History of the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon
The G Wagon's roots start in Iran of all places as the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was a significant shareholder in Mercedes, as well as an owner of many now-classic sports cars including the first-ever Maserati 5000GT, which was named the Shah of Persia in his honour. The Iranian monarch suggested the G-Wagon concept for military use and the development of the project began in 1972 with Daimler-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch collaborating on the project in Graz, Austria which is where the G-Wagon production factory would be constructed.
The start of the military applications for the vehicle would be with a rebadged version called the Peugeot P4 which was made under license in France with a different Peugeot-made engine. The first active service use of the G-Wagon was in the Falkland where the Argentine Army used MB-203G models and to this day 900 remain in service still. The RAF also captured one of these and was in service in the No. 18 Squadron for several years.
Civilian use of the vehicles wouldn't start until 1979 at its debut press event in Toulon, France. Sales began in September that year with three engine choices and 5 body variants. In 1981, the G-Wagon received upgrades, adding automatic transmission, air conditioning, an auxiliary fuel tank, headlamp grilles, and a cable winch. In 1982 further upgrades were introduced with fuel injection, seating upgrades, auxiliary heating and fender flares. In 1985 another upgrade came around, this time standardising differential locks, central door locking and tachometers.
The W460 G Wagon ended production in 1992, making way for the W461 which is still under production for military use but was cancelled for civilian production in 2014. The W463 was also made as a separate chassis number in 1990 as the W463 had differentiated from the original principle of the G Wagon, focusing on a more luxurious function than its military derived utilitarian model did. This model provided the modern identity of the G Wagon, it has shifted from its military 4x4 roots to becoming premium celebrity transport.