These bespoke Wolf G-Wagens are both rugged and delightful
Glamorizing vintage cars to modern taste is the hot thing going in today’s monied automotive world. Just ask Singer, Icon, MZR motorsports, Rod Emory, or Alfaholics. Hell, Nissan was doing something similar with its own Datsun 240Zs not that long ago.
Expedition Motor Company (EMC) is a New Jersey-based company with aspirations to be the premiere restorer and customizer for the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen. Recently, the firm announced a new restoration series of the ex-military “Wolf” 250GD series G-Wagens. EMC says that moving forward, the company will focus exclusively on restoring Wolf 250GDs.
For a G to be considered a “Wolf,” it must have the following— a folding windshield, a two-door body configuration, and a convertible/cabriolet soft-top. Think two-door Wrangler with more bratwurst and lager.
The first vehicle in the series, nicknamed the Silver Wolf, is shown above. Each Wolf starts with a complete tear-down; the frames are blasted down to the metal and coated with anti-corrosive primer and a matte black powdercoat.
EMC claims that each 250GD receives more than 1000 hours hand-restoring each truck. The process takes 12–16 weeks, depending on a given client’s tastes. Along with copious amounts of elbow grease, each truck receives various mechanical upgrades. EMC upgrades and re-installs brake lines, fuel lines, and body mounts. It then takes on the axles, blasting, refinishing, and fitting them with all-new internals. Stopping gear receives attention, too—the folks at EMC upgrade the brake calipers, drums, and rotors.
The OM602 2.5-liter inline-five diesel engine undergoes a complete teardown and rebuild, with new internals, water pump, timing belt, and more. The stock five-speed transmission is similarly restored—if the part has a seal, it’s replaced; if it has parts that move or take abuse (engine, transmission, axles, transfer case) they’re either cleaned extensively or replaced completely.
What’s especially nice about the approach with these Wolf G-Wagens is that they’re not simply juiced to high heaven with AMG V-8s or some other powerplant that completely alters the experience of the vehicle. (Unrelated, if you have a 250GD with an AMG heart, please let us drive it.)
The interior receives a similar treatment, which is where EMC really flexes its custom muscles. Clients can personalize everything from seat materials to cargo slats to cabrio tops, offering just the right individual cues to satisfy even the most imaginative customers.
The trucks were only produced for around three years in the early ’90s, so there isn’t exactly an inexhaustible supply rotting away in military surplus lots. Thankfully, EMC says it has the largest stock of Geländewagens in the world, thanks to strong ties with several European militaries. Don’t bother showing up with your own donor vehicle, either; EMC says it works exclusively with self-sourced 250GDs.
EMC says its Wolf 250GD restorations will start at $90,000 or so and climb from there. Worth it? For the clientele that are seriously considering this level of bespoke vintage metal, yes. They look fantastic, and they’d fit in as a tasteful California coastline cruiser as well well-to-do East Coast hipster bait. They also still have real off-road chops—the German military wasn’t interested in good photos for Instagram when they were outfitting and driving these things.
Older cars—especially older off-roaders—are phenomenal candidates for this type of premium bespoke restoration treatment. They’re big, boxy, and assembled more or less like heavy-duty LEGOs. That means easy disassembly, repairs, and upgrades. Nostalgia is a helluva money-maker, too.
How would you spec your Wolf-Wagen? Let us know in the Hagerty Forums below.