By on August 3, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride popped up on the Internet recently, hailing from the archive of Long Forgotten Concept Cars. This particular concept happens to be a high-riding off-road cabriolet, created from a Frankenstein-like amalgam of Mercedes-Benz parts and custom fabrications by French alteration firm Heuliez.

Buckle up — it’s gonna get weird.

As a business concern, Heuliez was founded in 1920 and named after its founder Adolphe Heuliez. Initially the company focused on building horse-drawn carts, but the business expanded over time into car parts and bus building. Heuliez was hired by large car firms over the years to build complex components, usually for lower-volume cars. Along the line the successful bus business was spun off into its own company, Heuliez Bus.

By the late Seventies, Heuliez was fully capable of building entire cars for interested firms. Most often, the company worked with Peugeot and Citroën, building wagon and convertible versions of sedans and coupes. When they got the idea for a convertible off-road vehicle, Heuliez was in the midst of a long engagement to build the Citroën XM Break (wagon). Apparently some of the staff had extra time on their hands.

Heuliez designed an all-new body to ride atop the platform from a G-Wagen, a G320 in particular. Stylists used contemporary design cues from various Mercedes-Benz vehicles and sort of chunkified them for their purposes. Given its extensive experience in building convertible components, Heuliez created a bespoke metal folding roof for its Intruder. The interior of the Intruder was a mix of borrowed G-Wagon components, plus other parts of unknown origin. The interior fit for two was finished off with some shockingly blue seats in an almost ultraviolet shade.

Carried over from the donor G were the 3.2-liter engine, four-speed automatic transmission, and the four-wheel drive system. Keen their convertible would be seen as an actual 0ff-road vehicle, the locking differentials were kept, as well. This might be the only coupe-cabriolet in existence with locking differentials.

The design debuted at the 1996 Paris Motor Show. Heuliez revealed its metal roof convertible concept just four months after Mercedes debuted the not quite as capable new SLK. Though it was a functioning vehicle, the Intruder never saw the light of production. Heuliez was at the end of contracts for new cars by the mid-2000s, as around the time very few were buying wagons and convertibles. The firm’s last vehicle was the Opel Tigra Twin Top, in 2009. Heuliez folded in 2013 after building some 450,000 cars over its tenure.

The one-of-one Intruder seen here was subject to a full $329,000 restoration and is for sale presently in England. The Heuliez will intrude on your wallet for $228,995. Dial the roof back and do some rock crawling.

[Images: seller]

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