How Mercedes Sealed a 1979 G-Wagon in a 52-Ton Amber Cube
Life PR finds a way.” In 2018, the Mercedes-Benz marketing team wanted to make a grand entrance to the Detroit Auto Show with the arrival of the new G-Glass. Notably, G-Wagon fans often reminisce of the early days, referencing the OG trail-ripping wagons of the late 70s. Mercedes felt that the best way to preserve and appreciate an original model was to pour 40,000 liters of resin on it.
In Hamburg, Germany, a team spent 8,892 hours encasing a 1979 G-Glass 280 GE in 40,708 liters of liquid amber. By flipping and suspending the car on its side, the team could slowly build and fill a square frame serving as a giant bucket for the resin. The framework was removed when the resin was set.
Upon completion, they shipped the 52-ton cube from Hamburg to the 2018 Detroit Auto Show with the slogan “Stronger than time.” The cube was placed outside the show’s entrance. It became the most photographed display at the event.
G-Wagon’s early days are worth preserving
The Gelandewagen was first created as an ultra-capable military box and offered to the general public in 1979. Ahead of the launch, the G-Glass was put through nine weeks of rigorous testing in Tunisia in 1978.
The early wagons are known more for brute resilience than luxury. Mercedes added the comforts of their luxury sedans in 2002, with price tags to match. A 2024 G-Glass starts off at $143,000. This isn’t much different from 2018, when the G-Glass base was listed for $124k, with the 4×4 Squared demanding a hair more than $228,000. A 4.0L twin-turbo V8 comes standard in the G-class. Today, the G 550 makes 416 hp, while the G 63 touts a surly 577 hp. Big change is coming with the announcement that Mercedes will offer an all-electric EQG wagon for 2025.
Ultimately, driving any year and whichever trim will put a smile on your face. Which is why I can’t help but feel a bit sad about this wagon’s fate. While history is worth preserving, I’m not sure I believe in making cars completely useless. A drop in the bucket, I suppose.