It's called the Iron Schoeckl, and it's the 30-foot high steel rack Mercedes-Benz uses to showcase some of the capabilities of the Mercedes military-esque G-Wagon – that boxy SUV that people either love or hate. (Really, calling it military-esque is unfair, as many armies around the world buy the G-Wagon in one form or another.)
Last week, I got a chance to visit Gratz, Austria, home of the G Wagon factory that pumps out 54 all-new G's every day. (Overall, it takes 10 days to hand build these powerful machines that have mind-stretching capabilities.)
And after touring the factory, it seemed somehow fitting, in that German sort of way, that all of the journalists were collected in a parking lot to be shown again how incredible this machine is by taking a ride on this iron contraption that reminded me of the game Mouse Trap.
The metallic Schoeckl comes in a trailer and can be built just about anywhere. When a G drives up the two-track structure, the metal moans and creaks. But the Mercedes has no problem hitting the 45-degree angles and climbing straight up them. During the these test rides of strength, often the driver would stop and then back up the 45-degree ramps. Incredible.
At the top, the Iron Schoeckl hisses as the hydraulics lower one end so the wagon can continue its trip down it. There is no safety net and the driver has to park the G on the edge of the ramp in order for it to move.
The Iron Schoeckl will continue its tour around the world including potential stops in America. If you get the chance, take it for a ride.