This 1980 Mercedes-Benz T2 L407D was originally used in the Netherlands as a police special forces van. Approximately 20 years ago it was converted into a camper by a marine carpenter, with a beautifully finished wood paneled interior.
The van is powered by the same 2.4 liter 5-cylinder diesel engine from the contemporary Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon which is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission for comfortable highway cruising.
Fast Facts – A Mercedes-Benz T2 L407D Camper
- The Mercedes-Benz L407D was a variant of the Mercedes-Benz T2 van platform that was produced from 1967 until 1996. It’s often nicknamed the “Düsseldorf Transporter” as it was built at the Daimler-Benz factory in Düsseldorf.
- The Mercedes-Benz T2 could be ordered in an impressive array of specifications including long and short wheelbases, cargo vans, minibus people movers, and bare chassis rear ends for aftermarket companies to build upon.
- The Mercedes-Benz L407D you see here is listed as having been original used by the police special forces in the Netherlands, after it was sold off into civilian hands it was converted into a camper by a marine carpenter to a high level of fit and finish.
- Inside, this camper has a toilet, a kitchenette, a dinette that can seat four, a bunk bed, and the settee can be converted into sleeping accommodation for an additional two to three people if required.
History Speed Run: The Mercedes-Benz T2
The development of the Mercedes-Benz T2 began in the late 1960s as a successor to the Mercedes-Benz L319. The goal was to create a more capable and adaptable commercial vehicle that could cater to a wide range of applications. Mercedes-Benz engineers focused on enhancing the T2’s payload capacity, durability, and overall efficiency.
In 1967, the first-generation T2 was introduced, featuring a forward-control design with the engine positioned between and beneath the driver and passenger seats. This configuration allowed for a flat and low cargo floor, maximizing the vehicle’s cargo-carrying capabilities.
The T2 quickly gained popularity among businesses and individuals requiring a reliable and spacious vehicle for various purposes, including delivery services, tradespeople, and camper conversions.
Over the years, Mercedes-Benz continuously improved the T2 to meet evolving market demands and technological advancements. The vehicle received several updates, including improvements in engine performance, safety features, and comfort for drivers and passengers alike. The T2’s reputation for durability, ease of maintenance, and high-quality craftsmanship solidified its position as a go-to commercial vehicle for countless businesses worldwide.
In 1996, the Mercedes-Benz T2 was succeeded by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, a nameplate that has since become synonymous with commercial vans. Despite the introduction of the Sprinter, the T2 remained a respected and sought-after vehicle, with many businesses and enthusiasts recognizing its enduring value.
The T2’s legacy is particularly prominent in the camper van community, where it is still highly regarded for its spacious interior, reliability, and ease of customization. Numerous individuals and families have converted T2 vans into comfortable and practical mobile homes, enjoying the freedom of travel while relying on the vehicle’s robust construction and efficient drivetrain.
The 1980 Mercedes-Benz L407D Camper Shown Here
The vehicle you see here is one of the more historically interesting examples of the Mercedes-Benz T2 that we’ve seen. In its early history it was used by the police special forces in the Netherlands, not much more is known about this period in the van’s early life but it may indicate a reason for its shade of police blue.
Once it was sold off into civilian hands it ended up in the ownership of a marine carpenter who made his living working on ships.
He painstakingly converted the van into a home on wheels with beautiful carpentry throughout, including an elegant Mercedes three-pointed star logo on the dining table – a logo that is said to symbolize the company’s “domination of the land, the sea, and the air.”
Inside the van you’ll find twin settees in the dinette area and an additional bunk, three to four people can be accommodated for sleeping. There’s also a nicely appointed kitchenette with a sink, gas burners, and a fridge. The roof also has a hatch that can be opened to vent cooking heat when the kitchen is being used (or in warmer weather).
There’s a small lavatory with a chemical toilet inside for when you need to go. The van also now has a VDO Dayton stereo with Sony speakers installed, a fire extinguisher, a classic two-spoke steering wheel, a 12V-220V inverter, and seating up front in the cab for two.
On the back of the van you’ll find a moped carrier platform, so you can bring your Vespa or another small scooter with you for quick trips around town, and it has a retractable Omnistor awning on the side which does a good job of covering the folding table and two folding chairs.
The van is powered by the famously bulletproof Mercedes 2.4 liter 5-cylinder diesel engine, this power unit was used in many Mercedes of the period, probably most famously in the military versions of the G Wagon.
Power is sent to the rear wheels via a highway-friendly 5-speed gearbox, making it well-suited to long trips around Europe. Many of these T2s came with a 4-speed manual gearbox as standard, and while they’re reliable they do limit top speed and result in significant engine noise when cruising at higher speeds.
The vehicle is now being offered for sale on Collecting Cars out of Flevoland in the Netherlands and you can visit the listing here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Collecting Cars
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.