Consider the Mercedes-Benz G Class (Geländewagen being German for all-purpose vehicle), which is really called the G Wagon, and is built in Austria, and sells for about £143,000. It is was invented for the Shah of Iran - the last prince of Persia, the heir to Cyrus the Great, the King of Kings - before he fell in 1979. It used to be a nightmare apparently - squashed, angry, unbiddable - but is now relaunched with disco lights. I do not know if the King of Kings had this trim but 1979 was a great year for disco. It was the year of I Will Survive. It’s a car - it’s not a car, it’s too big to be a car - beloved by aid agencies, who travel towards horror, and Russian gangsters, who bring their own. The floor mats in the boot are made of rubber, which is useful for dead bodies and small dogs, such as my Virgil. He hates all cars, but he is a dog and his opinion means nothing here. He would rather ride on another dog but dogs are stupid.
On The Road With Tanya Gold: The Morgan
- Arts & Lifestyle
- 08 Dec 2018
It is also beloved by the worst kind of Londoner. I passed a G Wagon in Covent Garden last week. It was parked in Neal Street with the hazard lights on, because the Highway Code absolutely allows Geländewagens to park on double yellow lines with hazard lights on if shopping for socks, if they are lovely enough. It was black as deep space and I felt such envy for its size - its blackness - I glowered at it, black to black. But I live in Cornwall, and no matter how ostentatious my Geländewagen is - and my Geländewagen is a sparkly red, like a sequinned post-box - I might plausibly be a farmer.
It arrived early in Newlyn, and, dear God, I loved it at first look. The connection between a human being - weak, perishable - and a Geländewagen is emotional and even sexual (one must be honest). How I longed to possess this monster, which is as tall as a man though more amenable, at least for me, but I dress as tarmac; just the monster and I in up to 70 cm of water or tilting at 35-degrees - I don’t know what for, but yes - or driving up 45-degree slopes. It does 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds, which is fast for a 2.5 tonne SUV, although possibly not in 70cm of water or driving up a 45-degree slope.
On The Road With Tanya Gold: The Rolls Royce Dawn
- Arts & Lifestyle
- 19 Jan 2019
It has none of the finesse - the lovely lines, the bashfulness - of the Land Rover Velar. It doesn’t need them. It looks, rather, like a metal lunch-box that moves between war zones and film premieres. It is designed for off road - dunes, swamps, forests, small mountains - but it is styled for fashion magazines. It is, therefore, facetious, as I am, and I want a facetious SUV. I have to cling to the steering wheel to pull myself up, and then - then! - I am in a military vehicle made for a man on the run who asked, nonetheless, for a cream leather interior, and that is the best kind of fugitive. Would it be Victor Laslo’s of Casblanca’s SUV?
Its whims, meanwhile, are charming: it has round, goggly eyes, or headlights, like Michael Gove, which weave about when you turn then on in the dark, and doors that slam shut like proper doors, and a hefty wheel on the back, which I do not need, as I am not insured for glass. I spend a week driving the G Wagon across the moors, and down to the coves, and haunting derelict manor houses, and I adore it. It heals the wounds of childhood, but that is what a £143,000 SUV is for, if you don’t haunt disaster zones or Neal Street, Covent Garden. Without that alchemy, my Ford Fiesta Zedec, still hanging in at 180,000 miles on the clock, would be the only car.