This EMC-Restored G-Wagen Requires No Compromise

Expedition Motor Company

Simplicity, at least in vehicles, is becoming something of a luxury. As new cars and trucks get seemingly more complex by the moment, it’s no surprise that enthusiasts are turning toward more basic designs to get their kicks. Enter the Expedition Motor Company (EMC) and its latest project, the 1993 Sahara Wolf.

EMC restores early Mercedes-Benz Geländewagens, specifically (though not exclusively) 250GD models. Company founder Alex Levin has a particular passion for this soft-topped, diesel-powered iteration of the G-Wagen, and formed the company in 2017 to give new life to the old rigs.

Born to be a military vehicle but quickly winning favor with users from all walks of life, early G-Wagens were released to the public as incredibly capable but bare-bones utility vehicles. Luxuries like air conditioning and automatic transmissions could be added for those willing to fork out for the extra coin. The U.S. market was still delicate territory for Mercedes-Benz in the ’80s, and since they wanted to burnish their budding reputation for luxury, the durable but spartan Benz truck didn’t make it to American shores. Time, however, and the 25-year import rule, heal all wounds, and the first-generation G-Wagens are now available for import and enjoyment.

EMC’s work on these 30+ year-old vehicles lands somewhere between restoration to original specification and full-beans restomod. You won’t find any LS swaps or exorbitant horsepower under the hood. Instead, there’s attention to detail that highlights the G-Wagen bits that give the truck its personality, and modern amenities that enable some of the most durable and go-anywhere vehicles of the past to be comfortable enough to use as daily driver.

The character of the “Wolf,” the nickname the 250GD received from its time in military service, remains fully present. EMC opted to leave the factory OM602 2.5-liter five-cylinder diesel engine and five-speed manual transmission intact, and while the exterior sports minor modifications, the truck’s essential look is unchanged.

Updates subtly increase the Wolf’s capability and more noticeably up its livability. The main differences are the EMC-designed suspension, a custom front bumper, three-inch LED Pod Lights for better vision when wheeling at night, a Warn Winch, and a snorkel. There is also the addition of a Harman Kardon Infinity sound system, sound proofing, WirelessApple CarPlay and a full array of creature comforts including a refinished interior, air conditioning, heat, and also heated seats front and rear.

The Sahara Wolf presents as a balance of utility and comfort that is tough to create—more than 2100 hours went into this build, and it shows. Such a blend of preservation and modification isn’t cheap: The price tag for this 1993 250GD $180,450. Then again, simplicity is in short supply these days.


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