Today we bring you something a little different, a battle between frankenride heavyweights, the GAZ Mercedes, and an insane Escalade. Both have been carefully assembled by their owners in their garages, and shockingly came out really well—if not a little odd. After seeing them each floating around online, we were curious which people would like better, so we decided to put them head to head to find out.
The monster Cadillac you see before you was built by enthusiast Dan Dietz off a sarcastic joke from his father. After buying the wrecked Escalade for parts, his father jousted why not put your Blazer axles under it. Dan, however, thought it was a pretty good idea, and so began the build. It started with super cheap leaf springs and Chevy 1-tons, but when he found a set of brand
new used King coilovers still in the box, it quickly “got out of hand.”
Of course, I had to ask for a little clarification on just how out of hand things got, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The Mercedes—or Gaz—or Whatever
If there was ever a vehicle confused about what it wanted to be when it grows up, it’s this thing. It’s not really a Mercedes, and not really a Russian GAZ truck, but something entirely new that shares components from each. It’s called a W140-66, and the project took the owner, Nikolaevich Belyakov, over three years to complete. We spotted the monstrosity on DIY garage, and despite how awful it is, we can’t help but give credit for how clean the execution was. The bumpers, lights, and body panels blend together so well that it almost looks right, or at least it would if it wasn’t so wrong.
Here’s how the construction breaks down. The motor is a Mercedes 5.0L V8 with 320 horsepower, and the transmission is a Merc automatic. The chassis originated on a GAZ-66 truck, with brake rotors from a DAF truck and calipers from a Volkswagen Touareg. The tires are 38″ Mickey Thompsons, and everything else is custom made.