Sunday, June 12, 2016
This 1988 Mercedes G Wagon Has Survived 172 Countries, Over 500,000 Miles
Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.
The idea of traveling the world and witnessing all the wonders it has to offer is a dream for some. For others, it’s a reality—a reality that’s rarely accomplished using just one vehicle. Gunther Holtorf lived out of the back of his 1988 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon for 23 years, and had one incredible world adventure.
Holtorf has taken his indestructible G-Wagon, Otto, across 172 sovereign countries, 17 dependent territories, six special territories, five de-facto states, and over 511,000 miles (823,000 kilometers). Notable locales include Tibet, Mt. Everest, and North Korea, making him the first westerner to drive into the communist state.
You may be wondering why you’ve never seen his adventures. It’s probably because he’s not sharing them the way you might expect. He has no mobile phone, no blog, no Facebook, and no Twitter. He’s not sponsored by anyone—for fear of putting stickers on his beloved Otto—and lives out of his car, so he doesn’t even have to make stops in hotels.
As for the Benz, he said it has been a champ. There’s never been a breakdown and it’s even still running with the same transmission. By the end of the journey, Mercedes-Benz will give it a good home at its museum in Stuttgart.
“The car was built in July 1988,” he tells Outside Online. “It cost 30,000 Euros. I’m still driving it. It’s not only the same car; it’s the same car with the same components. It has the original gearbox—never touched, never opened. The original transfer case—never touched, never opened. And also the original axles and differentials. It now has exactly 823,000 kilometers.”
Holtorf’s car has seen more of the world than most human beings. Pretty amazing.