The iconic Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen has taken many forms over the years, including an off-roading coupe, military support vehicle, six-by-six monster truck, and even a luxurious Landaulet. But now, thanks to a collaboration with fashion legend Virgil Abloh, the G-Class gets a racing-inspired outfit to add to its resumé.
As the chief creative director and founder of Off-White and men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton, Abloh is the perfect choice for this conceptual design project. Formally called Project Geländewagen, this SUV is the result of Abloh and Mercedes-Benz chief design officer Gorden Wagener exploring how they can disrupt future perceptions of luxury.
“With Project Geländewagen, we create a unique artwork that showcases future interpretations of luxury and the desire for beauty and the extraordinary. The result is something between reality and future,” Wagener explains. “The collaboration with Virgil has seen two distinct design philosophies unite for a one-of-a-kind reimagination of the G that continues to celebrate the extraordinary at its core.”
Taking the rugged G-Class and turning it into anything resembling a race car is an extremely bold move, but the team wanted to push the burly AMG attitude as far as it could go. The result speaks for itself, as the vehicle looks so different from the usual standard of vehicles sporting a three-pointed badge.
The artists decided to hand-sand the paint, giving Project Geländewagen an aura of imperfection, something that’s unexpected from an automaker that boasts “the best or nothing.”
Beyond that, the car feels pure and minimalist in its design. It’s wider and lower for that sporty appeal that Abloh and Wagener are going for. The signals, mirrors, and bumper bar have also been removed since those items are superfluous on a race car. Adding to the charm is the exaggerated rubber on the tires.
The interior of the Project Geländewagen looks unlike any other G-Glass. It has been stripped of all the luxurious bells and whistles, most notably the digital gauge cluster and infotainment screen, which have been replaced with old-school dials. The seats and steering wheel are hardcore, focused, F1-inspired units that contrast with the simplicity of the dials and switches. There’s also a roll cage painted baby blue, while the five-point seat belts are bright red.
A replica of the Project Geländewagen will be sold at Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated, an online auction series that has seen incredible sales during the past few months. This series is defined by the unique perspective of different influential tastemakers each year. The proceeds of the auction will go toward supporting domestic and international art students.
By combining Abloh’s and Wagener’s visions and using the G-Wagen as a canvas, the Project Geländewagen piece will surely get the attention it needs to bring about a hefty auction price, but the real prize goes to the art students.
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