A life dedicated to the “G”.
Even as a child, Anthony van Liefland was fascinated by the G-Class. And this passion led him to a collection of 18 off-road legends. What makes such a lifelong passion?
Some collect stamps and opt for a desk job. Anthony van Liefland chose a more unconventional path: Being fascinated by the off-road legend since his childhood years, his collector’s passion led him to own of 18 G-Class models from several eras. What makes such a lifelong passion?
There are probably few who suspect the south of Amsterdam is home to a spectacular Mecca of “G” enthusiasm kept under wraps. Nevertheless, Anthony van Liefland has created his “G World” in a light-red barn in Amstelveen. We step inside – and and are instantly blown away.
Our eyes meet a G 300 GD from 1985. Then a G 55 AMG from 2004. And then an Edition Pur from 2009. And next to them, a whole variety of further off-road legends. All-in-all, Anthony has collected no less than 18 G-Class models to date. However, how did this unique place come together?
Playtime in the dirt.
It all started when Anthony was only nine years old. A salesman for Mercedes-Benz in 1979, his father promoted the – at that time brand-new – G-Class to the regional Dutch dealers. On weekends, he took his son to countless off-road events and taught him, in non-public areas, how to drive the wagon step by step.
And so, Anthony decided from early on that while other kids play in the mud with their bare hands, he would conquer the world 4x4. “As a young boy, what’s more beautiful than to take a car, the G-Class, up hills, through mud and water… and just play around with it?”
A “G” lover coming of age.
Anthony’s collection of G-Classes started in 1989: in the form of a 1985 G 300 GD five-speed. Already at the age of 18, the student was smart enough to know how to make his dream a reality: “I got a job as a valet parker with a well-known restaurant in Amsterdam.” Because the tips were pretty good, he decided to do the job six days a week.
This literally paid off very well and that’s what gave me my starting capital to buy a G-Class. I felt very blessed.
A passion business.
It was only five years later that Anthony began to turn his passion for the “G” into a profession. Seeing great potential in trading with the newcomer, he bought his first G-Class models to establish his own company: the “G Center”. “We were the only one worldwide specialising in the G-Class,” Anthony explains.
But despite the great success of his endeavour, he felt that working six to seven days a week simply didn’t leave enough time to enjoy life in the driving seat of his steadily growing “G” collection. He decided to sell the company: “It was a turning point”, Anthony admits. “But it worked out very well. I had more time for myself, to enjoy life – and the G-Class.”
Thanks to his experiences with the G-Class in his personal and business life, Anthony is a true master of the “G”, both from a driving and a technical point of view. His many interests, for example, now include rally driving.
But first and foremost, he has remained a lover; an enthusiast; a man who dedicated his entire life to a legendary off-roader. However, it is not simply the G-Class’ safe cocoon, reliability or diversity that has hooked the Dutchman. Far more, it is the emotional impact the G-Class has on him.
When Anthony introduces us to one of his top favourites among his collection, the G 55 AMG, we get a perfect sense of this deep connection: “If I have a sad day or I am not in a good mood, I take this car, start the engine – and a smile immediately comes over my face,” Anthony remarks. He proves this seconds later as he turns the key and his face breaks into a broad grin.
It’s in my DNA.
Whether as a hobby, in professional life, for holidays, as a collector or in his everyday life, there is no doubt that the “G” is the absolute constant in Anthony’s life. And it will continue to shape his personality as a human being. Or as he puts it: “The G-Class has accompanied me through my whole life. It’s in my DNA.”