As our merry band of misfits cavorts across the Irish countryside, we return once again to the fertile fields of Kenmare, where we saw the 2CV Fourgonnette. After using the public restroom, we spied this 1982 example of a G-Wagon in prime Curbside Classic fettle.
My wife loves the G in general and wants one. My daughter even knows what they are which I was surprised by. We’ve owned a Land Cruiser, I flat refuse to partake in anything from the Land/RangeRover stable, we currently have a GL450 (which was supposed to at one time replace the G-Wagen in Mercedes’ line-up and while a great rig really doesn’t even come close in raw solidity), a G-Wagen I suppose could somehow be construed as a logical purchase. Not that they hold their absolute value (they plummet like a rock on a percentage basis but decent older examples seem to stabilize around the value of perfectly nice and logical new CUV’s), but they are one of the last examples of hand-built vehicles made to last virtually a lifetime with proper maintenance and repair.
Of course the ones we are familiar with in today’s showrooms or city streets are a far cry from these early versions. This one is a 1982 and I believe it is a 300GD. Hand-built by Puch in Austria for Mercedes, they’ve transformed into something very different from their original purpose but are still every bit of capable as they were back in the day.
This one, clearly, has been used hard. Very hard. However, it still seems to be in daily use. Not much is left that shows its original form but obviously it wasn’t ever one of the luxury versions that today’s examples have become. It was (and is) simply a solid utilitarian tool, much like an equivalent aged Land Rover Defender or Toyota Land Cruiser. Would we even put a Jeep Wrangler in the same class? I’d probably venture no, we would not (but could be wrong).
Even the interior has been pretty used up. No door panels even. How Eugenian. The back was filled with tools, boxes, debris and other “stuff”. I suppose the owner is using it the way Paul uses his F-100 or many (ok, some) others use their pickup trucks.
It’s no leather-lined beauty with a sticker price well (very well) in excess of US$100k as a new one is, but to its owner I’m sure it is a thing of beauty that helps him put food on the table and provide for at least himself and probably others too. In the end that’s the main function of a tool, any tool, and this one has been doing it seemingly well for a long time. With a bit of luck, some spit, and not a whole lot of polish, it looks to be able to do it for a good time more.
I do prefer to see these utility vehicles being used for their intended purpose. There’s an 88″ s.IIA Land Rover locally (E suffix so Jan-July ’67) that’s still in regular use locally that I saw again this week. Good nick but no show queen, bronze green with a light smattering of mud round the arches and lower sides. OK, wouldn’t want to do a 250 mile trip down the motorway to London in it, but that’s not really the raison d’être of an off-roader is it?
The hi-vis jacket suggests the G might be in use on a construction site.
Mercedes-Benz Germany does offer the utilitian version of G-Class called G350d Professional…
This G- wagen is the one she wants. She just doesn’t know it yet. Show her a Unimog, and explain to her that this your only two choices when it comes to Mercedes. The ONLY two Benz products worth owning… I had to laugh, saw the other day a TV commercial for Mercedes vans. Then I realized that I am in a small minority of people who have had real world experience with the T1N Sprinter van. A shipping crate for a good (but not great, it has known issues) engine is the best way I can describe it; now they have the balls to unleash them on the unsuspecting public, and for a list price that would make anybody short of Jay Leno’s income bracket walk funny for years…
I agree with Jim that the Jeep Wrangler is not in the same class. The G-wagen is in the same league as the Land Cruiser, Pajero and Patrol.
The Wrangler, on the other hand, is a toy for rich folks & their kids. I never, ever saw one being used as a serious workhorse in the past decades.
It’s funny how the same vehicles wind up in different niches in different markets. In the US, the Wrangler is very much in the same league as this G-wagon. Newer ones not so much, but in rural areas it’s common to see beat up old Jeeps being used like jeeps. Older bare-bones G-wagons like these are very rare, if you see one it’s likely to be immaculate and far too valuable to be treated like the utility tool that it is.
What is that little blue four door sitting next to it, Jim ?
The light blue one is a Nissan Micra, I believe.
Quite right, a Nissan Micra K12 (2003 3rd gen).
It’s the one that I want!
Actually, Stephanie would probbaly like it too, as long as it was automatic. Oh wait; it doesn’t have heated seats. Or satellite radio. Or… 🙁
The version Mercedes sold here probably has all that. Of course it costs as much as a house!
When I decide to get an SUV, maybe I can afford an old Isuzu Trooper.
Happy Motoring, Mark
I’d take one of these over a new luxury G-Wagen any day. The luxury models are a rich man’s toy…these old ones are an honest working machine that will still be running long after the luxury model gets traded in for something a little newer and more trendy. I saw one of these in a dark green color a while ago – the two-door models are a rarity in Canada (likely a gray-market import) and it was in nice shape. The Canadian military uses the 4-door diesel models -you could do worse than scooping up a used one when they sell them off.
The new ones (luxury version) still have a reputation for being extremely long lasting, i.e. like a Land Cruiser if not even better. So even when the first owner tires of it, it still has most of its life left in it.
There is an outfit in Wheatridge, CO, that imports older ones from all over the world and refurbishes them to different degrees and then sells them. They mainly work with ones over 25years old to eliminate the US import difficulties. But they have all kinds – 2 door, 4 door, soft-top, some camper versions, wagon (utility) versions, etc. The G was available in many, many permutations over the years.
I’ve seen a few grey import G-Wagens in the Bend Oregon area, as well as around Portland. All of the ones I’ve seen are SWB like this one and a mix of hardtop and soft top and also a mix of 280GE (gasoline 6) and 300GD (diesel 5) plus one 230GE (gasoline 4) soft top in Bend. It’s hard to tell whether they were imported as new vehicles pre-1990 or used vehicles under the 25 year rule after 2004 since they are generally well kept hobby vehicles rather than work trucks.
4.0 I6 wranglers and xj cherokees get used and used and used here in upstate NY till they cannot be used anymore, then they get their engines and drivelines pulled and stuck into I4 wranglers and XJ’s for more use!
I have never seen a Defender in person, and have seen less than 5 2-door land cruisers in person.