Will.I.Am Really Put a G-Wagen Face on a Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe

The West Coast Customs collaboration was designed to benefit Will.I.Am's STEM education foundation.

Mercedes-AMG and Will.I.Am have made a one-off car called The Flip that’s intended to inspire kids to develop tech skills. Will.I.Am has a pretty extensive history of terrorizing automotive design with mods but this actually looks pretty cool, especially if you’re into 1980s boxes.

Built by West Coast Customs, The Flip is actually Will.I.Am’s sixth collaboration with Mercedes. The basis for the car is a Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe and it’s been pretty heavily modified. The first thing that might strike you is the usual Mercedes three-point star has been reframed as part of, uh, a bear’s face. It’s called Bear Witness and it’s also part of a clothing drop connected to the car because of course it is.

Other modifications make it look kinda like you stuck a G-Wagen’s face on a GT, and it’s good to finally answer the question of whether or not you should. For my money, the answer is a surprised yes because somehow this has given it a box vibe and man, nothing hits quite like a modern restomod of a 1980s box. This isn’t that, obviously, but it’s still an aesthetic I’m extremely down with.

The car’s also got one very distinctive modification, which is that the doors open the wrong way. Although The Flip is based on the 4-door GT Coupe, it’s been modified to only have two, big doors, and their hinges are at the rear of the cabin. So you gotta kind of step around the door once you open it, to get in. This is probably why that’s not a regular design feature but who am I to tell Will.I.Am that a one-off custom modded AMG isn’t gonna be very practical to get the shopping and kids into.

There is, also, a serious bit to all this. The car’s going to be used for promo activities around this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, and it’ll raise money for Will.I.Am’s i.am/Angel Foundation that aims to get kids STEM skills for social mobility.

“I grew up in a ghetto. I grew up with hip-hop. I watched legendary hip-hop artists rap about Mercedes, so it was always a dream to own a Mercedes,” Will.I.Am explained. “For a lot of inner-city kids, owning a Mercedes is a symbol of progress and advancing out of struggle. Now I’ve reached my goal and pushed even higher by reimagining and creating my own vision of an AMG model.”

There is one area that was left well alone, however. “I didn’t touch the engine, because AMG really does make the best engines.” Turns out, you really can’t beat a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 that makes 577 horsepower.

That’s good to know if you’re in the market for a one-off, customized AMG with a bear face.

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