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


Year: 1985
Model: 300GD
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-5
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 102,263 mi
Price: No Reserve Auction

European VIN# 46033217040180
First licensed: 11/20/1985
Country of make: Germany
Country of origin: Spain
Previous owers: 2
Mileage (KM): 164,577 km (102,263 miles)
Title: clear Florida title

The story:

I bought this Gelandewagen from a heavy equipment company that had been using it for surveillance purposes in the mountains of Spain. After refreshing all fluids (transmission, differential, engine oil, P/S, clutch) I drove it for 600 miles to Wichita, KS. In Wichita it got some rust repair and minor mechanicals; from there it was shipped to its current location in Tallahassee (FL), where it had a few more minor repairs done (fuel gauge, dash lights, braking system bled, headlight doors). Despite not being a rocketship, it can cruise comfortably at 70+ miles per hour with astonishing stability. Still, keep in mind this bank vault on wheels is a heavy industrial vehicle, and not a sports car. It has some minor modifications (stereo, recaro seats), but all mechanicals/suspension are bone stock. As it is, it would be a perfect candidate to modify into a compact expedition rig, or invest some money in making it perfect. Most, if not all parts are readily available at Eurotruck Importers in the USA.

Body:
—Rust: no chronic rust in this G-Wagen. The tail-lamp panels are still solid and presentable, but should you want them to be perfect, they are $200 a piece at Eurotruck.
—Some parts show some body filler repairs, especially under the windshield and under the rear side windows. Still, these are flat metal panels that are easy to repair.
—Driver’s door takes some effort to close due to a bent hinge. Previous owner was a 300-pound bear of a man, he must have leaned on the door.
—Frame is as solid as it can be. There is absolutely no rot or piercing rust, perhaps some oxidation that can easily be brushed off.
—Car comes with all 5 stock G-Wagen alloy wheels and the correct size tires in perfectly useable condition (drove 600 miles with no problems).
—Some of the rubber trim is beginning to show cracks, yet the headlight doors are brand new from Mercedes-Benz.
—Glass is all intact with no cracks or chips. The truck also comes with a factory tow hook and a front skid plate!

Mechanicals:
—The absolute smoothest NA OM617 diesel I have ever heard in all my years of looking, owning and restoring old Mercedes diesels. New valve cover gasket.
—Four-speed manual transmission shifts fine, and has a new clutch master cylinder, hose, and the entire system bled with new fluid.
—There is some wetness around the oil pan, normal for a 30-year-old vehicle. In 600 miles, it did not need any oil top-offs.
—All lights (front, rear, sides), instruments (odo, fuel gauge, glowplug, temp) and dashboard indicators work as they should.
—Rare factory A/C system is all there, but I am not sure on its operating condition.
—Factory lockers need a hydraulic hose rebuilt to be operational.

Interior:
—Previous owner replaced the original front seats with Recaro seats. They are very comfortable for long trips. Rear seats are factory plaid bench seats.
—Dashboard has some cracks, but comes with a set of level gauges and a reading lamp for your copilot.
—Headliner is fine, as are the door panels and rubber mats in the truck.

Final Assessment

As I said earlier, this Gelandewagen is not perfect, and I do not expect it to sell for the price of a new one. Should you need more detailed pictures, you can find them in this album. As it is, you can drive it anywhere in North America and perhaps make some friends at the local 4×4 event. Should you want to make it a forever-truck, invest in some minor bodywork, give it a shiny coat of new paint, fix the air conditioning system, address the locker hose issue, replace some gaskets, and perhaps swap the interior for W463 leather. My life priorities are changing and I have no use for a 4-wheeler. I hope this Spanish Gelandewagen (nicknamed ‘Olivo’) will find a suitable owner who will take good care of it for many years to come.

Purchase Terms

—This truck is sold where-is, in as-is condition without any warranties. I have done my best to describe it faithfully, so if you have any questions, please ask away!
—Please abstain from joy-bidding or flaking in the last minute. All bids are final, so please place yours if you are really, really sure.
—A $1,000 USD non-refundable deposit is due via PayPal at the end of the auction. The rest shall be paid via bank transfer.

With a child in tow, a long wheel base G-wagen would really make more sense for my family – but I enjoy the charm of the short-wheel versions. While I have to say I firmly “don’t get” the Jeep Wranger, for some reason this 300GD makes sense to me. I love the color combination, but I wish the front Recaro seats had the matching plaid fabric to the back. The alloys are perfect and, as is the slight patina – these are work vehicles, let’s not forget, so they’re suppose to look a bit worn. The diesel motor won’t win any drag races, but like the Audi 5-cylinder they’re solid long-lived motors and will keep ticking over in any condition. I just love the simple pre-AMG G-Wagens; they’re solid, well built reminders of Mercedes-Benz quality. Bidding is just over $11,500 at time of writing, leaving this one a much more affordable option than the Unimogs, too! While there’s some mechanical work to do to make this 300GD 100% perfect, the bones look good and it’s an appealing package.

-Carter

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One Comment

  1. Being a Porsche aficionado/collector, and also owning a V8 G Wagen, if I was told I could only keep one car the rest of my life, the G Wagen would be the car I would choose.

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