If you’ve done your fair share of digging photos from Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this year, you may have come across an oddly proportioned Mercedes G63 6X6. You may have asked yourself whether the photo was narrowed or was it really a pint-sized G63. Truth be told though, that white ‘G63’ is a project by twelve students from Nihon Automotive Technology School (NATS) that started out as a pair of JA11 Suzuki Jimnys.
That’s right, in order to create a 6x6 out of the standard Jimny and a $9000 budget, the students had to cannibalize the whole rear frame of one Jimny and weld it to the other – thereby adding another rear axle to achieve the 6-wheel look of the G63. On top of their extended chassis, the pickup bed, roll bars, and even a fully functional tail gate were all created from scratch. In order to achieve the real 6x6’s wood floor, the steel floor was airbrushed to achieve a similar look.
The front end of the Suzuki Jimny was completely altered to accommodate the G63’s fascia – all the way down to a scaled-down version of the Mercedes’ grill and three-pointed star emblem. Apart from the fueling system and the brakes, the NATS G63 is pretty much completely stock underneath. We had a quick peek into the rear axles back at the Tokyo Auto Salon and found that the new differential and axle isn’t connected to the rest of the factory 4x4 – meaning this particular creation isn’t a true 6X6.
That besides the point, this exercise is but one of many replica cars that NATS tasks its students to build and debut at the annual Tokyo Auto Salon every January. These vehicles are a showcase of NATS’ students from their four automotive courses: care and maintenance, customization, research, and involvement in motorsports.