Merecedes-Benz has found their perfect niche in the market mastering both luxury town cars for a daily commute as well as beautiful sports cars to speed through the backroads. In fact, it was since inventing their first car in 1926 that Mercedes has set the standard of luxury that most automakers are still striving to achieve. With an ongoing streak of firsts in performance, driving, and safety there is a single passion Mercedes has that sets them so far above the competition. We believe Karl Benz, Mercedes original founder, said it best: The love of inventing never dies. A phrase still very much at the forefront of everything Mercedes-Benz does. In fact, it was this exact vision that lead Gordon Wagener to pair up with designer, Virgil Abloh.
In case that name does not ring a bell, Virgil Abloh is the head Creative Director for the Louis Vuitton men’s line as well as his own luxury fashion brand, Off-White. Abloh is a designer to be reckoned with as he rises in mainstream popularity and changes the way we think about luxury and fashion. It seems as though everything the rising designer touches turns to gold, and the Mercedes collaboration with Mercedes Chief Creative Director, Gordon Wagener, did not fall short of his creative genius. Together, the pair have reimagined the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, the automakers best selling model, and have brought this off roading machine straight to the race track.
Does this hashtag sound familiar? That’s because it is the official hashtag created by Abloh and Wagener when they started their Project Geländewagen – the original name given to the G-class model that was later changed in 1994. While this may seem like another collaboration added to Virgil’s roster, if we take a deeper dive behind the meaning and reason for this collaboration, we can see that really is another of Abloh’s attempts to change the course of luxury and how we define it. Although Abloh and Wagener would call it “rebuilding the luxury landscape”. Which is exactly what they did.
The reimagined G-wagen is an absolutely beautiful re-design of an already iconic Mercedes-Benz car. Pulling inspirations from NASCAR and other luxury hypercars, Abloh and Wagener played with the freedom of cross breeding different characteristics of cars and car design. First, they stripped the G-wagen of everything, got rid of all the seats, paneling, and flooring so that it was completely bare. This created a blank canvas for Abloh and Wagener to work off of. The vision was to create a sort of deconstructed luxury item, outside the norm of auto luxury. The collaboration takes on an entirely white glossy exterior, a lowered body frame for increased aerodynamics, as well as added racing fenders and racing tires (1). The racing tires feature a yellow font with the Mercedes-Benz name as well as “Geländewagen” in honor of the project. The exterior overall stays true to a classic G-wagen, but has small accents signature of Abloh such as X’s over whited-out headlights and light blue exhaust pipes giving it an almost prototype look.
The interior, however, is where the good stuff is at. The interior is gorgeously re-imagined take on G-wagen racing car and includes iconic race car features such as safety netting over all the windows and two over the shoulder seatbelt straps, one that reads “Abloh” and one that reads “Wagener”, buckling in the middle like any standard race car. The interior is completely white, matching the exterior, but has bright red and light blue (very similar to a Tiffany blue) accents running through the interior. Overall, the design is exactly what Virgil was aiming for, a deconstructed luxury car, taking on a nostalgic racing feel. In fact, many have described the interior as almost “toy like”. With metal switches, colorful buttons, many different gauges, and retro dashboard labels, the interior feels like a perfect mix between modern luxury and old-school racing.
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Can I Have One?
Because we’ve been wondering the same thing. When exactly can you expect to get your hands on one of these? Mark your calendars, because the date is September 14th. While this car is considered an art sculpture and isn’t actually drivable, the collaboration G-wagen has found its home at the Mercedes-Benz auto museum is Stuttgart, Germany. However, there will be a smaller display-sized replica auctioned off at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated sale, but advanced bidding will start on September 14th. All proceeds will go to an unannounced non-profit organization aimed to helping kids break into the art scene themselves – a passion close to Virgil Abloh’s heart. In fact, Abloh commented that his ultimate goal in this project with Mercedes-Benz was to inspire young artist, designers, engineers, and other creatives to question the statue quo. As Virgil redefines luxury, he works to pave the way for the next generation of artists to move into the art scene and find their own place in it (2).
As with anything Virgil does, the goal of Project Geländewagen is to turn the norm on its head and change the way we think about luxury and finer things. Not everything has to be all glitz and glam for it to be considered a high-end item, and Abloh puts this to the test with his vision of deconstructed luxury. The partnership between Abloh and Wagener has been nothing but organic from the moment they met, to the moment they started collaborating, to the moment the project was finished. Now more than ever, both Abloh and Wagener encourage young artist to do the same. Push your limits, challenge the status quo, and never be afraid to redefine the norms.