Stories of the G.

The G-Class is at home all over the world in every terrain – both 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 special exhibition.

An overview:

  • Duration: 18 October 2019 to 27 September 2020
  • Where: Collection room 5
  • Entry: Included in the day ticket
Vehicles and exhibits.

Eleven vehicles and countless further exhibits inspire with colourful stories all about the oldest model series of the brand. For example, the legendary 100 percent: overcoming a gradient of this enormous incline is amongst the outstanding off-road capabilities of the G. What this means can be tested by visitors of the exhibition themselves on a correspondingly steep ramp. Will they match the climbing capabilities of the cross-country vehicle?

240 GD, 1979.

An agave-green 240 GD as an open-top car with a short wheelbase played a special role in the world premiere of the G-model in February 1979. It can be seen on a press image in which it is jumping weightlessly over a dune. The photo was published for the debut of the G-model and continues to fascinate to this day.

Today in a private collection: the original 240 GD, which took off over a dune for the world premiere of the G.

Perhaps the most famous G-Class of all: Pope John Paul II in his Mercedes-Benz 230 G with registration number SCV 7. 

230 G “Popemobile”, 1980.

The “Popemobile” is perhaps the most famous 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 body received bullet-proof glazing. After 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 G-models were aimed at a broad customer base. Many aid organisations also chose the cross-country vehicle – such as the Tramin voluntary fire brigade in South Tyrol. There, the open-top model has been in use as a command vehicle since 1982 and also proves itself on impassable terrain.

Friend and helper: the Tramin voluntary fire brigade in South Tyrol bought this Mercedes-Benz 230 GE in the early 1980s as a command vehicle in the rare version as a short, open-top car.

On the hunt with the G: this 300 GD belonged to former Bavarian minister-president Franz-Josef Strauß.

300 GD of Franz-Josef Strauß, 1982.

The 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.

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. There is a performance-enhanced six-cylinder engine working under the bonnet.

Robust athlete: Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur won the 5th Paris–Dakar Rally with a Mercedes-Benz 280 GE rally vehicle (start number 142) from 1 to 20 January 1983.

Also available as a Puch up to 1999: for example, in Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe, the G carried the signet of the Austrian brand instead of the Mercedes star.

Puch 280 GE, 1986.

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.

26 years, 215 countries and 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.

Global citizens: “Otto” is the name of the Mercedes-Benz 300 GD belonging to Gunther and Christine Holtorf from 1989 until 2014, with which they travelled the entire world. For example, in 2007 they explored Thailand.

Be it off-road or on a boulevard: the Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG cuts a fine figure in any terrain.

G 63 AMG “half and half”, 2013.

The G-Class does nothing by half: 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 intertwining opportunities of the chassis when off-road, and on the left, the cultivated driving comfort on the road.

G 500 Cabriolet Final Edition 200, 2013.

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.

A fine G 500 Cabriolet “Final Edition” to finish: for 35 years, the G was also available in an open-top version. The production of the cabriolet ended in 2014.

Twelve cylinders and 1,000 Newton metres torque: the G 65 AMG is legendary.

G 65 AMG Final Edition, 2017.

The G-Class and AMG are 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 inside: 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.

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.

The 300,000th G-Class was built in July 2017. The landmark vehicle, a G 500 from the 463 model series in designo mauritius blue metallic, rolled off the production line at Magna Steyr in Graz (Austria).

World premiere of the G-Class in 1979: there were four engines, two wheelbases and five different body versions available for the 460 model series at market launch.

The off-road technology.

Alongside the vehicles, the technology of the G-Class is also demonstrated. For example, there is the cutaway model of a rear axle offering an unobstructed view of the transfer case and differential locks that make the G a climbing champion – even in extreme terrain. The off-road technology has always been kept state-of-the-art over the years.

More information.