Mercedes-AMG and musician William James Adams, Jr, better known as will.i.am, have teamed up to turn an AMG GT into some kind of fake 1965 Ford Mustang fastback and a G-wagon SUV combined.
Called “The Flip”, the one-off concept due to be unveiled at the Grand Prix USA in Miami, Florida, is the latest fruit of a collaboration between the automaker and the hip-hop star that began in September 2021 and was conceived to help disadvantaged communities get access to arts and science education.
The car will serve as the centerpiece of Will.i.am’s latest philanthropic project, but, before we get into that, let’s examine the creation itself. It’s based on a Mercedes-AMG GT Four-Door and was built by West Coast Customs, a purveyor of multiple over-the-top one-off automobiles. This is the sixth project will.i.am has employed West Coast to build for him, and it’s far more restrained than most of the far-out rides he’s had West Coast put together for his personal use.
Although its design is clearly inspired by that of the iconic G-Class, the car you see here is based upon the Mercedes AMG GT 4-Door Coupe. The front end has been heavily revised and features a totally new fascia with Will.i.am’s take on the three-pointed star. Carbon fiber features in hood vents that seemingly attempt to call to mind old SL roadsters. The four-door version of a two-door car was returned to its coupe body style, but now, suicide doors are fitted. On the roof, glass panels will let light in while new spoilers, vents, and Maybach-style mono-block wheels complete the look.
AMG doesn’t specify which engine The Flip is equipped with, which seems kind of weird if the idea is to encourage kids to get into tech. But whether it’s the 362hp (367 PS) inline six from the AMG GT 43, or the 630hp (639 PS) bi-turbo V8 from the GT 63 S, we do know it’s stock. “I didn’t touch the engine, because AMG really does make the best engines,” will.i.am said in a statement.
“I grew up in a ghetto,” explains the artist. “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. “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.”
His cars are certainly an acquired taste, but they’re often for a good cause. Some of his cars were created by his I.am.auto initiative which was established to help inspire children to gain an interest in technical areas of study, such as those required to develop a car. It’s something Will.i.am still supports as all activities surrounding the Will.i.AMG will go to benefit Will.i.am’s i.am/Angel Foundation in its support of promoting STEM subjects, especially in inner-city schools.