“With Heike I snapped up a wife and a van all at once,” jokes Moritz at the beginning of our interview. Eight years ago, Heike not only brought an old van into the relationship, but also shared her husband’s passion for classic vehicles from the very beginning. “We soon realized that we wanted to transfer our passion to our travels. That is why we looked for the right van.” The couple found what they were looking for almost by chance in a friend’s barn, where an old Mercedes-Benz L 206 D was whiling away its days. “It was love at first sight for me – Heike took a little more convincing.” Now they are both equally enthusiastic about the van.
The minibus was launched with the name F 20 in the 1960s as part of the F series from the Hanover company Hanomag (later Hanomag-Henschel). After the company was taken over by Daimler-Benz at the beginning of the 1970s, the models were renamed in accordance with the Mercedes-Benz nomenclature: The model name L 206 D is derived from the engine power and the payload. In the following years, the Hanomag minibus expanded the Mercedes-Benz van range with smaller vehicles.
Heike and Moritz’s 1974 “Hano” was in poor condition after languishing in the barn for years. The couple spent months completely restoring the van. The job was no problem at all for the vehicle mechanic and the engineer. “The old Weinsberg body had rotted completely and we pulled almost 2 buckets of cables out of the vehicle.” Nevertheless, the electrical system needed to run the vehicle functioned perfectly. The couple then designed the interior to match their own personal tastes. The passenger seat can now be rotated back to the sleeping compartment and there is plenty of storage space underneath the bed. “This has often paid off in summer – a cool glass of white wine or beer from our improvised cellar is always within reach,” says Moritz happily.
The other fittings, including a gas stove, refrigerator, warm air heating and wardrobe, are oriented on the Weinsberg layout and offer the couple all of the comfort they need on their camping journeys.
Our first holiday took us to England. Then we travelled to Normandy, to Alsace and then to Poland where we went on a long journey through the Masurian Lake District and along the coast. During the warmer months one of us takes the van out every day. It just eats up the kilometers and runs without any problems!
With their exceptional camper van the two often meet new people while on holiday, explains Moritz: “People are happy to see the van. You easily end up talking to other people and get some good insider tips. Without our Hano we probably never would have had a chance to enjoy the best piroshki in all of Poland,” he reminisces. The couple even spent their honeymoon four years ago in the Hano. Heike and Moritz are typically excited about their upcoming journey through the Baltic countries, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. And after that? “We have both been dreaming about taking a long tour through Russia for years. But we still have plenty of time for that.” And plenty of time for their other dream: “We already have several other classic Mercedes-Benz in our garage such as a /8 and a 200 D Fintail. Nevertheless, we have also had our eye on a Mercedes-Benz 911 all-wheel drive for quite a while – Totally unnecessary, but simply amazing!,” admits Moritz and grins.
Mercedes-Benz L 206 D
60 hp diesel engine (OM 615), four-speed gearbox
unknown, estimated between 200,000 and 500,000
Heike (41), engineer, Moritz (29), vehicle mechanic
The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.
Photos: Kai Knörzer