The Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen, or G-Wagen for short, is many things to many people, but one thing it ain’t is a track vehicle. Sure, it can be bought with a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 making 577 horsepower in the AMG G63 model, and it finally has an independent front suspension, but it’s never going to get around its nearly three-ton curb weight and house-like aerodynamics. That is, unless you count Project Geländewagen, a concept for a G-Wagen race truck revealed by Mercedes on Tuesday.
A collaboration between MB’s chief design officer Gorden Wagener and Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh, Project Geländewagen is how two of the world’s top luxury designers would see Mercedes’ iconic brute remade as a road-racing specialist. Its partially hand-sanded paint adorns fender flares that encircle widened, racing slick-shod wheels, a spare of which can be found on the tailgate like any other G-Wagen. To clean up the design (and in theory, save weight), Project Geländewagen features no bumpers, mirrors, or turn signals, all of which aren’t strictly necessary on a closed-off Nürburgring.
Within is a stripped-out interior, with analog gauges inspired by vintage race cars and a steering wheel that’d look at home in the Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar. Window netting, bucket seats, and five-point racing harnesses keep driver and passenger within the confines of its roll cage—or, they would if Project Geländewagen were ever destined to hit the track. There’s a telling lack of information on Project Geländewagen’s powertrain, or if it even has a functional one, which says to us it’ll never be used for the purpose it looks to have been built: bouncing over curbs.
Being a concept vehicle, Project Geländewagen obviously isn’t something people can go out and buy, though one wealthy individual will end up with a 1:3 scale model of the motorsport-inspired G-Wagen. The miniature rendition of Project Geländewagen will be auctioned off for charity as part of October’s Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated event, which opens up for advance bidding on Monday, September 14. Hopefully whoever ends up with the Project Geländewagen desk ornament will feel the urge to pour the remainder of their wealth into recreating it at 1:1 scale.
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