Gary Swemmer of Arctic Trucks SA and TJM has completed work on a massive 35-inch conversion for the Mercedes-Benz G300 Professional, and the results are predictably impressive.
In our previous issue, we gave you a glimpse of the G-Class that Gary Swemmer and his team were working on. Well, the project is now complete, and as these pictures show, things have turned out very well.
This Arctic Trucks conversion is based on the bare-bones G300 Professional, which means this was already one hardcore 4×4 before work on it even started. The G300 boasts a three-litre V6 oilburner that produces 135 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque, and has some great off-road features such as low-range gearing and diff locks on both axles.
In fact, the off-road prowess of the G-Class is legendary, which is why there is still such a high demand for a vehicle that has been around for decades. There aren’t many standard vehicles that are as capable off road as the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
Now, though, Gary and his team have taken it to the next level. But they have been careful not to mess with Merc’s winning formula too much.
Yes, they have obviously fitted Arctic Trucks’ signature 35-inch tyres, but the underpinnings of the vehicle haven’t been altered. The G300 runs on the same suspension as a standard version, though it has been modified for the conversion.
As you have undoubtedly noticed, the wheel arches have also been widened and beefed up to accommodate those large BFG tyres.
The aim wasn’t simply to create an Arctic G300, though. It was to create the ultimate G-Class overlander.
“It all started during last year’s Johannesburg International Motor Show,” says Gary. “I wanted to do an Arctic Truck conversion of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, so I tried to find a contact at the show. At first I struggled to get hold of the right person, but I ended up speaking to the team at Mercedes-Benz Centurion, and they were very eager to go forward with this sort of project. They wanted a vehicle that was perfect for overlanding in Africa.”
So, with this in mind, the G300 was readied for action in Africa. The vehicle was given a snazzy new replacement bumper with a winch at the front, and a replacement rear bumper. It also received a roof rack with jerry cans and a water can, and a hi-lift jack. To make it easier to reach items placed on the roof, Gary also added a ladder.
Inside, the G300 has a fridge and a drawer system by Alu-Cab.
“The interior of the Professional is very basic, so we tried to make it a bit more user-friendly,” says Gary. “We just added a couple of small things such as cup holders at the front, and a centre storage console.”
Other additions include KC spotlights on the front bumper and on the roof rack, Arctic Trucks decals and custom-made mudguards.
“This is an amazing vehicle,” says Gary. “I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do on an overland journey. I’ll be taking it on a lengthy trip soon, and I’m sure it will impress.”
And what will this sort of conversion set you back? “It is in line with most of our conversions,” says Gary. “The AT conversion costs R140 000. To give your G300 the exact conversion we did here will cost around R250 000. For someone who can spend R1 million on a G300, we think this will be a tempting offer.”
The G-Class is already a coveted vehicle, and this conversion has certainly added to the “wow” factor. If you want a 4×4 that really stands out, it would be difficult to find a better one.
For more information on the G300 Arctic Trucks conversion, contact Gary Swemmer at TJM Pretoria. You can phone him on 012 809-0090.