When: 2020 

In the summer of 2020, Virgil Abloh unveiled a surprising collaboration with Mercedes-Benz that was centered on their iconic G-Class SUV or G-Wagon. The car was never mass-produced for sale and resembled a work of contemporary art rather than a functioning automobile. The collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Abloh was titled “Project Geländewagen” and sought to celebrate the legacy of the model, which is one its oldest luxury cars still in production today. Abloh teamed up with Mercedes-Benz chief design officer, Gorden Wagener, to completely reimagine the car’s exterior and interior. Wagener and Abloh stripped the G-Wagon of nearly all its parts. The car had no headlights, tail lights, side windows, or backseats. The two designers even replaced the door handles with leather pull tabs and painted the car’s exterior in a glossy—but incomplete—white paint. The car was then outfitted with racing elements that included large racing wheels, a Mercedes-Benz steering wheel from the brand’s Formula 1 cars, racing seats from Mercedes-Benz DTM cars, a roll cage, and safety nets in place of windows. The car was so stripped down that certain functions, such as “Start Engine” or “Horn,” were replaced with switches that were likely nonfunctional and labeled with Dynamo tape. “The initial idea was to question. To make this sort of twist on reality and speed,” said Abloh in a video by Mercedes-Benz. “To have this car that is luxurious in a deconstructed way.” Although the actual car was never sold or widely produced, Sotheby’s auctioned off a 1:3 scale model of the vehicle that sold for $201,600. All proceeds from the sale went to Virgil Abloh’s Post-Modern Scholarship Fund.—Lei Takanashi