If “A” holds, so does “Benz”

When Ralph Busch saw a 206 D in a scrapyard in Wolfhagen, it was love at first sight. He bought the old Mercedes-Benz van and a great restoration adventure began.

Love at first sight

After four months of backbreaking work, sometimes during the week and often at the weekend, after a number of setbacks and a lot of frustration, Ralph Busch and his son succeeded in restoring the 206 D. It was a long road there. Despite all of his reservations about this model (high maintenance and also difficult to repair), Ralph Busch purchased the 206 D for 900 euros in April 2014 after he noticed the vehicle while he was driving past. The trained mechanic from Landau was absolutely determined to get this rare model up and running again, no matter what. And there was a lot to do! Firstly, all the rust and filler had to be removed from the 206 D. The triangular windows also had to be freed up and new panels welded on. The restoration concept: teamwork and division of labor.

The cargo area of Ralph Busch’s 206 D with a view into the cab

A lifelong classic enthusiast

Ralph Busch’s passion for old vehicles goes back to his youth. He has driven an Opel Manta since 1980 and has also owned a silver Opel GT/E since 1983. Ralph’s son is also a trained mechanic and shares his father’s love of classic vehicles. Together they wanted to restore the 206 D to its former glory. This model holds a special place in Ralph Busch’s heart: “The 206 D is loud and has an incredible amount of space. Plus, these triangular windows are great as is the almost completely intact radiator grille”, says Ralph enthusiastically. He knew exactly how he wanted to restore the van. He decided to replace the unusable seats with the Recaro seat padding from his 1983 Opel Manta.

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Over the course of its 22-year history, the Mercedes-Benz L 206 D changes manufacturers three times. In 1970, it is offered as aMercedes-Benz model.

> Read more about the Mercedes-Benz L 206 D

Mercedes-Benz L 206 D driving on a street curve

Give up? Never!

However, the 206 D still had a few more challenges for Ralph and his son. The upward-opening rear hatch was completely dilapidated and repairing the doors proved unexpectedly difficult. Just as things seemed to be going better, the next setback occurred: although the clutch seemed intact, it suddenly stopped working. Ralph Busch then had to remove the entire transmission along with the engine and detach the gearbox. Did he ever think of giving up on the face of all of these difficulties? “No”, says Ralph Busch. “My will to put this rarity back on the road was simply too strong.” All of the hard work has paid off. After the final hurdle of the vehicle inspection and approval, the restored 206 D was ready for its maiden journey in October 2014. Ralph Busch and his son are proud of their work and incredibly happy with the result. With its new green paintwork, the 206 D is an eye-catching attraction whenever it is out on the road.

Photos: Ralph Busch