#FailFriday: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 240GD

$_57 (5)

While it looks very similar to the models that have been rolling out of Germany since 1979, most of the G-classes we see in the US are of the W463 variety, an update that ushered in the 1990s. While the 11-year run of the W460/461 chassis probably seemed long at the time, I don’t think anyone could have guessed that the W463 would still be produced 25 years later. While the actual aesthetic differences are few, I much prefer the older W460/1 models as they very rarely look like soft-roaders and usually carry a little more patina, history, and toughness.

Today’s flat-black with green canvas top looks pretty mean and would likely be unstoppable off-road, but the devil is in the details. While the owner claims it has covered just 8,000km or 5,000 miles, the close-up pictures show some rust hidden under the too-easy black respray. Combined with a weak description, its potential is overwhelmed by more questions than answers and a terribly optimistic price.

Click for details: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 240GD on eBay

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 280GE

It’s hard to believe that the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen has been with us for 35 years. In an era when Mercedes styling has become more daring than ever, this boxy truck has defied trends and continues to offer unmatched levels of off-road prowess with the latest luxuries. Once Mercedes-Benz started officially importing this model to the US, however, the G-wagen became a bit soft around the edges, losing a bit of that simple ruggedness that endeared it to military and rescue services the world over. This earlier, imported 280GE for sale in California, however, is set up for the more hardcore enthusiast, looking quite purposeful in black with large, slatted roof rack. Equipped with a higher horsepower, Euro spec M110 inline-6, it has been certified as 50 state legal.

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 300GD

While the Unimog Doka I wrote up a few days back is truly a vehicle I desire, I can admit that it’s probably not the most practical vehicle in the world. Navigating the ultimate Mercedes-Benz off-roader around local roads would likely be fun at first, but I can envision it ultimately being a headache. I recently watched a clip of Jeremy Clarkson rolling around England in a Hummer H1, and I imagine the Unimog would be similar. While it’s not exactly as tight as Cambridge, England cart paths around here in New England, nor is it like Texas. What makes more sense for a rugged, go anywhere, impossible to kill commuter? Well, we’re back to a G-Wagen, of course!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300GD on eBay

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 250GD

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I’m always interested in old-school G-wagens that kick the sparkly stuff in the faces of the people that see them as accessories similar to those watches with 4-inch faces, or 30 lbs of platinum tennis bracelets. This almost 30-year old green example is in fantastic shape from less than 60k miles, but it eschews the standard glitz and chrome for a great green and flat black exterior. The extra kick to the 1%’s groin is instead of “V8 Biturbo” on the side, it says “Schnitzel.” Yep. Be careful when you sit in any of the NINE seats, because there’s a strong chance you’ll get some serious awesome rubbed off on you.

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 280GE

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As much as I think all the fancy AMG G55s and G63s I see around (not to mention the unobtanium G63 6-wheeler) are interesting thought exercises in mechanical dissonance, I’d much rather have a “real” G-wagen in my garage. Something like this 280GE would do just fine, as it spent much of its life with an off-road guiding company. Hell yes. It looks like the business on big BFGoodrich 33s with a winch and the perfectly-classic light blue. The interior looks nice enough for me, but there are some rust spots that may need attention. Or not, and you can keep driving this thing on and off-road like the badass it is, knowing that a few scuffs just add to its story.

Click for more details: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 280GE on eBay

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 300GD

An entire generation vehicles has passed since the introduction of of the Mercedes-Benz Gelädewagen in 1979. Time marches on and even though there have been rumors over the past decade of this off-road vehicles imminent demise, this beast continues to soldier on, looking not too dissimilar from the day it debuted. Even though SUVs have been wildly popular here in the US for the last two decades, it wasn’t until 2002 that Mercedes-Benz gifted us this vehicle, as the only G-Wagens to arrive here before that were imported via Europa Motors in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This 1988 model has been worked over, with a 300SD motor installed and a specialty gearbox with low range. Painted in dark green with flared fender arches and a snorkel, this G looks ready to tackle just about anything that stands in its way.

1988 Mercedes-Benz 300GD on eBay

Up for sale is a nineteen 88 Mercedes 300GD turbodiesel with a 5-speed Wolf crawl gearbox. This truck was born a 300GD diesel with a 5 cilinder 617 engine coupled to a 5-speed Getrag gearbox. The truck still has its original forest green color with its original brown plaid interior. It has front and rear diff. locks, high and low 4X4 transfer box, RPM meter, snorkel on alternator, headlamp washers, fog lights front and rear, wiper and washer on rear door, front towpin and tow hitch and a set L/R front Mercedes G 460 rubber mats. The following modifications were made using only original Mercedes or Mercedes suppliers parts.

-ORC lift kit, both axles, with shocks 15cm. (www.orc.de)
-R.H. deep dish alloy rims 8.5J X 15 special G-wagon rims. (www.RH-alurad.de)
-17 cm Mercedes fender extenders matching the RH rims. the widest extenders Mercedes ever offered.
-Wolf, 711-116, gearbox out of a military 250GD. This gearbox has an extreem low first crawl gear.

Model number: G1/18-5/6.15. It is a super strong cast iron made in Gaggenau, Germany gearbox.
Reverse 5,347:1
1st gear 6,157:1
2nd gear 3,148:1
3rd gear 1,743:1
4th gear 1,278:1
5th gear 1:1

– 5 cil 617A turbodiesel engine out of a 1985 300SD. Car had 160kmi with a rebuild cylinder head.
– Set of ORC rock-sliders bolted, not welded, under L and R rocker panels.
-METAL Mercedes-G snorkel, from drivers seat not visable, hidden behind windshield post.
This snorkel also serves as an intercooler providing cold air straight into the air cleaner.
-Mercedes-G outside sunvisor.
-W463 functional vents in RF and LF fenders. A metal passage way was fabricated to allow hot air to escape the engine compartment.
-New Pro-Comp 15X12.50X35 tires.
-Truck was professionally repainted in its original factory color.
-Roof panel was painted in white.
-New heavy duty Sachs clutch plate, throw-out bearing, pilot bearing and clutch slave cilinder.
-Factory gaskets between bell housing and engine & bell housing and gearbox for water tightness.
-Correct new Wolf shift knob, Wolf shift mechanism and Wolf shift linkage rods.
-Larger capacity 300SD (617A) oil cooler was installed.
-Swiss Army foldable emergency shovel with matching leather holster mounted next to rear door on inside.
-Custom exhaust thru the chassis pipe, this was done to achieve optimal ground clearance.
-Turbo emblem on rear panel.

All filters and fluids were checked or changed. Engine was resealed while it was out on the bench. A lot of time, effort and $’s were invested in this truck in addition to help from knowledgeable and dedicated G-wagon experts from the USA and Europe. We have now created a beast that can be put up against any Mercedes G-wagon, especially new ones, and come out the winner every time. I have a free and clear title in my name, will assist with shipping. We have run the truck on WVO, he loves it! The snorkel, turbo and exhaust produce a nice whine especially under load. Sale is not complete until a Bill of Sale has been signed by both buyer and seller. Good Luck Bidding!!

I have 1 more G1/18-5/6.15 Mercedes Gaggenau cast-iron 5-speed gearbox available. Top Gear contacted me to have this G appear in their program!

Before Mercedes-Benz starting importing them officially, Geländewagens used to command high values, even when used. Today, the market for them is still strong, but I’m not sure if it is quite as strong as the asking price on this particular 300GD. While it has an impressive amount of equipment and work done to it, I’d estimate we might be about $5,000 to $10,000 too high, as I’ve seen similar vintage two-door Geländewagens on offer in that range. I could be wrong, however, as there are certainly G-wagon devotees out there who are willing to lay down a lot of cash for what amounts to one of the most capable off-road vehicles ever built.

-Paul