While Mercedes has officially offered the G-klasse here in the US for more than a decade, that's only in pimped-out gas V8 form. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe '91 is far less ostentatious, and an oil-burner to boot, but will its price have you saying diesel do nicely?
As a reminder, I'm traveling much of this week, so we're having truncated versions of NPOCP yesterday and today- ones that were written earlier this week. As such, we won't be starting out with a recap of the previous day's contest, you'll just have to revisit that post to see if you liked or hated what everybody else liked or hated. Next week we'll be back to our regular schedule.
You know, I used to think that much like the Volkswagen was the people's car, Mercedes' Gelandewagen was an SUV favored by gay couples conveniently named Glen and Dale. Yes, I need to get out more.
Of course here in the US, most of the great unwashed - you know who you are - know them only as the G-class and as an orgy of luxurious go-anywhere capability that - in both purchase and at the pump - eats wallets in megalodon-sized mouthfuls. But that wasn't always the case, and in fact the Gelandewagen was originally intended as a vehicle for the German military, a group not known for their proclivity towards ostentation or frivolity.
This 1991 Grey Market 300GD falls somewhere in the middle. With its black fender trims, vinyl spare tire cover and general lack of chrome, it's far more subdued than the newer V8 editions you see sucking premium while sitting in car line at Westside private schools. But still, 1991 represented a model year with significant updates for the G, both underneath and in the interior where the wood-embellished dash and door skins provide a semblance of luxury previously denied the marque.
Under the hood it's also very different from both past and present. It being a 300GD, that means it's powered by Mercedes' OM603 SOHC straight six. That 2,996-cc diesel was a modern pre-chamber design and - in turbocharged form - was found in numerous diesel S-class models here in the states, so parts shouldn't be a problem. An automatic transmission is your weapon of choice behind the smoker, and that sends power to the ground through the G-Klasse's electrically locking triple-diff full-time four wheel drive system.
Attached to that system are a set of handsome Benz five-spoke alloys and new knobby BFGs. A roof rack on top and some recent engine and electrical work weigh in this truck's favor, and are noted as such in the ad.
The seller also notes a couple of issues - one being that the ignition switch is becoming recalcitrant, and the other - much as you might expect if you have any familiarity with these trucks - is the appearance of rust bubbles in various locales. Addressed expediently, they shouldn't cause too much pain down the road, but of course you'd have to calculate their likely immediate attention into this 300GD's $29,900 asking price.
Here's a funny thing about that price, a gas-engined Range Rover of the same vintage and in similar condition will typically set you back about two grand, even with the crappy air suspension ripped out and replaced with reliable British steel.
But hell, Range Rovers are so common, and in fact the Defender is a more appropriate analog to the G-wagen, and those can go for some pretty big bank. This 300GD commands a similarly non trivial price, but the question remains, is it worth it? It has a pretty sweet diesel motor, seems in good shape, and as we all know, these are strangely desirable. What do you think, is this Gelandewagen a fair deal at a C-note shy of thirty grand? Or, is this a G-Klasse upon which you would pass?
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