1973 six-wheel Range RoverEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz caused a buzz last year with the launch of its G63 AMG 6x6. Adding considerable width and an extra pair of wheels to its G-Wagen gave it presence like no other, and buyers from Riyadh to Dubai were seen frantically scribbling checks for the ultimate dune-busting Mercedes.
The six-wheeled off-roader is not a new concept, however. That's clear enough from the 1973 six-wheeled Range Rover for sale on Car and Classic, for considerably less money than Mercedes wants for its AMG-badged behemoth. Built by British coachbuilder Carmichael, the vehicle has had a varied history but sadly no longer runs, having spent the last ten years laid up in a garage.
Originally a 3.8-liter V-8, the Range Rover was quickly converted to a 4.0-liter Perkins diesel engine, on account of its high fuel consumption--coinciding with the 1973 oil crisis. Unlike the 6x6 Mercedes, its back wheels are there for support alone, with drive only to the front four. The elongated body, suitable for eight people, is the reason for the extra pair. Its early years were spent in the hands of a Lord, who used it to hunt for rabbits and pheasants in the northern parts of Wales, and originally the vehicle featured a weapons rack and mini-bar for preparing cocktails--presumably since removed. Even Mercedes' other 6x6, the Zetros, can't boast a cocktail bar.
It's now in a sorry state in Portugal, in need of repairs and a service--the ad suggests a new clutch, brakes, new battery and oil change are all needed to get it back in working order. But it's cheap--the price tag of £6,500 equates to $10,775 at current exchange rates, or about one forty-sixth the cost of the Mercedes 6x6. That could pay for a lot of restoration, and at the end you'd have a much cooler car. Lords only, of course--Arabian oil barons need not apply...
Thanks Graeme for sending in the tip!