Offbeat

This Frankenbenz Is The S-Class All-Terrain 4x4 Mercedes Never Built

Only in Russia would this seem like a good idea

Mercedes-Benz is best known for producing luxury automobiles – but it also makes some of the most capable off-roaders ever to venture off the beaten path. Sometimes the two cross paths, like the new G-Wagen. Or this one, which (as you may have surmised) wasn't actually made by Benz itself. It's a 1990s-era S-Class sedan that's been converted into one of the craziest-looking, least likely of off-roaders we've ever seen. But there's more to it than just a jacked-up suspension and some knobby mud-and-snow tires.

This monstrous creation was actually Frankensteined from a W140-generation S500 and a Gaz 66 Russian military truck, and the result is even crazier than the E-Class Estate All-Terrain 4x4 that Mercedes revealed last year.

With a high-riding suspension and a trunked, three-box sedan body, the design brief isn't all that dissimilar to the Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury concept. But it's decidedly less elegant and more rugged. Just look at the diamond plating on the “lower” bodywork, the squared-off fenders, and the brush guards that'd look like overkill on a Humvee. It's said to have taken three years to build, and we have no reason to doubt it. The transformation is clearly comprehensive, taking the S-Class far beyond the 4Matic all-wheel-drive models you can order from your local Benz dealer. This is entirely custom and one-of-a-kind. And we're not sure we'd call that a bad thing, either. But it certainly is intriguing.

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