It turned heads at the Tokyo Auto Salon and only cost $9,000 to build.
Automotive enthusiasts of the world tend to frown upon replicas of expensive cars, but we implore you to give this one a sporting chance. At first glance it certainly appears to be a proper Mercedes-AMG G63 6x6, but such vehicles in Japan are both rare and quite expensive – like $700,000 expensive. So 12 students enrolled at Japan’s Nihon Automotive Technology School (NATS) decided to build one. And yes, they did it with a budget of just $9,000.
The donor vehicle – or rather vehicles – are a pair of Suzuki Jimny JA11 models from the 1990s. Think Suzuki Samuri with a few differences for the Japanese market, among them a turbocharged three-cylinder good for about 60 horsepower. To create the extra axle in back the team basically cannibalized the rear frame on one Jimny and welded it to the other. The pickup-style bed was completely fabricated from scratch, including the roll bar and functioning tail gate. And since the real deal actually has a wood floor in the bed, the students airbrushed their steel floor to look the part.
Up front the Suzuki uses a proper Mercedes grille and bumper, though the components had to be scaled down to fit the considerably smaller Suzuki. The lighting is all accurate to the big AMG as well, complete with functioning LEDs.
Mechanically speaking, the Suzuki is pretty much stock. Brake and fuel systems were modified of course, given the extra length and axle. Unfortunately, pretty much stock means it isn’t a true 6x6, and with the stock engine in place it’s also not exactly brisk.
But that wasn’t the point of the build. NATS offers four different courses for students interested in an automotive career, starting with maintenance and going through customization, research, and motorsports. The school regularly sends custom vehicles to the famous Tokyo Auto Salon show in January, and this AMG recreation certainly stood out in the crowd.
Sometimes replicas can be a bit on the cheesy side, but we have nothing but respect for this build. Well done NATS.