A Mercedes-Benz 407 D as rolling photo booth

Back of Cliff McLane photobus

Photo booths are boring? Not Cliff McLane! The modified Mercedes-Benz 407 D drives throughout Germany taking photos and creating a lot of fun.

A photo studio in a Mercedes-Benz 407 D – a good-looking visionary

A photo booth? Everyone knows what they look like. Those are the boxes with a camera and a curtain which you often see at train stations and shopping malls, providing passers-by with a place to take passport photos or fun shots. This photo booth is the right place for people who want more than uniformity and comfortable boredom. The make-up artist Sarah Hermann and the photographer Christoph Pforr are the minds behind the project. Their motto: “Cliff McLane will give photo booths back their dignity.” They have both been working in their professions for more than ten years and have made their dream come true with the Mercedes-Benz photo booth. Christoph Pforr worked on developing the concept for four years before the two decided to buy the 1982 van in 2013.

Plush sofa, retro wallpaper and photo booth

When “Cliff McLane” is parked in the middle of a wedding party then even the guests are a little confused at first. The Mercedes-Benz 407 D, named after a character in the cult television series from the 1960s, “Space Patrol Orion”, looks like a typical classic van from the outside. But one glance inside immediately reveals that “Cliff McLane” is anything but typical. A plush sofa, retro wallpaper and a freaky interior – everything is done in the style of the 1970s and 80s. However, the most important thing here is relatively inconspicuous: A fish-eye camera transforms the uniquely designed classic into a mobile photo booth.

Photobus Cliff McLane located on an event

Plenty of space for equipment and fun accessories

Christoph Pforr needed a vehicle with plenty of space in order to implement his creative concept. “Almost no other classic vehicle weighing up to 3.5 tonnes provides as much space”, he said praising the van. These dimensions were what enabled the dream of a mobile photo booth to come true. The van also features the full range of technical equipment: electric guitars with amplifiers, built-in Nintendo NES consoles for playing Super Mario, printers in a phono-cabinet, e-mail access and a number of social media stations transform the photo sessions into an unforgettable experience.

Inside view of the Mercedes-Benz 407 D
Fish-eye view of the owners of Cliff McLane

Travelling with the Mercedes-Benz 407 D

The van’s previous owner worked at Mercedes-Benz as a technician. That is why the vehicle is still in exceptionally good condition. With 65 hp and a maximum speed of 90 km/h, “Cliff McLane” travels throughout Germany without any hurry: it has already driven more than 20,000 as a mobile photo booth. The concept is obviously a success. That is why the two owners would like to buy a second Mercedes-Benz bus or van. They have their eye on an old L 319.

5 fun facts about photo booths

  1. First patent for an “automated photography machine” was issued in 1888
  2. In Japan photo booths with the name “Purikura” became an absolute trend: the photo booths are mainly used by young women and automatically enlarge their eyes, for example. Then cute emojis and backgrounds can be added.
  3. Truly international: The world’s first photo booth was presented by a German born inventor living in Chicago at the World Expo in Paris in 1889.
  4. In 2005 the popularity of photo booths motivated Apple to name its camera, which recorded what happened in front of in real-time, the “Photo Booth”.
  5. Modern photo booths are often capable of more than just taking photos: slow motion videos, GIFs and even alternative backgrounds using a green screen – anything is possible.

Cliff McLane Fotobus
Sarah Hermann & Christoph Pforr
Wachtberg | Germany

Text: Mathias Ebeling | Mercedes-Fans
Photos: Christoph Pforr