For those of you who aren’t familiar with Virgil Abloh, he’s currently the Chief Executive Officer of Off-White, a streetwear brand that’s gained a ton of notoriety in recent years for their collaborations with major brands like Nike and Adidas. But today Abloh and Mercedes-Benz pulled the silk off of a different type of collaboration: a new take on the famed Mercedes G-Class.
Project Geländewagen, as it is called, is essentially half art car, half race car—but the result is nothing like as beautiful as the BMW art cars of old. Abloh and Wagner have taken the G-Wagen to extremes in all areas. The exterior is entirely white, with a massively distressed look to it that, frankly, makes the car look like it’s been sitting in a barn for 30 years. The car itself sits on massive monoblock rims that mimic the look of the wheels on the original AMG Hammer and is slammed right down onto its side skirts for no good reason.
The highlight of the collaboration is the interior, but not all of it, just the white-leather trimmed and carbon fiber-backed racing seats that look absolutely stunning. The rest of the interior, however, is just a scaled-up Hot Wheels toy. There’s no interior paneling, and most of the high-quality leather and metal finishings have been either stripped away or replaced with plastic. There’s also a light blue roll-cage, a set of analog dials where the infotainment stack used to be, and red Xs on the air vents because design.
The G-Wagen has seen a ton of different iterations over the years. Everything from a Maybach Landaulet version to a behemoth 6×6—all of which paired style with functionality in some proportion. This is just design for design’s sake, which explains its outrageous and exaggerated features. Abloh said his “ultimate goal in this project with Mercedes-Benz is inspiring young artists, engineers, designers to question the status quo.”
Sure, whatever. Slamming an SUV isn’t new or crazy, just so we’re clear. Project Geländewagen won’t be able to launch over dunes like its 6×6 cousin, but it will support the arts. It’s being auctioned for charity through Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated series, and bidding starts on September 14, 2020.
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