If you thought the AMG-built Mercedes 280 GE 5.6 Sport from 1979 was interesting, wait until you see another performance-oriented G-Wagen. There’s a perfectly good reason why this G-Class has its own special place at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany as instead of a Mercedes engine, it’s packing a Porsche V8, specifically a 5.0-liter V8 unit taken from a 928 S4.
Completed in 1985, the unusual G - also known as a “Porsche in sheep’s clothing” - had 316 horsepower (235 kilowatts) and that was enough to give the off-road living legend a top speed of 112 mph (180 kph). The surgeons at Porsche’s racing department were in charge of the engine transplant, which was necessary to make the G suitable to perform its duties as a service car for Pharaoh’s Rally. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a rally-raid event held in Egypt and similar to the Dakar Rally.
The main idea behind the project was to have a seriously fast off-road vehicle able to keep up with the mighty 959 at all times and provide the necessary technical support. It lived up to the challenge by crossing the finish line second, after the rally-winning 959 supercar.
It’s always interesting when one automaker grabs an engine from another company, especially since in this particular case we’re talking about shoehorning a Porsche V8 in a G-Class. Car aficionados will remember this wasn’t a one-time thing as in the early 1990s, the hand-built Mercedes 500 E came into being with help from Porsche. If we were to go back in time, the six-wheeled T 80 (pictured above) was developed in 1939 to set a new world land speed record and was designed by none other than Ferdinand Porsche with a bonkers 3,500-hp V12 44.5-liter aircraft engine. Unfortunately, it never lived to fulfill its purpose as World War II started.