When they met and fell in love six years ago, 29-year-old Sabi just returned from a year in Australia, Andi from his trip to Indonesia. Hardly back home, the two were already plagued by a longing for faraway places – but they were also bonded together. “It was clear: We both wanted to leave again. Away from Germany. Away into the distance. And in a van,” says the 31-year-old. The first plan was to travel South America in a Bully but this failed due to a fluffy reason: The couple’s wolfhound Baku. Also, Baku does not like flying. A dog-friendly route would have to be found, and a bigger van. While browsing the Internet, they come across a real rarity: A 28-year-old Mercedes-Benz 609 D.
What does Geronimo have that others do not? It offers enough space for both bipeds and one quadruped. And it’s high enough to stand up inside. Thanks to the very slim A-pillar, the driver’s cab offers a generous view. In addition, the robust technology of the cult van is designed mechanically and not electronically – an important point for Sabi and Andi: “We wanted a vehicle with rudimentary technology. The simplest workshop in the smallest village should be able to solve problems with the vehicle”. These characteristics had already convinced the previous owner. The event caterer had equipped the van with a makeshift kitchen, and he towed a field kitchen on a trailer, thus cooking for event guests. But the olive-colored paint scheme is reminiscent of another story.
Year of construction
Base model/Successor model
Series L 319/Today Vario
66 kW (90 PS)
Flatbed, van, panel van
Bigger and stronger than a delivery van, more maneuverable and lighter than a truck
Before it served as a mobile kitchen, Geronimo transported injured soldiers in the Bundeswehr – and it was not the only one in his class. Because its series, the type T2 panel vans, offered particularly a high level of driving comfort for their weight class of 3.5 to 6.7 tons, they have been used as ambulances since the late 1960s. But that’s not all. With its robust, spacious and strong construction Mercedes-Benz had developed an engine with unprecedented maneuverability. Whether as a small van, panel van or flatbed: Delivery services, construction sites, fire services and police or postal service benefited from this combination. The large van made its most prominent appearance with the Berlin police under the nickname “Berliner tub”. There it transports officers to demonstrations and riots – to this day.
The designation of the Mercedes-Benz 609 D follows a logic: Geronimo has an original approximate gross total weight of six tons (6) and 90 hp (09) – diesel (D).
Why “T2”? The name stands for the “T” transporter series that Daimler-Benz produced between 1967 and 1996. Connoisseurs first called the vehicles “DüDo”, an abbreviation for “Düsseldorfer van”. An allusion to the production at the Düsseldorf plant. Only when the smaller version came off the production line as T1 did the designation T2 become established for the larger series. With the switch to the third generation, the T2 series was given the name Vario.
As a travel companion to Andi, Sabi and Baku, the 609 D has meanwhile travelled through Greece, the Cycladic islands and central Turkey. Even though the T2 may have experienced many careers, Geronimo is certainly a pioneer among his peers with its adventure story.
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.