Online Find of the Day: Lexus-engined Mercedes pickup is a vintage hybridTue, 16 Sep 2014
You have to love someone who gets incredibly committed to a very weird idea. What you see for sale here is a right-hand drive 1971 Mercedes-Benz 220D in South Africa, but this old Mercedes is now converted into a pickup, complete with bed cover, and there's big secret under the hood, too.
The pickup conversion appears well done based on seller Sedgefield Classic Cars' photos. Even the tonneau cover fits well. You could almost believe that this Mercedes lived its life as a Chevrolet El Camino-like pickup from the very beginning.
However, the rear-quarters conversion might not be the weirdest thing about this Mercedes. The original diesel is gone from the engine bay in favor of a Lexus V8. It seems really odd to pop the hood and find a Japanese mill in this German car, but the photos make it look like a fairly well performed swap. So, bravo to the crazy thinking. According to the seller speaking to Autoblog by email, "as far as we can establish, this was done a few years ago, with all Lexus components."
Given the quality of the pickup conversion and engine swap, the interior could use a refresh. Though still useable, the seats are pretty beat up. We'd like to see the existing ones recovered, possibly in a modern but appropriate Lexus leather to subtly carry on the theme indoors.
After all of the work, this Mercedes is now a hybrid of German styling and Japanese power wrapped up in a pickup. However, the pricing for all of this weirdness is incredibly reasonable. The seller is asking a pretty reasonable-sounding 75,000 South African rand (about $6,810 at current exchange rates). We just wish it were located in the US.
By Chris Bruce
See also: Mercedes-AMG GT attacks Circuit of the Americas, Autoblog Podcast #396, 2015 Lexus RC 350.