Update [May 7, 2022]: Musa Rio Tjahjono (aka musartwork), the head designer over at West Coast Customs, has released a series of images of the WILL.I.AM GT W1X (both renderings and pictures) via an Instagram post you can find at the bottom of the story. And we can now see the posterior of the one-off: with tailpipes being present, so this is clearly not an electric vehicle.
It’s difficult to not be shocked by the most recent one-off machine coming from rapper/songwriter/producer will.i.am. And that’s because the Mercedes-AMG, which was teased a few days ago, puts a G-Class/G63 face on what used to be a Mercedes-AMG GT Four-Door. It’s not impossible, though, as this sort of integrated face swap is quite popular in the rendering community and we’ve been writing about digital mashups of the sort for years.
Now that the machine has been officially released at an event ahead of this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, we know it as the WILL.I.AM GT W1X—while the German carmaker didn’t release any images of the posterior, this badging can be seen in a series of photos that surfaced on Instagram. Nevertheless, the Black Eyed Peas creator affectionally calls this “The Flip”.
Having dropped its rear doors in favor of super-sized rear-hinged units, the now-a-proper-coupe reminds us of the Rolls-Royce Wraith. Then again, Mercedes-AMG tells us that the vehicle is also inspired by the SLS. And we can see at least one clue towards this in the form of the hood-mounted air vents sitting close to the windshield.
As we suspected in our initial article, the build was completed by West Coast Customs, with the California-based shop having created no less than five other builds for the artist.
And while it’s clear that a lot of work has been put into the project, many will still find it difficult to see the boxy front end and the streamlined coupe silhouette together. Nevertheless, returning to the face swap renderings mentioned in the intro, those who are familiar to this trend of the car world should have an easier time defining the creation.
The oddball project serves a noble cause
And the details of the vehicle are just as wild as the said mix of ingredients. We’ll quickly gloss over the monoblock wheels that seem to fit the car and mention the three-pointed star badge being mixed with a bear logo.
The move comes to support a limited-run apparel and accessory collection coming under the “Bear Witness” label, which will be offered at the Mercedes-AMG experience center in Miami and online. A part of the proceeds will go to the artist’s i.am/Angel Foundation which strives to offer communities access to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education, thus fighting poverty.
Speaking of which, the vehicle will be aquired by Mercedes-AMG, with the financial side of the transaction also serving the said philanthropic cause.
So, is the WILL.I.AM GT W1X “The Flip” an EV?
All we know so far is that will.i.am stated that he hasn’t touched the engine. However, since the rapper was appointed Mercedes-AMG’s brand ambassador for electrified vehicles last September, we could at least expect the one-off to be based on the GT 63 S E Performance, an 831 hp, 1,082 lb-ft (1,468 Nm) plug-in hybrid.
Then again, there are a few clues that could point out to an all-electric transformation. For one, the otherwise gaping air intakes up front seem to be closed off, even though this could always be a matter of active grilles/special materials used by WCC that aren’t visible in these low-res photos.
In addition, the posterior, which continues to remain hidden despite the supposed Instagram leak mentioned above, could tell us more about this—the lack of tailpipes may always be the reason for which the back end has been kept away from prying eyes.