The strange history of Mercedes-Benz pick-up trucks

As Mercedes reveals its all-new X-Class pick-up, we leaf through Merc's history books to discover its roots...

Mercedes has revealed its all-new X-Class pick-up truck in concept form and although the brand isn’t known for its pick-ups, this isn't the first time it has dabbled with the idea.

The all-new Mercedes-Benz pick-up will thrust Mercedes into the hotly-contested global market for open-backed utility vehicles for the first time but a trawl back through the archives reveals a number of other pick-up trucks have carried the 3-pointed star.

• Best pick-ups to buy now

The new Mercedes pick-up will be based on the same platform as the Nissan NP300 Navara and upcoming Renault Alaskan, as part of the deal that sees Mercedes share parts and technical knowledge with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Since it will sit at the plusher end of the pick-up market, it will have to contend with the Volkswagen Amarok when it goes on sale in 2017. 

This is the most commited Mercedes has ever been to a modern production pick-up project but the roots of the new Mercedes truck can be traced back to the 1940s by way of a number of oddball concepts and one-off creations. Here we've assembled some of the highlights of the brand's limited pick-up truck past.

Scroll down for Mercedes’ attempts at pick-up truckery through the ages…

Mercedes 170 V flatbed

Mercedes’ earliest attempts at a pick-up was the 170 V flatbed. Based on the 170 V saloon car - which was arguably the brand’s E-Class-equivelant car during the Second World War - the flatbed version was one of the commercially focused options available to customers. In fact, when the war ended, the flatbed was the first vehicle to have production resumed by Mercedes.

Mercedes G-Class/G 63 AMG 6x6 

Similar to the Land Rover Defender, the Mercedes G-Class or Gelandewagen has pretty much always had a pick-up body style available to buyers. The chunky 4x4 has always been a stalwart part of Mercedes’ model line-up since it went into production in 1979. You can still get a pick-up version of the G-Class through the G-Class Professional programme today. 

In 2013, the G-Class pick-up became a steroidal monstrosity in the shape of the G 63 AMG 6x6. Complete with six driven wheels, shock absorbers the size of telegraph poles and enough power to worry sports cars, the enormous pick-up became a symbol of ultimate decadence. To make sure it copes with literally any terrain you throw at it, the tyres can be deflated and re-inflated at the push of a button. Mercedes called it the “automotive declaration of independence.” Crikey!

Mercedes W115 pick-up

Only in production for a brief period in Argentina, the W115 pick-up is probably the most glamorous car here and arguably one of the most glamorous pick-ups of all time. The flatbed version of the sleek seventies saloon car was given the catchy nickname of “La Pickup” and featured a diesel engine.

Mercedes Vario Research Car 

Before the Vario name was slapped on those little minibuses you see on countryside commuter routes, it was first found on this concept car from 1995. Based on what looks like a C-Class of the era, the design study used carbon fibre to show off the Vario’s ability to be a car for any occasion.

Along with estate, coupe and cabriolet rear body panels, there was also a pick-up version. Apparently the changeover between bodies could be done in 15 minutes, and the concept introduced new advances like colour screen displays, drive-by-wire steering and Mercedes’ now-ubiquitous Active Body Control. 

Mercedes Viano Activity

Like the Vario concept car above, this design study was mean to add a bit more flexibility to the Viano van with the addition of an extendable pick-up style flatbed at the rear. Fitted with silver body panelling and big alloy wheels, the Viano mixed "American style with European dimensions and dynamism". The extendable cargo area meant the Viano’s length could be increased from 4.99 metres to 5.7 metres.

Which of these Mercedes trucks is your favourite? Let us know in the comments...


New 2021 Mercedes EQS: Hyperscreen infotainment system unveiled
Mercedes EQS Hyperscreen
Mercedes EQS

New 2021 Mercedes EQS: Hyperscreen infotainment system unveiled

The Mercedes EQS electric saloon will feature a new Hyperscreen infotainment system, which is a more powerful version of the brand’s existing MBUX set…
7 Jan 2021
New 2022 Mercedes T-Class van-based MPV spotted testing

New 2022 Mercedes T-Class van-based MPV spotted testing

The new Mercedes T-Class MPV is set to arrive in the UK in the first half of 2022, sitting below the V-Class in the German brand's line-up
4 Dec 2020
Facelifted Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe spied
Mercedes-AMG GT four-door - Geneva front

Facelifted Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe spied

Revised Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door coming in 2021 with plug-in hybrid power on the cards
10 Nov 2020
Mercedes to increase Aston Martin share holding to 20% as part of new deal
Aston Martin

Mercedes to increase Aston Martin share holding to 20% as part of new deal

Aston Martin to take further technologies from Mercedes in return for further shares in the financially battered British company
27 Oct 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 Volvo C40 joins brand’s electric car line-up
Volvo C40 - front
Volvo C40

New 2021 Volvo C40 joins brand’s electric car line-up

The new Volvo C40 Recharge will take on electric car rivals such as the Tesla Model 3 and forthcoming Audi Q4 e-tron
2 Mar 2021
'Genesis’s aim is to lure Jaguar Land Rover customers'

'Genesis’s aim is to lure Jaguar Land Rover customers'

Mike Rutherford thinks luxury brand Genesis could take sales away from Jaguar Land Rover when it lands in the UK
1 Mar 2021
New Audi e-tron GT 2021 review
Audi e-tron GT - front
Audi e-tron GT

New Audi e-tron GT 2021 review

The tech-packed Audi e-tron GT EV is a landmark model for the German brand
2 Mar 2021