Marvel at this amazing rally-spec Mercedes G-Wagen | Top Gear
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Marvel at this amazing rally-spec Mercedes G-Wagen

This Paris-Dakar G-Class is perhaps one of the finest off-roaders ever built

Published: 17 Jan 2018

The new Mercedes G-Class very purposefully apes the design that has carried it since the late 1970s, and for good reason: it looks brilliant. Old school. Sturdy. Hard.

But not as hard as this. This is a very special Mercedes-Benz G-Class – or indeed, G-Wagen – built to test the very limits of its own capability, and the sturdiness of its drivers’ stomachs.

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It is a 280 GE rally car, built specifically to take on the inordinately terrifying Paris-Dakar rally. It featured an optimised body featuring much aluminium to make it lighter than the standard G.

The engine too had been fettled, that 2.8-litre straight six petrol here pumping out 230bhp, up from the standard car’s 150-odd horses.

It was campaigned in 1982 by no less a driver than Jacky Ickx alongside Claude Brasseur. They finished second. Another 280 GE rally car finished third, in the hands of Jean-Pierre Jaussaud.

The following year, Jacky and Claude campaigned the Paris-Dakar Rally yet again. And won the car class. This is that 'car'.

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Like we said, this thing's hard.

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