4 WORK OR PLAY
WELCOME TO OUR SECOND NEW FEATURE FOR 2017, 4 WORK OR PLAY. EACH OTHER MONTH WE WILL PROFILE AN INTERESTING 4WD AND ITS OWNER. THIS MONTH IT IS WANAKA-BASED PHOTOGRAPHER SEAN CRAIG AND HIS COOL, OLD-SKOOL MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGEN.
Q) That’s an interesting looking G-Wagen Sean. Let’s start this off with the basics like specific model, year of manufacture, spec, etc.
A) Thanks. It’s a 1983 280GE with basically only two options from the factory, one being the rev counter and the other being the extra seat in the back. Other than that, no aircon or electric windows, etc. Having said that, the standard options include diff locks, and that’s what really matters. Under the hood is the rather bullet-proof Mercedes M110 2.8 litre six-cylinder petrol motor. This one has done over half a million kms and is still going strong. This version for the G Wagen has lower compression ratio than the saloon version, so on a good day you’ll see a mighty 150hp (11kWs). Needless to say I won’t be breaking any speed records on the road…
Q2) Now, a bit about you. You’re a professional photographer living and working out of Wanaka, is that right?
A) Yes that’s right. Although since the move down this way I’m tending to do more in the world of video.
Q4) What was the attraction of the G-Wagen? And where did you find this one?
A) I’ve always been a huge Mercedes fan but had never considered a G Wagen due to cost and trying to find one here in NZ. However I had sold my SJ and was looking for something different when my brother-in-law said I should look for a G. So I jumped on Trade Me and there was one listed! It was a 1981 280GE. I rang the chap up and it turned out he had seven of them! After chatting for a while he said he had another one that I might also like. After describing my 280GE I bought it without even seeing a single photo. And my brother-in-law bought the 1981! The attraction? Well the factory diff locks, fully syncro’d transfer case ( shift into 4WD at any speed without putting the clutch in), hand built in Austria… the list goes on. Plus I have a friend who imports Mercedes parts so the cost of ownership isn’t too bad at all.
Q5) With so much accessible land available down your way I bet you spend half your life exploring? What sort of trips have you done into the back country? And which – so far – is your favourite?
A) It’s a huge attraction to living down this way. So many options. I love to take landscape photos so having the G Wagen opens up so many more options. Very hard to pin down a favourite. Often it’s the impromptu off-road excursions that are the most exciting. Chasing a sunset and finding a track not travelled before, there’s nothing like it.
Sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for your time Sean.
If you have an interesting new, old or inbetween 4WD and thinks it warrant a spot on this page contact Editor Ross MacKay on editor@ nz4wd.co.nz