British army officers in World War I wore Thomas Burberry’s magnificent trench coat. It was actually an evolution that it would emerge from the stinking horror of combat and become a fashion statement by the Second World War. Many high-end items of this calibre come from conflict.



One such example is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which was initially developed for the Iranian military but ended up being used as an attack vehicle by West Germany and NATO during the Cold War. The G-class only operated as a glorified Rodeo Travel shopping cart during the last half of its 44-month operation thwarting Soviets and protecting popes.

not this specific one. Our grey 250GD, “Wolf,” is a reference to the early W461 two-doorways made for police, fire departments, and the military. This 250GD was rescued from a German scrap yard and rebuilt fresh from the moment it left the Magna Steyr factory. It is an excellent choice for the G’s main mission.

A 250GD from Expedition Motor Corporation, in contrast to many vintage-SUV restomods, rumbles with the same diesel inline-five and extensive-toss manual gearbox that the German military ordered in 1991. Anyone familiar with low-horsepower common cars is aware of the protocol in today’s traffic: Combine very carefully and adhere to the ideal. An EMC 250GD is barely moving over 55 mph in the 15.6 seconds it typically takes an AMG G63 to reach 120 mph. This is assuming you don’t start out in crawler gear or mess up an upshift, which is not difficult given the 250GD’s changing linkage.

Alex Levin, the creator of EMC, prefers it this way. In Belarus, he used to operate a 300GD while sitting on his father’s knee. When his family came to visit after moving to the United States when he was two years old, the white Mercedes hardtop with the clattering engine and knobby tyres was waiting. Levin, 33, has never broken his ties to his country. With one specific goal in mind, he started Expedition Motor Enterprise in 2017 with the nastiest G-class.

To restore these elements, he said, “You have to have some kind of roots in Europe.” To arrange the entire chain side by side is really difficult. Only two-door diesel gentle-tops from 1990 to 1993 are the only cars that Levin scavenges from the unique Euromarket and rebuilds there and in Germany. The restoration is a body-off process that will take about 2000 hours to complete. When Mercedes parts are hard to get, his team fabricates them using machines or 3-D printers. In a given year, Levin sells about 30 models out of his shop in Frenchtown, New Jersey.

The 2.5-liter OM602.939, ironically referred to as the “whisper diesel,” receives a thorough rebuild and an enhanced fuel supply that liberate two precious ponies over the low production of 91 horsepower and 117 pound-toes from the stock configuration. The Wolf does not have a centre differential, in contrast to later G-course models. It might have a part-time four-wheel-drive configuration like a 4Runner. Simply learn the German acronyms for 2WD, 4WD Hi, and 4WD Lo, Strasse, Strasse Allrad, and Gelände Allrad. The axle lockers are operated by two plungers. In low range with the cheapest equipment, stalling is actually impossible.

The larger pistons on the front brake callipers and the urethane suspension bushings on the entry axle, which improve wheel control on the highway, are only two of the compromises made to modern engineering and consumer demands. Levin does not advise travelling on motorways, but we drove the EMC 250GD to 70 mph for research purposes. The only negative effect was a speaker deal coming loose. As far as emotion goes, there isn’t much at that speed because the manual steering is light and full of shivering terror. The diesel five is simple from idle to whatever the redline is (there is no tach), in spite of its tractor-like sounds. Wear a KN95 mask when the cold weather arrives, but be aware that the first few minutes will be difficult and extremely toxic.

Levin is at least considerate enough to add features like a main radio, a Manager Audio head unit with a backup camera, functional air conditioning, and electric powered heating for all four seats. A teak console with cupholders and further lovely woodwork running along the side panels and cargo flooring may be found. A 5-speed automatic Mercedes is the most opulent choice.

Everything else is designed to be awkward. The tender major must stretch above the frame and tie its straps through 35 loops in 20 minutes. Make sure your passengers are wearing seatbelts because the rear seats are securely fixed atop ammo boxes. Other military accessories include bumper hooks for helicopter transfer, a fold-down windscreen and a jerrycan.

Despite—or perhaps just because of—the Wolf’s limitations, much more than a hundred people have written checks to EMC. Although Mercedes does offer civilians some armed forces aptitude with the G Professional package for the G550, that essentially just purchases a roof rack and ladder. The $165,000 sticker is more than you would pay for a new G550 (at least ahead of solutions and seller markup). If a real war machine is what you’re looking for, EMC typically produces the real thing.