Change to our Privacy Statement

Daimler AG has undergone a reorganization. From 1st of November 2019 Mercedes-Benz AG will be the controller or joint controller of the website within the meaning of the GDPR. Please also see our Privacy Statement (update as of November 1st, 2019).

A journey with the 1981 Mercedes-Benz L 508.

Blue Mercedes-Benz 508 D at the beach

Totally relaxed: The Berlin photographer Gerrit Sievert compares the road trips in his converted 508 D with pure meditation.

Mercedes-Benz L 508 from 1981, marine blue.

“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.

The 508 D also includes a small gas cooker.

Just the necessities: The interior of the 508 D has been reduced to the essentials.

Mediterranean meditation behind the wheel.

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.

Road trip checklist: 7 tips from Basis CampBerlin for the Mercedes-Benz 508 D.

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.

85 kilometers per hour on average.

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.
The 508 in front of the seaside

For Gerrit the size of the 508 is more of an advantage that a problem.

Space for freedom.

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.

Priceless: Gerrit's 7 best moments while travelling.

  1. The very first journey after rudimentary conversion. Simply get in, drive off and you will see: it works.
  2. Arrive on the French Atlantic coast after three days of driving through the summer heat, switch off the engine and then jump into the water.
  3. Having Xago beach in Asturia almost completely to ourselves and staying until we truly have run out of supplies. And then discovering just how little you actually need to live …
  4. Arriving in a tiny Spanish village during the annual harvest festival and just immersing ourselves in this incredible experience.
  5. Cooking mussels which we gathered ourselves.
  6. Jumping into the water early in the morning, going surfing and then returning to the bus starving hungry. Coffee, breakfast, and then realizing that the day has only just begun!
  7. The first journey with a ferry: first to a wedding in England and then through the Bay of Biscay to Bilbao. A wonderfully old-fashioned way to travel.

    85 km/h on average: travelling with the 508 is like meditation for Gerrit.

    View from the van: "When we're travelling, a lot of people simply want to take a look inside."

    One of the best moments while travelling: Jumping into the water early in the morning, going surfing and then returning to the bus starving hungry.

    Traveling with the Mercedes-Benz 508 D and go surfing.

    The windows in the 508 D from 1981 are polarized from the outside.

    That is luxury: Gerrit's XXL bed with an XXL view.

    Not a

    On the road at home: Back in Berlin, Gerrit misses living in the van.

    On the road: Gerrit's converted Mercedes-Benz 508 D.

    A true jewel of a camper van: Gerrit's converted Mercedes-Benz 508 D.

    Beautiful sunset with the Mercedes-Benz 508 D.

    Sunset with a Mercedes-Benz 508 D - fantastic!

    85 km/h on average: travelling with the 508 is like meditation for Gerrit.

    View from the van: "When we're travelling, a lot of people simply want to take a look inside.

    Former THW bus the Mercedes-Benz 508 D.

    Get away from it all: a journey with the 1981 Mercedes-Benz 508 D.

    Blue Mercedes-Benz 508 D on the road.

    Better on the road than at home - with the Mercedes-Benz 508 D.

    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: Gerrit Sievert

    More Links to explore: The blue Mercedes-Benz L 508 D of Gerrit Sievert Berlin | Germany www.gerritsievert.com

    Sprinter

    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
    Slider images