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?


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.

Thanks to the non-doctor for the pictures and inspiration…

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

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