What Would They Drive? Volume 1: Alexander the Great
Julius Ceasar, Florence Nightingale, Attila the Hun, Cleopatra, George Washington, Catherine II, Leif Ericson, Joan of Arc, Alexander the Great… What do these people have in common? Yes… they’re all serious historical figures who have made indelible imprints on the world. But, what else? What other small, obscure, essentially useless piece of trivial information binds these historical personages into a web of relevance for a TickTickVroom post? I’ll tell ‘ya… They all changed the world without the use of the oh-so-convenient automobile.
I’ve always been kinda intrigued by the concept of bringing modern technology to the past like an arming the American Colonists with an F-22 Raptor during Revolutionary War or giving serfs contemporary antibiotics to combat the Black Plague. The notion of bringing historical figures to the future (think Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) is equally fascinating. I like the idea taking Alexander the Great to AutoNation and telling him to pick a car.
It’s on that topic that I write this post, actually and this new series of posts. What car would a famous and important person from the time before horseless carriages drive? The title of these posts is really clever. They’re called: “What Would They Drive?”. I told you… clever. In case you haven’t yet guessed it, my first post is on Alexander the Great. What would Alexander the Great drive? What kind of car would the greatest empire-builder the Earth has ever known obsess over and pin posters of to his palace bedroom wall?
Of all the historical rulers, philosophers, generals and villains my compatriots and I have batted around, Alexander the Great and his motor vehicle seemed the most obvious. His theoretical car of choice would easily suit his over-the-top personality and fit the demanding requirements of the modern, conquering general-on-the-go.
That car is the hulking über SUV, the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6. Noooooo, not the regular G63 AMG you see bobbing between the fancy-schmancy designer boutiques of the Bal Harbour Shops and South Beach’s top-of-the-line gourmet grocer Epicure… I’m talking about the big one… the mac daddy of all SUVs… the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6.
So, yeah, Alexander the Great would most certainly drive the $625,000 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6. He was a nation conquering machine after all. Just look at Wikipedia’s blurb on him:
Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Greek kingdom of Macedon. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander succeeded his father, Philip II to the throne at the age of twenty. He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, until by the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to Egypt and into present-day Pakistan. He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history’s most successful commanders.
A lot of the land good ol’ Alex was conquering was desert, mountainous, remote or otherwise very, very inhospitable. Not a good place to meander about in a wimpy car, especially while leading a massive and undefeated army. So, Alexander the Great needed a car that could handle some serious terrain.
Hmmm… serious terrain. Let’s see. Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6… Off-Road… Check. Way Check. The 536 hp and 561 lb-ft G63 AMG 6×6 is six-wheel drive and has five (yes, 5) differentials all capable of locking while in high gear. And, the six 18-inch beadlock wheels and 37-inch tires have drilled and vented Brembo brakes that will stop the massive 9,000 pound beast in no time. Which is good, because 0 to 60 mph takes 7.8 seconds and top speed is about 100 mph thanks to the 5.5-liter, twin turbo V-8 and seven-speed transmission. That speed is good over sand, over mud, over pretty much anything thanks to the 18-inch ground clearance and portal axles.
Oh, and I mentioned sand. Alexander the Great conquered a lot of deserts. Anyone who has ever driven on sand will understand the particular nuances of this very specific automotive skill. Driving on sand is best done at a lower tire pressure to increase the amount of rubber in contact with the driving surface.
Inside the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 is a switch. Flip the switch and the driver can let air out of the tires. Back on pavement? Each massive off-road tire is also connected to one of four 20-liter high-pressure air tanks and a massive compressor. Flip the switch the other way and the tires re-inflate. As a matter of fact the tires will inflate from flat to a road-worthy 29 psi in about 20 seconds. The tires can actually go from flat to full in under a minute. HOLY CRAP!
In addition to being a kick-ass general, Alexander the Great was also a king, and kings like to ride in style. That’s why I handed him the keys to the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 and not a Unimog. This car has style to spare. I mean, it’s a Mercedes, a $625,000 Benz at that. So the Mercedes-Benz Designo interior is full of leather, has nearly infinitely adjustable front and rear seats and all of the bells and whistles one would expect in a German luxury limousine. And, not that this really matters for Alexander the Great (or anyone, really) the pick-up-style bed is lined with bamboo. Why? Because that’s how the 6×6 rolls, baby.
There it is. If he were around today, Alexander the Great (aka Alexander III of Macedon) would be driving a Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 to conquering glory. That being said, he’d probably have some sort of little car for putzing around town, like a Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works, because not even a king can afford the G63 AMG 6×6’s 9 mpg in the city (12 mpg highway). In case you’re interested, here’s a video of the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 in action…