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The Mercedes-Benz W31 Typ G4 was a heavy military car used by Germany before and during World War II.

Description

The early W31 Typ G4 model was powered by a 100 PS, 8-cylinder Mercedes-Benz petrol engine, but later models had this engine replaced with a more powerful 115 PS, 8-cylinder Mercedes-Benz petrol engine. Both engine were capable of achieving a speed of only 67 km/h, due to the all-terrain tires fitted to the vehicle. The W31 had two rear axles suspended from joint semi-elliptical leaf springs. The front axle was rigid and suspended from semi-elliptical springs. The W31 had an unsynchronized four-speed forward, one speed reverse gearbox transmission driving the four rear wheels, or, for more optimal all-terrain traverse, all six wheels. All wheels were fitted with hydraulic brakes with servo assistance. The elongated box frame provided a spacious interior capable of comfortably holding seven individuals, including the driver.

The W31 Typ G4 also featured a variety of body colors and color combinations, most notably gloss grey bodies over gloss black fenders and running boards, a color combination typical of the vehicles used by Adolf Hitler and his staff, however by the end of World War II, all color combinations had been replaced by anti-reflective matte grey and black, while vehicles in more direct military service such as command cars were painted in a camouflage pattern. Certain W31s in service of high-ranking Nazi officials were also fitted with rear-facing spotlights designed to temporarily blind any suspicious following drivers.

History

The W31 Typ G4 was designed by Mercedes-Benz in 1934 from the earlier W31 Typ G1 for use by the Nazi SS and other high-ranking Nazi officials. The Typ G4 is rather well known for it's use by important figures in the Nazi circle, including Adolf Hitler and Erwin Rommel. The W31 is also known to have been used as Rommel's personal staff and command car during his service in North Africa, as well as the famous SS general Joachim Peiper. Between 1934 and 1939 fifty-seven W31 Typ G4s were produced, most of which were used as staff and command cars in the Wehrmacht, as well as off-road escort and personal transport vehicles for high-ranking officials. The Wehrmacht decided to cancel the production of the W31 Typ G4, due rather high production costs, in favor of other German military vehicles.


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