The Mercedes-Benz G-Class has been the base for many bespoke projects, and the latest one involves Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection and founder of Milan-based fashion house, Off-White.

Meet Project Geländewagen. Unveiled via a digital live stream just recently, this odd-looking G-Class was designed as a race car, with sprinkles of artistic dust. Created in collaboration with Daimler Group’s design chief Gorden Wagener and Virgil Abloh, the project aims to “drive luxury away” from the regular G-Class, transforming it into “something raw, natural and altogether more honest.”

To start out, the Geländewagen’s exterior is kept as clean as possible to retain its silhouette, but the surface imperfections have been retained to showcase the handcrafted construction. The paintwork was partially sanded by hand, whereas the turn indicators, side mirrors and bumper bar have been removed.

The car is also lowered and widened for a sportier effect, amplified by thick slick tyres with bold yellow lettering. The spare wheel also gets the same treatment. Besides the wiperless windshield, there are no windows, just black netting.

The cabin is also stripped bare. All the trappings of the G-Class have been removed, including the dashboard. The baby blue-painted safety frame takes centre stage, while the driver gets a Formula One-style rectangular steering wheel wrapped with Alcantara. Instrumentation and fuel gauges are completely analogue, reminiscent of a classic car.

Other race-inspired elements include the five-point seat belts finished in baby blue and bright red tones, a colour theme that extends to the foot pedals and centre tunnel, replete with a satinated red fire extinguisher.

To support the arts industry, Mercedes-Benz said it will create a replica to be auctioned off as part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated, one of the auction house’s most revered series. All proceeds will be donated to a charity that supports international creative communities, with advanced bidding starting September 14, 2020.

“My ultimate goal in this project with Mercedes-Benz is inspiring young artists, engineers, designers to question the status quo, in addition to experimenting with my own design abilities,” said Abloh. “For me it’s all about providing opportunities for those coming after me and giving this next generation a foundation for success, both here with Mercedes-Benz and through my own Virgil Abloh ‘Post-Modern’ Scholarship Fund.”

Wagener added: “With Project Geländewagen, we create a unique artwork that showcases future interpretations of luxury and the desire for beauty and the extraordinary. The result is something between reality and future. The collaboration with Virgil has seen two distinct design philosophies unite, for a one-of-a-kind re-imagination of the G that continues to celebrate the extraordinary at its core.”