I could preface this piece with with any number of justifications as to why its necessary, but I’m going to call it what it is: This is an unapologetic celebration of unmitigated excess. Below is a collection of overland vehicles that push well beyond adequate and into the rarified air of exotic status. While a handful are actually priced within reach, they may be unattainable to most of us for a variety of reasons. Some are one-offs and not even for sale. Without further ado, we present to you a handful of the world’s overland exotics.
Mercedes Benz Gelandewagen Entdecker
Designed by Alex Beccaria and Stanley Illman in 2009, the Entdecker represents one of the most capable vehicles ever assembled. Built on the commercial 461 G-wagen platform, the Entdecker is constructed to military grade standards with nearly every facet of the vehicle boasting the most durable and overbuilt components available. It is as close to a late model tank as you can buy, and you can buy one. For the paltry sum of $200,000 and change, you can have your own Mil-Spec Mercedes. Read more about the Entdecker [HERE] on Expedition Portal.
If you want to get behind the wheel of EarthRoamer’s newest luxury liner, you’re going to not only need to get in line quickly, you’ll have to pony up a cool three quarters of a million bucks for the privilege. Built around Ford’s hulking F-650 chassis, this is an imposing machine. By the numbers it produces 800 foot pounds of torque, rolls on 46-inch tires, stores 146 gallons of fuel and has a GVWR of 26,000 pounds. With a habitat as finely appointed as any luxury yacht, this is the apogee of fine living paired to remote off-road travel. www.earthroamer.com
Arctic Trucks 6×6, Purpose-Built for Antarctica
Big ambitions require big tires, and lots of them. The Arctic Trucks 6×6 Hilux pictured above was built for the express purpose of tackling the cruel conditions of the southernmost continent. The huge 44-inch tires are propelled by a 3.0-liter common rail diesel engine that once turned on, is not switched off until the full scope of the journey is complete. The large cargo deck is designed to haul all of the supplies needed to survive Antarctica, and that bumper is not a fashion statement, it’s a hopeful attempt to not vanish forever down the gaping abyss of a glacial crevasse. So how much does something like this run? As the saying goes, if you have to ask… Rumor has it $300,000 will get your name on the list and an equal amount will almost get it to its intended playground…almost. www.arctictrucks.com
Jeep Wrangler Africa Concept
Throw all the money you have at this one, you can’t have it. A concept from Jeep recently revealed in Moab last month, the Africa features an extended cargo area, a raised roof, steel wheels and that most coveted of attributes, a diesel engine. Purported to be so well assembled it could be driven on any ambitious expedition starting tomorrow, this show pony will likely only traverse the looky-loo circuit before being dismantled. Hopefully this one-off will make it to production, but I’m not holding my breath.
Expeditions 7 Toyota Land Cruiser 78 Series
It is not enough to just add any 78 Series Land Cruiser to this list. Expeditions 7 holds a rare trophy as having the only vehicle to travel on all seven continents. To achieve that end, their Cruisers were outfitted with the very best components and accessories in the overlanding business. So well built were the trucks, and so reliable is the platform, that they suffered no failures, not even a flat tire in a double lap around the globe. Although these trucks are not unobtainium, they are only sold in select markets around the globe and they cost a pretty penny. Outfit a 78 to the nines and you’ll be forced to part with well over $150,000US.
Mercedes Benz G63 AMG 6×6
There is so much excess on display here, it’s impossible to not want this truck. It is so beyond normal scale and comprehension that used specimens are now fetching over a million dollars––as in double the original MSRP. The six portal axles are powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine producing a neck bending 550 hp. You can even adjust your tire pressure on the fly without leaving your leather wrapped and air conditioned seats. Not convinced it’s cool? Watch the video. You’re welcome.
Land Rover Defender 110 Puma with 3.2-Liter TDci Conversion
Sure, I know what some of you are thinking. Why not just swing down to your local Rover dealer and swap cash for keys? What is so exotic about a $50,000 utility wagon? It’s exotic because those of us in America can’t have one, and that makes us sad. So sad, Scott Brady half joked that he would move to South Africa just to have the chance to own one. The 3.2-liter 5-cylinder Puma diesel engine produces 265hp giving the 110 the grunt and pull needed for any off-piste rumble. Maybe what makes this an exotic is the fact this is the final year of production for the Defender. You have to admit, few vehicles embody the spirit of overland travel as well as the legendary 110.
Not all exotics need be out of reach of the every man. While a new 4×4 Sportsmobile can fetch house money, they nearly rival the comforts of some homes. The heavy-duty chassis, optional diesel engine, robust drive components, and finely appointed interiors make these ideal vehicles for prolonged journeys on the road, if you bother with a road. With price tags for used models ringing in at $75,000 for lightly used models, and fully loaded new vans tipping $125,000, these are committed purchases. The only thing more alluring than the van itself are the places it will take you. www.sportsmobile.com
Iceland’s Cruisers and Patrols on 44-inch tires
Travel to Iceland and you will see all manner of trucks with swollen feet. It’s a small island, travel speeds even on the highway are slow, and the terrain simply lends itself to large tires. White snow and black sand cover much of the country and visiting its hidden treasures by overland rig is a national pastime. The most common 4×4 platform in Iceland is the Toyota 200 Series Land Cruiser, perhaps rivaled only by the Nissan Patrol. Either option will cost well over $130,000 once all the big-tire modifications are made. The above 78 Series is the most rare and coveted of the Icelandic overlanders.
American Expedition Vehicles Jeep Brute Double Cab
Of all the vehicles to pass through the Overland International headquarters, few have been as universally loved as the Brute Double Cab. Everyone who drove it, and you can be asured it was everyone, absolutely raved about it. Easily ranking as one of the most capable trucks we have ever driven, it is just short of unstoppable. With a full compliment of gear in the bed and all four seats filled, it still conquers everything in its path. Wrapped in AEV’s custom leather and fitted with every feature available, it combines brawn and comfort without departing from the legacy feel of the Jeep brand. At over $120,000 it will crush your dreams to have your own Brute in the garage. The Filson Edition Brute is truly beautiful, but will command an additional $10,000, luggage not included. www.aev-conversions.com
The new Mercedes Benz Unimog U 5023
Mercedes invested millions in the redesign of their monster off-roader. The engine has been moved back three feet and now sits under the seats of the cab. That engine is one of the cleanest burning in its category and is strong like bull. The flexible chassis offers better suspension flex than before, and even the driver ergonomics have been improved to rival those of their luxury cars. But where would you sleep, you ask? Rip the wheels off a Sportsmobile and bolt it to the bed. If you can afford a giant $280,000 pickup, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Land Rover Range Rover Diesel Hybrid
Wait, before you say anything, this truck has proven itself more capable than many care to acknowledge. Perhaps knowing it would have immediate detractors and skeptics, Land Rover made a bold move and drove these vehicles from England to India on the Silk Trail. Our very own Chris Collard joined the last leg of the expedition. Our team has spent a great deal of time in the Range Rover platform and laud its capabilities on road and particularly off-road. For the price of a pair of Defenders you can have one diesel hybrid Rangie, but not this year. Not in America, anyway.
Mercedes Benz G-wagen G500 4×4²
I know what you are thinking, and I felt the same way. Another Merc? We are talking about exotics and few do that category of autos better than Mercedes. For this particular Wagen, the portal axles and 415hp V8 engine make it something to behold. Consider it the slightly less over-the-top version of their 6×6. With a proposed price exceeding $275,000 when, and if, it makes it to production, I doubt you’ll see many of these trundling around your local trails. It would be fun, though, wouldn’t it? Just look at all that clearance.
Unicat Terracross 52/55 Comfort
These vehicles are mind boggling on so many levels. With pricing starting in the $750,000 range and pushing well beyond a million dollars for some models, it makes the question about how much it costs to fuel these trucks seem trivial. That would be $600 at current prices, but it will get you down the road a couple thousand miles if you’re light on the skinny pedal. These trucks represent a unique class of RV travel. While they appear to be go-anywhere, their sheer size clearly has limitations. The truck below is currently listed for sale on their North American site. As a cherry on top, it even comes with an inflatable Zodiac boat with outboard motor.
Icon Bronco BR
The first time I saw an Icon Bronco BR I may have possibly drooled on my shoe. I then almost choked on my tongue when I saw the sticker price. After you source your own donor Bronco to the tune of $15,000, you get to pay Icon an additional $150,000 to $195,000 to make it into a rolling masterpiece, and it is a glorious thing when completed. The 4.0-liter V8 is the same used in the Mustang GT and cranks out more than 400 ponies. The design refinement is what makes these trucks so stunning. Not a single detail is overlooked, or omitted from the itemized bill. I have to admit, if I had two hundo grande, this would be in my driveway. www.icon4x4.com
VW Syncro Westfalia
Who could have known that these vans from nearly three decades ago would command upwards of $90,000 when fully built and restored? The van pictured here has a Subaru engine and a bevy of off-road additions making it a perfect platform for a lap around the world. And, it happens to be for sale: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1055492
Global Expedition Vehicles Unimog
Aside from the spare tire on the front that looks like a giant hockey puck, this is one amazing looking rig. The chassis is a known quantity and will haul any travel team to the far corners of the globe. As you can imagine, they cost considerably more than the price of a good sized American home, but for those with the means, it probably matters not.
American Expedition Vehicles Jeep JK Unlimited with 5.7-Liter Hemi
Having had the chance to drive this Jeep for a few hundred miles, I can tell you it took some time to wipe the smile off my face after handing the keys over. The 5.7-liter Hemi engine seems perfectly suited to the JK. Not overly powerful, it does have ample grunt to pass slow traffic on the highway at break-neck speed. The entire vehicle is simply brilliant. Once again, you’ll need to part with well over $100,000 to get your own muscle Jeep, but they do hold their values exceptionally well.
And that list should keep you daydreaming about new wheels for the rest of the day.