The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is at home all around the world – on every terrain, on and off-road. This year, the popular, classic cross-country vehicle is celebrating its 40th birthday, and the Mercedes-Benz Museum is hosting an extensive “G-Schichten” (G stories) special exhibition. It will be open from 18 October 2019 and, with eleven vehicles and countless further exhibits, tells colourful stories of the brand’s oldest serving model series.
Stuttgart. Since its world premiere in 1979 the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has written countless stories over the course of 40 years with an unparalleled career. No wonder: right from the start it was aimed at a variety of different user groups. It is also at home all over the world and on any terrain: it surmounts obstacles in rough terrain effortlessly and glides gracefully along the world’s shopping streets. That is what makes the G-Class so unique – and an icon of the brand. It goes without saying that Mercedes-Benz has always kept the G at the cutting edge of technology.
The “G-Schichten” (G stories) special exhibition at Mercedes-Benz Museum tells the full story of the G. It will be open from 18 October 2019 and is planned to run until 19 April 2020. The protagonists of the exhibition: vehicles from 1979 to the present day. Amongst them is the “flying” 240 GD dating back to 1979, the protagonist of a press photo, showing the G as it jumps over a sand dune. Or the “Popemobile” of 1980, the faithful reconstruction of the winning car of the 1983 “Paris–Dakar” and the last cabriolet from 2013: the stories are just as varied as the vehicle itself.
The outstanding off-road capabilities are shown by a G on a gradient of 100 percent. Visitors can clamber up a correspondingly steep ramp in order to get a feel for the performance of the cross-country vehicle. The technology of the G-Class is represented by a cutaway model of a transfer case and a rear axle with differential locks, for example.
The vehicles of the special exhibition and their “G-Schichten” (G stories)
240 GD, 1979 Grand appearance: the G-model celebrates its world premiere with four engines, three body variants and two wheelbases. Mercedes-Benz presented the cross-country vehicle in February 1979. This agave-green 240 GD, as an open-top car with a short wheelbase, played an important role in this. It can be seen on a press image in which it is jumping weightlessly over a dune. The photograph was published for the debut of the G-model and continues to fascinate to this day.
230 G “Popemobile”, 1980 The “Popemobile” is perhaps the most famous Mercedes-Benz G-Class. It was made in 1980 for John Paul II in order to protect the Pope from wind and rain on his visit to Germany. After the assassination attempt in 1981 the superstructure received bullet-proof glazing. Following this, the special version based on the Mercedes-Benz cross-country vehicle accompanied the Holy Father on many trips.
230 G cabriolet of the Tramin voluntary fire service, 1982 Right from their start in February 1979 the Mercedes-Benz G-models were aimed at a broad customer base. Many aid organisations also chose the cross-country vehicle, such as the Tramin voluntary fire service in South Tyrol. The open-top model has been in use there as a command vehicle since 1982 and has also been proving its worth on impassable terrain.
300 GD for Franz Josef Strauß, 1982 The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is also ideal as a hunting vehicle: the former Bavarian minister-president Franz Josef Strauß recognised the benefits of the vehicle and drove this 300 GD for many years. It has special accessories such as electrically adjustable seats, an electrically powered sunroof and air conditioning. In a newspaper report Strauß praised the directional stability, the precise power steering, the all-wheel drive and the five-speed gearbox.
280 GE “Paris–Dakar”, 1983 (faithful reconstruction) Sporting successes inspire the image of the robust Mercedes-Benz cross-country vehicle. For example, this 280 GE won overall victory at the legendary Paris-Dakar Rally with Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur on 20 January 1983. The body was optimised in a wind tunnel and also made lighter than in the large-scale production thanks to several aluminium parts. A performance-enhanced six-cylinder engine is performing its magic under the bonnet.
Puch 280 GE, 1986 Home brand: the G-Class has been built in Graz by Steyr-Daimler-Puch (today: Magna Steyr) for 40 years. The site goes back to Puchwerke founded by Johann Puch in 1899. It is therefore apt that around a tenth of all Gs were sold under the brand name Puch from 1979 to 1999. The key areas are Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe.
300 GD “Otto”, 1988 Globetrotter: 26 years, 215 countries, almost 900,000 kilometres – these are the impressive career stats of “Otto”. This is what Gunther and Christine Holtorf dubbed their 300 GD, with which they travelled all around the world from 1989 to 2014. Around a third of their routes were off-road. The world tour means the standard cross-country vehicle now has its own entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. It has been a part of the Mercedes-Benz Museum collection since 2014.
G 63 AMG “half and half”, 2013 The G-Class doesn’t do things by half measures: it performs just as excellently in the extreme off-road as it does on asphalt. This applies to technology, design and equipment – with the G-Class you are always perfectly prepared. This G 63 AMG shows both sides: on the right, the fascinating axial flexibility of the chassis when off-road, and on the left, the sophisticated driving comfort on the road.
G 500 Cabriolet Final Edition 200, 2013 Open-top final: convertible versions have been a part of the G-Class since its premiere 40 years ago. However, production of the G-Class Cabriolet with a short wheelbase ended in 2014. The coveted “Final Edition 200” came out in 2013 and was made up of 200 type G 500 vehicles with black paint and sand-coloured soft top.
G 65 AMG Final Edition, 2017 The Mercedes-Benz G-Class and AMG: this is an ideal pairing as the sales success of the powerful cross-country vehicles shows. The G 65 AMG with a twelve-cylinder engine and 1,000 Newton metres of torque is legendary. To mark the end of production there was an exclusively equipped “Final Edition”. Both outside and in: everything of the highest quality. Go off-road in it? Not an option for most buyers. But it is good to know that it wouldn’t be a problem!
G 500 “300,000th”, 2017 Blue rarity: this G 500 is a unique specimen. In July 2017 it was precisely the 300,000th G to roll off the production line in Graz since 1979. The paint (designo mauritius blue metallic) and the equipment (black leather seats with white seams) was decided on by G-Class fans all around the world in a social media vote.
Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic