This Mercedes-Benz G240 is the military-specification “Wolf” version of the G Wagon, better known nowadays as the G Class. This vehicle was used by the Singaporean Armed Forces and is now in civilian hands.
The Mercedes G Class has undergone a transformation over the past couple of decades, modern examples are typically high-end luxury SUVs, their rough-and-ready 4×4 forebears but a distant memory.
Fast Facts – The Mercedes-Benz G240 Wolf
- Interestingly the idea to build the G Wagon came not from within Mercedes-Benz, but from the Shah of Iran – a major Mercedes shareholder at the time.
- Development of the G Wagon began in the early 1970s, prototypes were tested in the Sahara Desert, the Arctic Circle, and the German coalfields.
- The primary competitors for the new 4×4 Mercedes were seen as the long-established Land Rover and Jeep, as well as Japanese off-roaders like the Toyota Land Cruiser and Nissan Patrol.
- The “Wolf” version of the G Wagon was developed specifically for military use, they have now been deployed by over 45 nations including the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Singapore.
Mercedes’ Answer To The Land Rover
All things considered, the Mercedes-Benz G Wagon was a little late to the party. The Willys Jeep had established the usefulness of a rugged four-wheel drive design during the Second World War.
After the war vehicles like the Land Rover appeared to improve on the original Jeep design, followed by vehicles like the Toyota Land Cruiser, International Scout, Ford Bronco, Jeep Wagoneer, Range Rover, Nissan Patrol, and countless others.
It’s possible that Mercedes felt they didn’t need a competitor in the niche as they were focussed more on the luxury road-car end of the market. It’s also possible that they felt the Unimog, which they had taken over manufacturing for in 1951, was already enough to compete in the off-road genre.
Whatever their reasoning it took the Shah of Iran, a major Mercedes shareholder at the time, to convince them they needed a Land Rover-equivalent vehicle in their line up.
Development for the G Wagon began in 1972, by the mid-1970s Mercedes had prototypes being tested in some of the world’s most extreme environments both locally in Germany in the coalfields and further afield.
Cold weather testing was done above the Arctic Circle and warm weather testing was done in the Sahara.
Production began in 1979, the design and development was done by Daimler-Benz working with Steyr-Daimler-Puch, final production would take place at the Steyr-Daimler-Puch facilities in Graz, Austria.
The first few years of production saw the G Wagon remain a relatively rugged four-wheel drive vehicle, perhaps more similar to the Range Rover than the Land Rover.
The Wolf military version was released and quickly adopted by the militaries of many nations, it remains one of the most popular military 4x4s in the world today, in operation with over 45 nations world wide.
Mercedes-Benz G240 “Wolf” Specifications
Mercedes-Benz G240 Wolf is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.4 liter inline-four cylinder diesel engine, power is sent to all four wheels via a two-speed transfer case and a four-speed manual transmission.
That two-speed transfer case gives the G240 both high and low range, a concept that’ll be immediately familiar to those of you with off-road driving experience. In short, the high range option is chosen for higher speed driving, on a highway for example. The low speed option is chosen for challenging, low speed off-road terrain.
Many of the naturally aspirated diesel engines used by Mercedes in the Wolf series were relatively low on power as longevity and reliability was prioritized over everything else. It’s said that a Wolf can run for a million miles at a minimum with just standard maintenance.
The 2.4 liter engine in the G240 produces 71 bhp and 101 lb ft of torque, it’s proven itself in military use for well over 30 years right around the world, and on the plus side it’ll never let you get a speeding ticket.
As with all first generation G Wagons, the G240 has body-on-chassis construction, with live axles front and rear riding on coil springs, with transverse links and telescopic shock-absorbers front and back.
The 1990 Mercedes-Benz G240 “Wolf” Shown Here
The G240 Wolf you see here is a particularly interesting example, it was originally used by the Singapore Armed Forces and after being sold off it was imported into Australia.
Singapore has a famously meticulous military that is well armed and well trained. As a small city state with a population of just 5.7 million, the country rose from third world to first world status in a single generation – creating a road map for others to follow in the process.
Former Singapore military vehicles are in demand with collectors due to the excellent maintenance and limited use they typically see. The vehicle you see here has just 201 kilometers on the odometer, however there’s no way to know if this has been swapped out at some point.
This G240 is currently being offered for sale by Collecting Cars out of Bondi in Sydney, on the east coast of Australia. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.
Images courtesy of Collecting Cars
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