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Despite a slight increase in price, The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is somewhat unique in that you could line the current G-Wagen up next to the first one ever built in 1979, and they would still be recognizably the same vehicle. In fact, there isn’t much change at all, short of technical developments. However, Mercedes-Benz has decided that it would take advantage of the G-Wagen’s clear lineage and built the 500,000th G-Class in the coolest retro spec we’ve ever seen. 

500,00th Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Retro Mercedes-Benz G-Class | Mercedes-Benz

What is the 500,000th Mercedes G-Class modeled after?

Despite the nameplate starting in 1979, the version Mercedes chose to honor was the 1986 280 GE model. The Drive explains that the attractive exterior is finished in a lovely retro Agave Green with an equally retro checkered fabric for the interior.  

Mercedes did a great job paying homage to the G-Wagens of yesterday by focusing on the details. While the G-Class has had the same shape indicators for years, the shade of the plastic has changed. Mercedes went as far as to make custom indicator lenses to perfectly make the color of the ‘86 280 GE. Mercedes even dressed the badging, wheels, and the spare wheel cover in the early G-Class dress code.

There is at least one difference, though

Unlike the original G-Class, which came with four engine options ranging from 72 hp to 150 hp, the 500,000th G-Class is still built on the current-gen platform, which has a 415-hp twin-turbo V8. While the G63 has an even crazier 577-hp powerplant, Merc decided not to go there. 

The G-Wagen gonna be a G-Wagen next week

The 500,000th Mercedes-Benz G-Class got a special retro design
500,00th Mercedes-Benz G-Class | Mercedes-Benz

Although the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has grown into a monstrous luxurious, and pricy SUV, it is still a proper SUV and always has been. The G-Wagen never went down the dark and tempting path of the rounded-edged, soft chassis crossover. It never sacrificed its roots to comply with the times. The Mercedes G-Wagen is still a tried and true ladder chassis 4×4 that will off-road with the best ‘em. Sure, there are some silly 6×6 versions and hyper-luxurious AMG offerings. 

As we covered a little while ago, there is also an electric G-Class in the works that will likely be a major departure from the G-Class we are used to. However, we have yet to be let down by the G-Wagen, at least as far as it staying true to its rugged roots. 

Mercedes knows its roots

This retro build is fun. It shows a light-hearted side of an otherwise fairly no-nonsense automaker. We love to see builds like this because it injects some spirit and whimsy into the car world. Automotive manufacturing used to have a lot more of this in the 1960s and 1970s, in particular, but these days, that light-hearted spirit is hard to find. 

We love everything about this retro 4×4 and hope we get to see more like it in the future.