maybach mercedes roadster concept ev
(Photo/Mercedes-Benz)

Mercedes Tribute Off-Roadster Remembers Fashion Icon

On limited display at the Rubell Museum in Miami from Dec. 1 to 2, the Project MAYBACH concept car celebrates the life and contributions of the late artist and philanthropist Virgil Abloh.

In homage to the untimely passing of innovator and designer Virgil Abloh, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its concept for an all-electric adventure roadster. Theoretically, the GT-leaning coupe would combine high-end amenities and fine-tuned performance to deliver a fast and luxurious electric utility vehicle.

In tribute to the late artist, Mercedes-Benz is offering a special glimpse at one of Abloh’s last projects.

“A humble contribution to Virgil’s vast legacy, the Mercedes-Maybach show car exemplifies the possibilities of future design,” Mercedes-Benz officials stated in the Dec. 1 press release.

“[It] is the result of an ongoing cooperation with the polymath artist, architect, creative director, fashion designer and philanthropist; driven by a shared passion to enrich the conversation around luxury design.”

Project MAYBACH: The Off-Roadster Concept

maybach mercedes roadster concept ev
(Photo/Mercedes-Benz)

The Mercedes-Maybach — or, as one of our editors likes to call it, the “off-roadster” — is the result of a collaboration between the late Abloh and Mercedes’ principal car designer, Gorden Waegner.

In form, the EV showcases clean, sweeping lines and a pale, golden-sand finish. Functional features include a solar cell array, transparent hood, and wheels large enough to trample most terrain.

“A key focus for both Abloh and Wagener was a responsible vision of future design,” said representatives for the automaker. “Complete creative freedom enabled the design teams to conceptualize what the future of electric travel could look like.”

Virgil Abloh’s Legacy

Virgil Abloh was a Black fashion designer and bold advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion within creative communities. The civil-engineer-turned-architect-turned-fashion-designer skyrocketed to global recognition in the late 2000s with his signature blend of streetwear and high-end apparel.

In 2018, Abloh assumed the role of artistic director at Louis Vuitton — the first African-American artistic director in French fashion-house history. In addition to his many creative endeavors and cross-industry collaborations, Abloh established a scholarship fund in 2020. By late 2021, the fund had raised $1 million to benefit Black students.

Abloh passed away on Nov. 28, 2021, after a 2-year battle with cancer. He was 41 years old. Mercedes-Benz officials closed out the Dec. 1 press release with a dedication to Abloh:

The power of Abloh’s work is not only from the product design, but also the exploratory conversations that his work ignited. While the Project MAYBACH show car was inspired by how one could explore nature within a uniquely luxurious context with Maybach, the Mercedes-Benz teams thank Virgil Abloh for the inspiration to explore the power of cross-industry dialogue to imagine a better, more inclusive future.

maybach mercedes roadster concept ev
(Photo/Mercedes-Benz)

Project MAYBACH is now on exhibit at Miami’s Rubell Museum and will be open to the public on Dec. 1 and 2 only.

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Jilli Cluff
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Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.