“The van basically flirted with me with its beautiful eyes,” says Gerrit with a laugh. Five years ago he purchased a marine blue 508 D and refurbished it with the help of the Berlin company Busbasis. “I like the solid van technology which was built to last, first and foremost. You could basically fuel the OM 314 engine with apple juice and it would simply keep on running – and also sounds wonderful.” The 44-year-old photographer from Berlin loves the solid technology, the old design and the clear lines.
When Gerrit converted the vehicle into a camper van together with a friend, he wanted anything but the “classic camper van style”. What does that mean? “I do not want a van with a toilet in it, for example. I hate the idea of driving my own crap around,” says Gerrit and grins. The only luxury elements are a XXL bed (Gerrit is 1.95 m tall), a small gas cooker and a solar powered refrigerator which even makes ice.
Check all of the fluids and replace, if necessary. This includes the engine oil, transmission oil, rear axle oil, brake fluid, coolant, steering fluid and windscreen wiper water, depending on the service interval.
Change the fuel filter and the oil filter.
Lubricate the vehicle – especially the front axle, check the lighting and the battery.
Tires: Check the air pressure, age and condition (including the spare tire).
Check the steering joints and wheel mountings (tie rod, steering rod, steering gear, wheel bearings, stabilizer bearing, rubber spring support, stub axle).
Check the condition of the doors (locks) and windows.
Gerrit and his girlfriend have travelled far and wide with the van: The couple share memories of France, England, Poland and a number of surfing trips to Spain. Gerrit describes these road trips as “meditative” and “Zen-like”.
When you travel as slowly as we do – I drive 85 km/h on average – then you simply slow down. I have truly learned to appreciate this.
Gerrit’s large and striking van is always a conversation starter wherever he goes. Many people want to take a look inside and talk about their own vans. “Sometimes people simply wave at us when we drive past.” For Gerrit the size of the 508 is more of an advantage that a problem: “No other van is as spacious as this one: it is a lot larger than a VW Bulli and yet still relatively compact and agile enough.” For Gerrit the 35-year-old van is more than just a vehicle. “Sometimes when we arrive at home in Berlin after a holiday we cannot quite get used to our apartment and end up spending another night in the van,” explains Gerrit enthusiastically.
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.