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Two students and an oldtimer fire department bus.

Leon driving the van

Lina got passed on an old Mercedes-Benz fire department bus by her parents. Together with her boyfriend Leon, the 22-year old student converted the van appropriately to their needs. Since then, they’ve been on the go whenever possible.

Childhood memories.

Lina reminisces her childhood when she looks at the red van. Back in the days, the 22-year old student from Tübingen spent summers in Holland with her parents and her little brother. The cherry colored oldtimer fire department bus that had been converted into a van for four persons left a lot of beautiful camping memories for the family. But time passes. “Now that my parents go on vacation without us kids, they got themselves a more compact camper,” tells Lina. Getting rid of their old camping companion was never an option for the family though. So they “inherited” the oldtimer onto their daughter Lina. That was “Mercy’s” hour of birth.

Red camper and couple underneath a tree

Lina and Leon love being out in the nature. Their camper is their favorite travel companion.

Van profile Mercy


Mercedes-Benz 408


2,385 – 2,750 mm


5,065 – 6,996 mm


2,100 – 2,400 mm

Year of manufacture




Total weight

3.5 t

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Hitting the road with no set goal.

Lina and her boyfriend love traveling. Together, both students have already explored big parts of Europe, Scandinavia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Australia. Touring around with their baby “Mercy” has been an incredible pleasure. “Our red camper is like a little house on wheels for us, we have everything and more that we need in this little rolling box,” enthuses Lina. Hitting the road with no set goal has always fascinated the two students. Imprinted by childhood memories of camping trips with their families, there was no doubt they were going to get their own camper one day. They had already gone camping together. “But traveling in a van is another level of camping,” says Lina.

Help by a professional.

In order to make the oldtimer van suit them perfectly, still a lot of changes had to be done. The fire department bus had already been converted into a camper, though for four persons. So Lina and Leon ripped out the whole interior and remodeled it from the ground up. In merely three days, the van was completely built. A pretty decent performance, even amongst camper enthusiasts. Obviously, they got support by a professional: Leon’s father is a carpenter and helped the two of them with most of the remodeling.

Mercy’s remodeling in steps.

  1. Layout
  2. Interior construction
  3. Painting
  4. Building the kitchen and bed
  5. Putting in all pieces
  6. Decoration and final cleaning

  • Red van in the evening
  • Lina lying in her bed, looking out of the van
  • Inside of the van
  • Parking van

The countless sunsets and sunrises that we watched from our bed, those are memories that stick with me.

It’s all about the bed.

Main feature of the van definitely is the bed. With a remarkable size of 1,60 x 1,90 meters, it serves as a sleeping paradise that, with opening the back doors, enables an incredible view of the surrounding nature. There’s nothing more worth striving for than being outside, Lina and Leon think. “Camping is the number one choice if you want to be in the nature as much as possible. Stopping and even sleeping anywhere is just a wonderful feeling. This freedom and the minimalistic-materialistic lifestyle go hand in hand and are crucial for the van life,” tells Lina.

Inside the camper van

Inevitable for both students: A proper bed!

Traveling is the most beautiful thing on earth and there’s always going to be places and cultures worth exploring for us.

Not always pure romance.

Despite widely conceived so and represented on pictures, the van life isn’t just romantic sunsets and joyous drives trough idyllic landscapes all the time. In the end, it’s traveling around with all belongings one possesses – in mostly unknown areas. That can entail a lot of risks along the way. During a trip through Italy, Mercy got broken in and robbed. On top of it, Leon had had his birthday a week prior so all his presents got stolen as well. The communication with the local police officers turned out to be very difficult and in conclusion, all Lina and Leon had left was a good life lesson for the future. They changed their location – but they didn’t let this incident tear them down. Quitting to travel with Mercy has not even been an option ever since. “Traveling is the most beautiful thing on earth and there’s always going to be places and cultures worth exploring for us.”

Leon and Lina cooking in the back of the van

Living a minimalistic life gives Lina and Leon a feeling of freedom.

Interior by night illuminated by lights

Lina’s tip for everyone thinking about remodeling a van: Light!

Couple dining by a lake

Both students have a lot more trips of this sort on the agenda.

Dreamcatcher in front of moutains

Morning with a view.

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: Lina & Leon

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