The cult transporter T2: A loyal companion for big projects.

A Mercedes-Benz T2 surrounded by hot air balloons

DüDo, Berliner tub, Geronimo: The Mercedes-Benz T2 models have as many names as applications. For Andi and Sabi, a 609 D becomes a travel van and family member.

Fluffy youngster triggers the lucky buy.

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.

  • A converted and decorated Mercedes-Benz 609 D from the inside
  • A man stands in the door of a Mercedes-Benz 609 D
  • A man sits with his dog by the beach campfire
  • A couple sits on the bed of a converted Mercedes-Benz 609 D

Robust, strong and spacious: The basis for many different careers.

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.

Profile Geronimo - Mercedes Benz 609 D

Manufacturer

Daimler-Benz

Production period

1967-1996

Year of construction

1990

Production site

Düsseldorf

Base model/Successor model

Series L 319/Today Vario

Engine

Diesel

Power

66 kW (90 PS)

Designs

Flatbed, van, panel van

Length/width/height

330/600/250 cm

Special feature

Bigger and stronger than a delivery van, more maneuverable and lighter than a truck

Fuel consumption

12l/100 km

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The T2: The eternal celebrity among vans.

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.

By the way:

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).

Two Mercedes-Benz vans drive along a coastal road

Vanlifers and the sea.

Predecessor of the Vario series.

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.

From T2 to a touring van in 9 steps – Andi and Sabi recommend:

  1. Gut it: Everything has to come out, the rear part of the vehicle has to be brought back to its raw condition.
  2. Insulation
  3. Install wall and ceiling cladding
  4. Make a passage to the driver’s cab
  5. Build and install furniture
  6. Install electronics
  7. Integrate fresh water supply
  8. Paint exterior color
  9. Construct and mount rear carrier

A woman sits with her dog in a valley in Cappadocia and watches hot air balloons

A spectacular setting that amazes Baku.

A dog gazes at a beach

Where to tomorrow? That is not always clear. Sabi and Andi live for the day.

A woman cuts her partner's hair

The same applies to Vanlifers: order is essential. In the van just as with your head.

A Mercedes-Benz 609 D on a dirt road in a mountainous landscape

Geronimo used to be in the Bundeswehr and at events, today it roams through Turkey's natural beauty.

A dog in front of a hilly landscape

While Andi and Sabi are sleeping in, Baku enjoys the sunrise in peace.

A Mercedes-Benz 609 D is parked at a rocky coast

Thanks to its olive green camouflage color, the van blends in perfectly with natural scenery.

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: The Scenic Route

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