Having evaded death, he set up his own motorcycle rallies and, for 1978, the Paris-Dakar, where he would become the legendary organiser in the sky, overseeing competitors from his helicopter.
After a fifth-place finish in 1982, Mercedes-Benz France doubled down on its Paris-Dakar efforts for 1983; the G-Wagen got improved cooling and a new aero package
In the first year, 170 motorbikes and cars raced through France to the coast, on to Algiers and through Niger, Mali, the former Republic of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) and finally Senegal.
As it gained popularity and the entry list rose to 216 vehicles with the addition of trucks, the route would stay largely the same but sweep out a little further to include new, more challenging sections.
In 1983, it incorporated the Ténéré region of the Sahara Desert, in which Thierry Sabine had contemplated his own mortality in 1976.
A service stop for both cars and trucks on the 1983 Paris-Dakar © Mercedes-Benz Archive
It would also include a reinvigorated Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur partnership, aboard the Mercedes-Benz France Geländewagen they had fielded to fifth place the previous year.
An even more successful racing driver turned enthusiast of the dust, Ickx followed his 25 Formula One podium finishes and four 24 Hours of Le Mans wins with a first foray on the Paris-Dakar in January 1981.
He bowed out when the engine in his Citroën CX 2400 expired midway through and, instead of choosing to pursue a front-wheel-drive class victory with the known talents of these hydropneumatically sprung saloons, he decided to sign up with the promise of four-wheel drive for 1982.
After all, a Range Rover had won the 1976 Rallye Côte-Côte and the 1981 Paris-Dakar.
The Jacky Ickx/Claude Brasseur Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen in the sand, on its way to Paris-Dakar victory © Mercedes-Benz Archive
Plenty of G-Wagens had been competing, too, in a variety of forms, but the one prepared for Ickx and teammate Claude Brassuer, the one-time Olympic bobsleigher and latterly prolific film actor, was a 280GE.