38 years later, the G-Wagen is a living legend.
38 years in continuous production at the Magna Steyr factory in Graz, Austria, the G-Class is an automotive icon that’s still going strong even after all of these years. Originally developed for military purposes, it was on the verge of being phased out in the late 1990s when the M-Class (GLE today) was launched to act as its successor. The off-road machine managed to survive and is now more popular than ever considering it has established a new sales record every single year since 2012, with Mercedes moving close to 20,000 units in 2016.
The G-Class number 300,000th is a G500 version finished in Designo Mauritius Blue Metallic while on the inside it has received black leather upholstery with white stitching. The vehicle’s final appearance was chosen following a public voting on the model’s official Facebook page where fans decided Mercedes should also install the optional off-road package encompassing a roof rack and black 16-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires.
One of the oldest nameplates on sale today, the G-Class’ inception dates back to 1972 when ex Daimler-Benz AG (now Daimler AG) and ex Steyr-Daimler-Puch (now Magna Steyr) inked a deal to work on the brick-shaped G-Wagen. Three years later, an agreement was reached to start series production (mostly by hand) at a new factory. On February 1, 1979, the first G-Class rolled off the only assembly line.
In its near four-decade life cycle, the G has been subjected to quite a few changes, though it may not seem like it judging solely by its exterior appearance. The most important modification occurred in 1990 when the W463 series was introduced, but there were other updates throughout the years. Latest developments include some rather unusual projects, such as the G63 AMG 6x6, the G500 4x42, and the downright opulent G650 Landaulet branded as a Maybach model.
Mercedes is preparing to introduce a massively modified G-Class, but one that will stay true to its roots by keeping the boxy styling, body-on-frame configuration, and of course, the off-road chops with low-range gearing and three differentials. The new model will be four inches (10 centimeters) wider and is going to boast a front independent suspension once it will debut sometime next year.