This summer, Mercedes-Benz’s Project Geländewagen has landed—with photos. The peculiar brand enhancement bridges high fashion and automotive design in a manner which is intended to broaden Mercedes’ persona.
Some readers may recall a similar Mercedes G-Wagen promotion from 2018, when a 1979 example was encased in a block of resin; at one and the same time, it became a historical curiosity and the prototypical SUV, ready to be discovered in a cave by some AI-driven Indiana Jones of the future.
This newest bit of Mercedes theatricality is the product of a meeting of two creative minds: that of Mercedes CDO Gorden Wagener, and that of Virgil Abloh, artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection. The project’s sensibilities lie in an assumed iconoclasm—design off-roading, if you will—and artisanal manufacturing techniques. The G-Wagen’s rugged utilitarianism is emphasized by the Project Geländewagen’s focus on simplicity and time-honored details and hands-on construction.
The exterior of the concept stands in direct opposition to that concentrated utility, however. It’s almost diaphanous in execution, with a glossy white paint job, exposed azure-colored pipes, and black tires with yellow lettering. Clearance is very limited, and the wagon’s interior is dominated by a non-digital style.
The final stop of Project Geländewagen will be the auction block, though; Mercedes plans to auction a single example of the concept.