Hollywood Horsepower: Nicole Richie And Her Mercedes G-Wagon

If you're gonna drive the wrong way down the 134 freeway, you best do it in a G-Wagon. And that's exactly what Nicole Richie did.

Fortunately, she at least had the mental acuteness to go for this particular joyride, in a virtually bulletproof vehicle. One originally commissioned by the German army in 1970.

In fact, her G-Wagon, short for Galandewagon has three fully locking differentials. Translation, it can go anywhere, is extremely macho and is the only SUV in America that can make that claim. (Galandewagon means Cross Country Vehicle.)

But if you're not going to take my word for it, maybe the Austrian, German, Estonian, Dutch, Finnish, Luxemburg, French, Norwegian, Danish, Swiss, Singapore and the US Military might convince you. They've all used this vehicle.

Okay, so back to the matter at hand. How and why do we see so many of these vehicles trolling around Beverly Hills and backwards on our freeways? The why. Well, I guess it's the same reason anybody drives any SUV. (see Hummer, Range Rover, Suburban, Land Cruiser, BMW X5, etc…) The how, is the more interesting part.

Until 2000, the G-wagon was not imported to The US. It did not meet America's strict standards for importation. (Smog was probably a factor.) But every once in a while, you'd see one on the road. I can remember getting so excited whenever I would see one. This was no ordinary SUV. This was an SUV that somebody went to great lengths to own: purchased on the "gray market," and converted to American standards through a company in New Mexico called Europa G-Wagon.

The cost, $135,000. But don't worry, Nicole didn't pay that much. As soon as Mercedes officially began importing to the US in 2000, the prices dropped and sales soared.

Note: if you see an older one on the road, just know what that car has been through and where it has come from and give it and its driver the respect they deserve.

Lastly, I'll leave you with this fun fact. One of the more popular versions (especially with actors and directors and governors) is the 469 horsepower, supercharged V8-powered G55 AMG. It's the only car that actually gets better gas mileage in the city than on the freeway. These cars are so boxy and the aerodynamics are so poor that the mileage actually gets worse at cruising speeds.

So feel free to give them the finger. Unless, of course, it's coming right at you on the 134. In that case, get out of the way. It will crush you.

This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"