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The Son of the L 319

The L 408, also known as the Düsseldorf transporter, is an icon like its forerunner. For decades the vehicle was essential for many companies as a valiant and reliable companion.

The success story

People from Düsseldorf are not only great carnival lovers, they are also very successful in building vans for Mercedes-Benz for decades. The successor of the famous post-war van L 319 was the L 408 and its counterpart the L 406 D. From 1967 until 1986 the vehicle was constructed for about a half million times. At that time it was a class of its own like the Sprinter nowadays. The large vans were available as several models between 3.5 and 6.5 tons and also as an omnibus. Mercedes-Benz wanted to develop a vehicle being bigger and more powerful than a delivery van but at the same time it should be lighter and more flexible as a transporter. The mission was accomplished and a story of success started.

The technical features of the L 408

The vans from Düsseldorf set new benchmarks in their segment, especially concerning the payload. The diesel model L 406 was equipped with the two-litre diesel engine OM 621 with a performance of 55 H.P. and the two-litre gasoline engine with 80 H.P. Both engines were already known from the L 319. The improved driving comfort of the L 408 almost led to monopolization in the weight segment of emergency and ambulance vehicle.  A U-profile-frame with cross beams and leaf-springed rigid axles make the carriage very unique.

The L 408 in action

The vans were universally applicable due to the clever modular construction system. The manufacturer offered six different chassis with or without cabin for special setups or vehicles. The Deutsche Post uses numerous yellow-coloured vans with sliding doors for their parcel service. Furniture stores appreciate the vans because of their large box body. The platform truck with double cabin was essential in particular for construction workers. The unresting companion makes a good job for example as orange coloured vehicle for municipal companies or as red coloured vehicle for the fire brigade. It’s also in use as mobile bank office or it can be equipped with goods serving as a mobile shop. The van also became popular as a compact long-haul vehicle. Manufacturers like Ernst Auwärter turn the Düsseldorfer into a luxurious club bus like the legendary Teamstar.


Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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