The Land Rover Defender is the great-granddad of overlanding. Over the last couple of decades, builders have taken the Defender from rough-neck mud dog to a tweed jacketed, New England vacation-house truck. We have seen an excess of six-figure, leather-clad, halogen headlight, LS-swapped off-road monsters who only ever touch dirt for a posed picture in front of the family estate for Christmas. Although the Mercedes G-Wagen represents much of the same pretend off-road poshness, the older ones come from a similar type of war machine background.
The Mercedes G-Wagen, Like the Defender, was a crude military workhorse. In the US, we only ever got the fancy-schmancy version of the German military trucks. For that reason, some of us may be surprised to know that the Mercedes G-Wagen has quite humble roots that make in-the-know off-roaders drool. Well, the folks at Expedition Motor Company is showing off what many of us may have been missing this whole time.
Expedition Motor Company’s 1991 Mercedes G-Wagen 250D “Wolf”
With a nickname like “wolf,” you better believe these bad boyz got teeth. MotorTrend highlights the tough restomod house, Expedition Motor Company. The aptly named builders source vintage G-Wagens and give them the whole-nine-yards of off-road bolstering. This type of no-holds-bar restomoding is usually reserved for the Land Rover Defender and Land Crusier types.
Part of the reason we don’t see G-Wagens get this sort of treatment often is that these Mercedes-Benze off-roaders are simply better vehicles that don’t always need it. That said, I’m sure as hell glad Expedition Motor Company is doing it, though.
The G-Wagen Wolf keeps its heart
Unlike many of the Land Cruiser and Land Rover creations, this ‘91 G-Wagen 250D has the original 5-cylinder diesel engine. It has been completely gone through and revitalized, making it strong, reliable, and just like new.
The transmission, like the engine, is the original. The builders as Expedition completely disassembled it, cleaned it, and gave it all new seals, finished surfaces, and a brand new clutch. The transfer case for the 4×4 got all the same treatment with complete disassembly, cleaning, and resealing.
The body and frame
The folks at Expedition Motor Company say they have over 1,000 hours in this truck. The farther we get into the build, the more that figure starts to make sense. The new/vintage G-Wagen’s body is original but stripped completely to bare metal. Also, any sheet metal issues were seen to before an anti-rust primer and a full repaint. Of course, the exterior wasn’t the only thing dealt with.
Mercedes G-Wagen slightly reimagined interior
The interior was completely remade, along with all wiring and electronics. The builders had the good taste to leave the dash and interior style as close to original as possible. The interior feels closer to a slightly toned down Singer than it does any of the flashy Land Cruisers or Land Rovers. Expedition Motor Company excels in showing restraint and taste by utilizing mostly original parts and styles. Although it’s subtle and classy, there is no mistaking an original G-Wagen with one of the remastered wolves.
This 1991 Mercedes-Bezne G-Wagen 250D is beautifully and thoughtfully gone through. While these trucks are slightly updated, they remain an honest off-road hog. The Land Rover builder equivalents are equally nice (if not nicer) and just as capable, but there is a different spirit between the two. The Expedition Motor Company’s G-Wagens feel like they are meant to be worked hard. According to MotorTrend, this particular one is currently available for $102,150. Compared to a new G-Wagen, it’s a no-brainer.