Mercedes-Benz G-Class Hails Half-Million Mark with Retro One-Off
Mercedes-Benz has now built 500,000 G-wagens in 44 years, and it celebrates the occasion with a retro-themed one-off.The one-of-a-kind G-class features a vintage look inspired by the 1986 280GE model.Along with Agave Green paint, the boxy SUV has amber turn signals, enlarged badges, a roof rack, and throwback interior details.
Forty-four years after the first Mercedes-Benz G-class rolled off the assembly line in Graz, Austria, the 500,000th example does the same in memorable fashion. To commemorate hitting the half-million mark, Mercedes has transformed the milestone model into a one-of-a-kind G-wagen with a vintage look.
The German automaker obviously has a long history of Geländewagens it could have used for the inspiration behind this retro-themed one-off. In the end, the company selected the 1986 280GE. While it’s unclear why exactly Mercedes chose that model, the 280GE featured the top gas-burning powertrain during the W460 generation (1980—1991). Its modern counterpart also wears Agave Green paint (one of the first colors available on early versions) and sees its clear turn signals on top of the fenders revert back to their classic amber color.
Along with the throwback paint job, the half-millionth G-class has a black front fascia with guards protecting its round headlights. The black treatment extends to its fender flares and traces the lower body molding to the rear bumper. Out back, there’s a spare-tire carrier with an enlarged version of the brand’s three-point star logo. There’s also a rear-mounted ladder to provide easier access to the roof rack. A set of silver five-spoke wheels round out the one-off’s most notable details.
Mercedes didn’t provide any interior images of the special G, but the company says the seat inserts feature fabric with a checkered pattern reminiscent of past models. There’s also said to be Agave Green lettering on the passenger-side grab handle that reads “No. 500,000.”
A refreshed version of the Mercedes-Benz G-class sounds like it’s in the works for the 2024 model year. Of course, there’s also an all-electric variant coming. We’ve only seen the EQG concept, but Mercedes has said the production version won’t be dramatically different. Either way, if the company ever makes it to 1 million G-wagens, the majority of the next 500,000 models will likely be electric.
G-Wagen: Past, Present, and Future
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Eric Stafford’s automobile addiction began before he could walk, and it has fueled his passion to write news, reviews, and more for Car and Driver since 2016. His aspiration growing up was to become a millionaire with a Jay Leno–like car collection. Apparently, getting rich is harder than social-media influencers make it seem, so he avoided financial success entirely to become an automotive journalist and drive new cars for a living. After earning a degree at Central Michigan University and working at a daily newspaper, the years of basically burning money on failed project cars and lemon-flavored jalopies finally paid off when Car and Driver hired him. His garage currently includes a 2010 Acura RDX, a manual ’97 Chevy Camaro Z/28, and a ’90 Honda CRX Si.