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Ultimate enthusiasts of the L 319: The Mercedes fans of MB Automobilia.

Three men are standing in front of a restored Mercedes-Benz L 319 van

The Spaniard Fran is a collector of rare Mercedes-Benz relics. He and his friends lovingly restore vintage vans like the L 319 or the O 319.

The most ardent Mercedes fan in Cantabria.

Cantabria is known for its rugged coastlines, quiet bays and densely wooded mountains. The engineer Fran lives there in “Green Spain”. When the Mercedes-Benz lover drives his W 124 250 TD estate through the winding streets of his home country, passers-by greet him friendly: Everyone knows him, his car and his passion for rarities and collectibles from the brand with the star. Ever since Fran was a little boy, he has been passionate about cars and engines. When his father bought a W 123 300 D in 1980, Fran made his first attempts at driving it and explored the area. Even then, he proudly drove the car through his home country. Over the years, his enthusiasm has become a burning passion. Today Fran owns a huge and lovingly maintained collection of documents, badges, Mercedes stars and miniature cars, which he shares with the worldwide Mercedes fan community via social media.

  • The Mercedes-Benz classic car collector Fran in front of his restored L 319 van
  • A collection of historic Mercedes-Benz stars
  • A collection of historic Mercedes-Benz steering wheels
  • A man sitting in a Mercedes-Benz L 319 van

Looking for collectibles with a star.

Some cars also belong to Fran’s large collection: apart from his W 124 250 TD service estate, which has already covered more than 2,000,000 kilometers, he also owns a W 107 500 SCL in top condition. He restored the car so that it resembled the last official 500 SLC Rally car from Mercedes-Benz. The connoisseur raves that he feels like Björn Waldegaard when he drove his rally car at the 1980 Bandama race in Ivory Coast. His favorite vehicle, however, is the Mercedes-Benz L 319 van produced between 1955 and 1968, of which he owns seven. Fran searches all over Spain for the rare L 319 and tirelessly checks classified ads for it. Together with two good friends, the mechanic Ramses and the painter Manuel, Fran wants to restore as many cult transporters as possible. The three passionate Mercedes-Benz fans call themselves “MB Automobilia”.

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The next project is the “Samba-Bus” O 319.

Fran has been friends with Manuel since childhood and Ramses recently became one. Together they work on the collectibles in their spare time. It’s not that easy, because some of them are heavily marked by the ravages of time. After all, restoring an classic requires completely different skills than repairing a newer vehicle. In addition, the die-hard Mercedes fans only use original parts. One of the seven L 319s has already been lovingly restored and painted light blue. Although the vintage van is not roadworthy, it also looks good as a collector’s item. Their next project is an O 319 van – also called a “Samba bus”. After its completion, the friends would like to rent it out for festive occasions such as weddings. But at the end of the day it is not about earning money with the classics, but about the unique feeling of happiness to breathe life back into a wreck with a star.

We are proud of our cars because they are a very small piece of Mercedes-Benz history.
Fran loads his service car W 124 250 TD from Mercedes-Benz

The W 124 250 TD service vehicle has been in operation at Mercedes-Benz for 27 years and has already covered more than 2,000,000 kilometers.

The Mercedes collector Fran reads a historical brochure

Fran also owns rare historical brochures in which he browses from time to time.

The three friends of MB Automobilia restore Mercedes-Benz vintage cars in their spare time

The MB Automobilia project includes Fran, the painter Manuel (back) and the mechanic Ramses (right).

A classic car O 310 “Samba-Bus” from Mercedes-Benz in Spain

All three men are big fans of Mercedes-Benz. Here Manuel and Fran inspect an O 319.

A man stands in front of an old, very dilapidated L 319 van

No distance is too far for Fran to find spare parts and vintage cars. As a true connoisseur replica spare parts are out of the question for him.

Fran leans against an L 319 waiting to be restored

Fran is particularly proud of the vehicles, he dreams of restoring everyone in his collection.

Photos: Kind Visuals

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