Have you ever fantasized about owning a decommissioned military vehicle? Perhaps something with copious amounts of German engineering, and an off-road SUV pedigree that borders on the extreme? Well consider your fantasies fulfilled, because Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen specialist, Expedition Motor Company, has just what you need… a Wolf.
Before we get too deep into details, it’s worth noting that the title “Wolf” has long been used by the German military to describe its version of the Geländewagen, or G-Wagen, for those of you who aren’t into using umlauts. Apparently, in order to be classified as a “Wolf,” these vehicles had to pack a fold-down windshield, sport a convertible soft-top, and bear the basic, yet virtually indestructible 250GD badge.
While I could go on about the brand’s previous ex-military “Wolf” Geländewagen projects, its most recent custom build is why we are currently grinning from ear-to-ear. Code-named “White Wolf” for obvious reasons, this 1991 250GD G-Wagen takes Expedition Motor Company’s love affair with open-top versions of the stoic Mercedes machine, and brings it into the modern age. With well over 1,000 restomod hours logged, and a function-over-form approach behind it all, this retro 4×4 ride is about as kickass and classic as it gets.
For this particular project, Expedition Motor Company took the SUV’s stock shell and augmented it with LED headlights, fender-mounted indicators with metal guards, and a snorkel kit. Lower lamp guards were also added to the rear bumper, BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires were slapped underneath, and an optional jerry-can holder and canister were affixed out back. However, it was the brand’s decision to stick with Mercedes-Benz’s original white and black soft-top theme that first caught our eye, giving the German SUV a rightful claim to the title “White Wolf.”
The new White Wolf features all of these exterior touches, but also adds a few extras to the mix, like side hooks that are more than just an aesthetic touch. As the legend goes, back when these machines were still in service as military vehicles, they were occasionally transported via helicopter. So in order to both revive and personalize the White Wolf, Expedition Motor Company reinforced the hooks internally with steel in order to return them to their original glory.
As for the interior, Expedition Motor Company approached this side of the restoration with a theme based around marine-grade brown vinyl, diamond-pattern floormats, and oak slats. Being that German military vehicles were never widely revered for creature comforts, things like a Vintage Air HVAC system, complete with period-correct dash controls were installed.
Sticking with this subdued approach is a VDO entertainment-system head unit, which looks super old school, but secretly packs Bluetooth, USB, and device-input features. There’s also a hidden Retro Antenna system, which eliminates the massive body-mounted antenna, for a more streamlined look.
After being imported from an overseas military source, the White Wolf was stripped to the frame for inspection in order to have every square centimeter of its structure rebuilt, refinished, or replaced. This meant media-blasting corrosion away and spraying a rust-inhibiting primer in place, powder coating various other areas, and then hitting body panels and drivetrain-component housings with premium automotive-grade paint.
Approved concours restoration practices also played a key role in the White Wolf’s rebuild, meaning that all rubber and soft components like hoses, bushings, and body mounts were replaced. Suspension upgrades include upgraded Eibach springs and Bilstein monotube shocks for superior ride quality and off-road versatility.
Regarding the powertrain side of the White Wolf, Expedition Motor Company took the SUV’s original, numbers-matching Mercedes-Benz OM602 2.5-liter inline-five diesel engine, and gave it new purpose. Like every other Expedition Motor Company build, this meant the complete disassembly, cleaning, refinishing, and rebuilding with fresh gaskets, seals, belts, pumps, and various other internal component replacement.
Prior to hitting the highway, the factory 711.7 5-speed manual transmission was also disassembled, cleaned, and inspected prior to being rebuilt. This process included the installation of a fresh clutch, seals, and throw-out bearing, prior to the transfer case and locking differentials receiving the same level of attention. All told, the White Wolf comes to a surprisingly reasonable $92,150, a moderate increase over Expedition Motor Company’s $90,000 base price. A number that Expedition Motor Company founder, Alex Levin, feels is well worth the extra coin.
“This latest Wolf demonstrates our highest level of refinement to date,” Levin proclaims. “Our frame-off restoration/improvement process returns the vehicles to like-new condition while adding modern creature comforts and conveniences.”