Flame grilled: a fire truck becomes a food truck

The red LF8 as a food truck set-up at an event

In his spare time, Holger Hutzenlaub sells BBQ sausages and burgers from a fire truck he refurbished himself. The operation of the food truck is a family affair with the Hutzenlaubs.

Southern German family business around a fire truck

A designer at Mercedes-Benz in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart, a discarded fire truck previously owned by a school and a family business: all this is behind “Wurst on Wheels”. In the beginning, Holger Hutzenlaub, head of the Advanced Design Studio, had one thing above all: he felt terrible about the Mercedes-Benz 408 G fire truck, which he encountered at a school in the southern German countryside. It had “obviously done well for decades, and was awaiting an uncertain end,” says Hutzenlaub. He did not have any reason to buy it, but knew that if he wanted to save the vehicle and restore it, he needed to provide his family with a very good reason.

Fresh from the BBQ: sausage on wheels

The family project “Wurst on Wheels” was created from the 408 G – a food truck for, well, sausages. Instead of falafel, tacos or pulled pork, “WoW” banks on: German bratwurst, salsiccia, red, curry sausage or merguez – sausages in all variations, fresh from the BBQ. For Hutzenlaub high-quality products are important, because “you taste the difference”, says the German. “A Turkish baker from the region always bakes the hamburger buns fresh for the event.” Vegetarians also have their own sausage on wheels: in the meantime there is the traditional burger in the veggie variation with cheese and vegetables.

Lilli Hutzenlaub hands a sausage in a roll to a customer
Holger Hutzenlaub at the BBQ of the food truck with the menu in the background

From fire truck to food truck: Let her rip!

But it was a busy year until the opening day of the food truck with family, friends and neighbors. The vehicle, built in 1969, was in a “normal, but worn condition” for its age. Hutzenlaub’s eight-year-old son William wanted to know immediately whether the pump and hoses on the old fire truck were still working. Good question! Hutzenlaub said he “parked the vehicle in front of a small dam, put everything together and then said: let her rip!” The pump worked perfectly and is still ready for use today. The basis equipment of pump and hoses always remains in the vehicle, just in case.

Conversion to a food truck: a family affair

Axles, brakes, engine and transmission all required a lot of attention: everything was cleaned and tested, the undercarriage was cleared of rust and repainted. The fact that Hutzenlaub was an avid mechanic even in his school years now paid off. Nevertheless, it took long evenings of work to bring the 408 G back into shape. On one such evening, long after sunset with motivation dwindling somewhat, his daughter Lilli surprised him with beer, music and a second brush and jumped in to help. When planning the kitchen and the barbecue, the whole family supported him, a beautiful and inspiring time. The logo was designed by his wife Lucie and his cousin Steffen, who are both graphic designers. In winter, the vehicle rested in a friend’s warehouse. “This break was important, both for me to be able to clear my head, as well as for my family,” reported Hutzenlaub.

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The Mercedes-Benz 100 D in the Hamburg city center
Technical specifications
Manufacturer Daimler-Benz AG, Stuttgart
Year of construction 1969
Construction Fa. Ziegler (Giengen a.d. Brenz)
Type LF 408 G
Engine Petrol engine M 115 (85 HP)
Gross vehicle weight 4,800 kg
Maximum speed 90 km/h

Good vibes from the fire red food truck

The Hutzenlaubs still make sure that the food truck remains a hobby and the family continues to have fun. Thus, the events at which they sell are spread throughout the year and there are no more than 15 to 20 per year. The two daughters Lilli (16) and Maria (18) also always help with the preparation and sale. Their specialty is to create playlists that will make everyone happy. Holger Hutzenlaub loves this “culinary experience” at the food truck: an individually designed vehicle with freshly prepared food, direct contact with the customers – and a joint project of the Hutzenlaub family.


Wurst on Wheels

Photos: Kai Knörzer