This is a bit of a detour from our usual trip down memory lane where we enthuse over modern classics and dream up automotive adventures. It’s about a camper that started life as a riot van, in Berlin, 34 years ago. After a career of water-cannoning mulleted football oiks and Policing David Hasselhof concert crowds (or whatever it is the Berlin Police do) the van retired, a bit battered and slightly rotten and eventually fell into the hands of Mr Notadoctor. Mr ‘doctor, being a man of impeccable taste, wouldn’t be seen dead in any modern camper, beige, be-wheeled bungalows of dieselly doom that they are. He set about converting this van without removing the little bits that make it considerably cooler than any RomanyFlyTipperDeLuxe you’ll find clogging your bank holiday escapes. Sorry, I really do hate modern stuff, where was I?

riot-van

The green paint is 100% Polizei (see library pic above) and the windows still have the catches for the riot screens, fantastic little touches, but the big win is the original Polizei sirens, carefully wired back in – just in case. The engine is ancient, designed in 1964, a 3.7 litre diesel with no oomph but (probably) only 5 moving parts and perfect for reliably lumping around 24 foot of fun. Momentum is maintained by looking a mile head, never braking and thinking about gearchanges about 4 cogs before you need to. The engine can be accessed from under a cover in the cab, all simple and robust but above all – cool. The interior is great; Proper wood panelling – no damp plastic here – a full sized shower, a cooker and a bed bigger than the first flat I had. All nicely done, we love it. This Mercedes has all the open-road appeal of camper-vanning without the visual horror of it’s modern alternatives. And it has sirens. Who wouldn’t want a roadtrip in this? Maybe it isn’t such a detour from our usual stuff, after all.
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Thanks to the non-doctor for the pictures and inspiration…

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