian market as it wasn't what Americans envisioned as a Mercedes. There were imports to the US as novelty gray market vehicles, but the government soon cracked down completely on imports.
Over the years, the G series did get upgrades in power and creature comforts, but somewhere along the line Mercedes thought of marketing this as a high powered luxury SUV... perhaps they were in a hurry to enter that market with designs of America sales and just didn't want to develop a whole new platform. So, in 1999, came the G500 Special which featured a 5.0 liter V8 and all the luxury accessories possible on what was still an aerodynamic brick in style of the Land Rover Defender. Later that year, came the 'crown jewel': the G55 AMG with its supercharged 354hp 5.5 liter V8. With this W463 series, Mercedes got limited access to the US market and with the MSRP starting at 6 figures it was marketed to the wealthy crowd (watch the Kardashians). Somehow, with its luxe amenities, price tag and paramilitary looks, sales were successful and the G series lives on.
Pretty cool model ! Who ever did this one included some nice detail and that looks like real carpeting, too.
This Mercedes certainly has the general look of a post-war Willys Jeep station wagon, with it's straight-lined styling.
My neighbout had one, terribly noisy and very high fuel consumption.
Interesting history Rich. We still have two in my neighbourhood but I'n not sure what vintage. Great photo essay as always. Thanks!
The people that ought/buy these are the same folks that paid/pay outrageous sums for Vintage Jeep Grand Cherokees which actually have a bit in common with the G-Wagon. Both vehicles are large, square, and have a tendency to rattle and shake.
I love the G-Class. I know they're inefficient & old tech, but I've always liked the way they look & are true off-roaders (at least the non-AMG versions). The AMG version are crazy quick & sound incredible.
AA did a nice job on these. I had an old Hot Wheels version, but it lacked a lot of the nice details of the AA.
I see these every now & then but admittedly, don't really know much about them. Thanks for the history lesson and the fine pics Rich. Your Autoart model is schweeeet!
I had the HW one too. I thought the one backup light was a mistake until I saw a 1:1.