Stuttgart, Germany - The first question from nearly everybody who saw the amazing centrepiece of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class world reveal at the 2018 Detroit motor show in January, a first-generation 1979 280 GE cast into an ‘Amber Cube’, was “How the hell did they do that?”
So now the maker has released a ‘making of’ video showing just how it was done - including a few numbers that’ll leave you just as gobsmacked as when you saw it for the first time.
The block isn’t actually amber, of course; it’s a two-part epoxy resin, which had to be premixed and poured slowly, to prevent bubbles forming, into the huge rectangular mould, in which the G-Wagen, carefully cleaned of almost four decades’ worth of polish to prevent silicon contamination, was suspended until the bottom layer had hardened sufficiently to take the weight.
The end result was an amber-coloured block 5.5 metres long, 2.55 metres wide and 3.1 metres high, containing 45 tons of resin. The whole job took 8892 man-hours over 90 days; the actual mixing and pouring had to be done as one continuous process over several days and nights - and they had exactly one try to get it right!
After breaking away the mould and polishing the faces to perfect clarity, the ‘Amber Cube’ weighs 46 tons including its underframe - or 52 tons boxed for transport.
Why an amber cube? It’s a play on Mercedes’ claim that the new G-Class shares most of its DNA with the 1979 original, with Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche holding up a piece of real amber with a prehistoric insect caught in it at the reveal and saying, Jurassic Park-style, “This is how nature preserves DNA,” then pointing to the cube and adding “And this is how we do it!”