Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz

Virgil Abloh designs race-car version of Mercedes‑Benz G‑Class

Fashion designer Virgil Abloh has teamed up with Mercedes Benz to create a conceptual version of the Mercedes‑Benz G‑Class car called Project Geländewagen.

Abloh and Mercedes-Benz chief design officer Gorden Wagener's one-off redesign of the four-wheel drive luxury SUV, which dates back to the 1970s, reinterprets the vehicle as a race car.

Exterior and wheel of Project Geländewagen car by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen has a boxy form. Top image: Abloh's car is an art piece

Project Geländewagen retains the G‑Class's iconic boxy form but is lower and wider to give it a more sporty look.

The exterior was painted white and sanded by hand to emphasis its monolithic shape. Other adaptations to the traditional design include the removal of indicators, outside mirrors and bumper bar.

"With Project Geländewagen we create a unique artwork that showcases future interpretations of luxury and the desire for beauty and the extraordinary," said Wagener. "The result is something between reality and future."

Rear door and spare wheel of Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
It is painted mostly white to give it a monolithic look

The stripped-back aesthetic continues with the design of the interior where the dashboard is reduced and fitted with analogue speedometer and fuel gauges.

A safety frame, which was coloured baby blue has been added, while bold red pops were used to give the design a racing aesthetic. The five-point seat belts are also bright red and emblazoned with the designers' surnames – Abloh and Wagener.

Blue exhaust pipes in Project Geländewagen car by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Pops of colour are provided by baby blue and bold red details

"The collaboration with Virgil has seen two distinct design philosophies unite, for a one-of-a-kind re-imagination of the G that continues to celebrate the extraordinary at its core," Wagener added.

Mercedes‑Benz G‑Class, also known as G-Wagen, was first created to be a military vehicle in 1972 at the request of the Shah of Persia. It was turned into civilian version in 1979, and has been redesigned a number of times in the years since.

Dashboard and wheel of Project Geländewagen car by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
The interior is designed to offer a racing car aesthetic

Described as an art piece, Project Geländewagen is the first example of the vehicle as a race car. A replica of the project will be sold in Sotheby's Contemporary Curated auction, with proceeds going towards a charity that supports international creative communities.

Abloh said the project forms part of his ambition to encourage and support younger creatives. It follows on from the launch of his 'Post-Modern' Scholarship Fund, which raised $1 million (£0.77 million) to support the black fashion industry.

The designer also donates works to the Design Yard Sale fundraiser for organisations that fight for racial equality.

Interior view of Project Geländewagen car by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
The dashboard fitted with analogue speedometer and fuel gauges

"My ultimate goal in this project with Mercedes-Benz is inspiring young artists, engineers, designers to question the status quo, in addition to experimenting with my own design abilities," said Abloh.

"For me it's all about providing opportunities for those coming after me and giving this next generation a foundation for success, both here with Mercedes-Benz and through my own Virgil AblohTM 'Post-Modern' Scholarship Fund."

Red seat belts in Project Geländewagen car by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Five-point seat belts are bright red and emblazoned with the designer's surname's

This is the latest high-profile collaboration for Abloh, who originally trained as an architect before turning to fashion, after projects with IKEA and Nike.

The designer opened the flagship for his brand Off-White in the Miami Design District last month. He worked with OMA's research arm AMO to design a flexible space that "can host a runway show".

Photography by Bafic, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

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Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz
Project Geländewagen by Virgil Abloh and Mercedes Benz