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In the desert with the prototype.

The prototype of the G-Class underwent its first tests in 1978. See photos of the original G during test drives in the Sahara, and witness the birth of the legend.

How the G-Class became an off-roader.

The sand dune towers above it like a mountain. The G-Class remains completely unimpressed. It accelerates smartly up to the top, overcoming the obstacle with ease. One year before the launch of the first G-Class, a team from Mercedes-Benz set off to thoroughly test every aspect of the off-roader in the Tunisian desert. Driver Heinrich Wangler looks back: 'We really put the G-Class under the microscope, and were constantly amazed at its capabilities.' This developed into a competition between the drivers and the G-Class, to see which would reach their limits first. Today it surprises nobody that the G-Class emerged the winner.

A nine-week adventure.

The arrival in Tunis was followed by nine weeks of intensive testing, during which the G-Class was subjected to the most gruelling trials to ascertain its off-road capabilities. 1978 in North Africa – at the time a truly exotic adventure that is scarcely imaginable nowadays. Two different worlds encountered each other. 'It was a different time. It was a different world. Only the G-Class was already the G-Class,' is how driver Heinrich Wangler summarises the nine-week test period in the Sahara.

'It was a different time. It was a different world. Only the G-Class was already the G-Class.'

Heinrich Wangler

Stone impact under the palm-trees.

The team showed plenty of imagination and a talent for improvisation during the individual test runs: during the stone impact tests, for example, the G-Class followed a vehicle that was towing bunches of palm-leaves.

This threw small stones into the air, into the path of the G-Class. The procedure was repeated for days on end – with results that are still valid today: the G-Class is robust, tough and resistant.

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