Military G-Wagens
 
Military G-Wagens
 
Mercedes G - Puch G
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Pictures of my G
Pictures of my ML320
My previous G-Wagen
Military G-Wagens
The Peugeot P-4
The Panhard G
The G-Wagen's forefathers
Visit to the Salonika factory (report)
Visit to the Salonika factory (pictures)
Visit to the Graz Factory (I)
Visit to the Graz Factory (II)
Visit to the Graz Factory (III)
Visit to the Graz Factory (IV)
Visit to the Graz Factory (V)
Visit to the Johann Puch Museum (I)
Visit to the Johann Puch Museum (II)
Visit to the Johann Puch Museum (III)
Tschiewagon's garage
25th Anniversary Treffen in Merklingen, Germany, June 2004 (Report)
Trip to Merklingen Treffen (Pics)
Merklingen Treffen (Pics - I )
Merklingen Treffen (Pics - II )
Merklingen Treffen (Pics - III )
Merklingen Treffen (Pics - IV )

   
         

   
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Pictures courtesy of Herr Bill Moss

Dressed to Kill
Contrary to some of its competitors like the utility Land Rover, the G-Wagen was conceived as a military vehicle rather than a car targeted to the civil markets. Furthermore, many people reckon that the decisive factor to produce the G-Wagen by Mercedes-Benz was the Shah of Persia’s interest in the project in the mid-seventies. The Shah, then a very important shareholder of Mercedes-Benz, ordered 20,000 units for the Iranian army, but when the project finally became a reality the order was cancelled by the then governing Ayatolahs.

However, the project was given a new lease of life thanks to the orders by the Argentine Army and the German Federal border police, inasmuch that thanks to these the production could start.

The story of the G-Wagens that became to be part of the British Army as a result of the outcome of the Falklands war is very original in itself. When the war was over, several tens of G-Wagens were abandoned by the Argentine Army on the islands, but since the British Government refused to accept liability of the never honoured debt by General Galtieri of the original order to Daimler-Benz, the company refused to supply parts for service to the Army. As a result, most of the Falklands G-Wagens ended their life cannibalised for parts to service the surviving ones.

The next orders came from the Norwegian military which ordered vehicles in long- and short wheelbase. After that there came orders by the Indonesian army which didn’t specify doors but insisted on the cars being fitted with huge bow-mounted wire-cutters for cutting wires tightened by partisans. This was one of the first requests for special equipment and many of them have followed during the subsequent twenty years, so that the G-Wagen can be now pride itself in meeting any customer’s needs by the specification of the car.

The long awaited orders from the German army finally came only after it was decided to discontinue the orders for the VW Iltis (actually made by Audi), to complement the existing orders of Unimogs and lorries from Daimler-Benz. It is unclear why in 1976 the Bundeswehr chose the Iltis instead of the G-Wagen, but it has been suggested that the main reason was the interchangeability of parts with the VW Munga (their then light troop carrier). However, the quality of the G-Wagen as a superior vehicle was never questioned and in fact, the Bundeswehr never carried out a comparative test of both vehicles. But –make no mistake- the Iltis is a very efficient off-roader, as pointed out by the German magazine Off Road in their comparison-test published in April 1980.

In the long run of its 20 years of existence the orders from the military did prove to be the basis for the production start, but nowadays the ratio military/civilian sales is very close to 50/50.

Besides the models W 460, W 461 and W 463 built in Graz between 1979 and 1999 (this latter with very few military clients), there are three CKD (Completely knocked down) military variants made: the W462, the Turkish assembled W460 and the Peugeot P4.

The W462 is a G-Wagen assembled in Thessaloniki (Greece) as CKD with almost all the parts being delivered from Germany and Austria to Greece. However, there are no technical or design differences between a W462 and a military W460 other than the options specified by the client.

With regards to the Turkish G-Wagen, I have no other information that a few units were made for the Turkish military the local affiliated company to Daimler-Benz in Aksaray, Turkey.

The P4 is licence made in France by Panhard, a Peugeot subsidiary for production of military vehicles, as the orders are received from the French Army. The army vehicle P4 is basically a G-Wagen with Peugeot engine and gearbox, with some other minor cosmetic changes. The rest of the parts are sourced from either Daimler-Benz or Steyr Daimler Puch.

Military G-Wagens are produced in soft- and hardtop versions of the 2.4 and 2.8 metres wheel-base known in civilian versions, but also in chassis-cab with 3.12 and 4.3 metres, mainly for ambulance conversions. I’ve heard that a prototype of a closed version of a 461 series with the 3.12 wheelbase was once built, but this version never came into series production. The vast majority of military G-Wagens is either 240 GD or 290 GD and I believe that it comes currently with the Sprinter 2.9 litre Turbo engine. Under the bonnet of the P4 breathes either a 2-litre petrol with 83.5 HP or a 2.5 naturally aspirated diesel with 75 HP.

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