Abloh's touch in the automotive world is in Project Maybach.


The departure of Virgil Abloh was not only felt by the fashion world but also by the automotive world. Mercedes-Benz, for instance, paid tribute to Abloh by opening the doors of the Rubell Museum in Miami to showcase Project Maybach to the public from December 1 to 2. 

Abloh worked with Mercedes-Benz on the project during his final days. It was meant to be a collaborative electric car show conceived to inspire the next generation.

"Mercedes-Benz offers its condolences for the passing of Virgil Abloh [and] sincere prayers to Virgil's family and team," said a representative for Mercedes-Benz AG.

"Now, to reveal our collaboration and Virgil's unique vision to the public, we would like to honorably celebrate a truly unique piece of design, which creates endless possibilities for collaboration through his unbridled imagination and inspires all who recognize his work."


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A tribute to Abloh's great legacy, the Mercedes-Maybach show car illustrates future design possibilities — a result of ongoing collaborations with the artist, architect, creative director, fashion designer, and philanthropist.

In collaboration with Gorden Wagener, Abloh interpreted the Mercedes-Maybach luxury identity with a new design language and pushed the boundaries of function, style, and collaborative creativity.

The design was inspired by the great outdoors and contextualizes the traditional urban brand in an outdoor setting, a two-seater off-road coupe with an electric battery that combines the oversized Gran Turismo design, big wheels, and signature fittings.

All elements were built from scratch, enabling complete creative freedom and allowing the design team to conceptualize the future of electric travel. Under the transparent surface of a car's hood are solar cells that increase the imaginary reach of Project Maybach.

Project Maybach channels Abloh's passion for provocative design, which is observable not only from its astonishing size of almost six meters long but also from its unique contrast. Fans can see the blend of authentic Mercedes-Maybach design elements with the new Outdoor Adventure design motif.


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Initial project

Abloh's previous work in the automotive industry was in mid-2020 as he designed the classic SUV Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

In a project called Project Gelandewagen, also in collaboration with Wagener, Abloh conjured an SUV that looks more like a racing car instead of an off-road car. Its entire body was whitewashed, making the large auto look striking.

The project was the start for Abloh in the automotive world. Abloh said that he had no difficulty completing the project because he also has a background in architecture and engineering.

Project Gelandewagen itself was first announced in July 2020 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the G-Class. Initially, Abloh contacted Wagener, inviting him to collaborate to produce something together. They then created a concept to turn the Mercedes-AMG G 63 into a race car.


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"We wanted to put the G-Class in a very different environment," said Wagener. "Everyone uses this for off-roading. But we did the opposite. We made it a race car and put big racing tires for this car."

They started by removing all the parts that were not needed. Then, cramming in roll bars and racing exhaust. Both pieces are colored baby blue, in contrast with the car's body color. They also installed an analog gauge panel for the speedometer and tachometer like a classic racing car, along with a racing seat plus a five-point seat belt in the cabin.

Although the car was heavily modified, automotive enthusiasts would still recognize its true identity — the G-Class — thanks to its distinctive boxy body. The G-Class has had many versions to date, but it was never envisaged as a race car before. The underlying philosophy is to combine the toughness of the typical G-Class with a touch of luxury by Virgil Abloh's golden hands.


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