It’s 2020 and It’s time for a Van Tour, come and take a look inside…
The Mercedes Benz 608D LF8 Fire Truck Camper is ready for travelling again and this year there are a few changes.
This video is a fast paced van tour detailing all of the bits and pieces that are inside and out of this fantastic fire truck camper. I have done all of the work myself, everything in here is either made or repurposed to fit and function as I intended. I am not a carpenter, welder, electrician, plumber, or interior designer, things are completed to a standard I am happy with and it all is fully functional.
I hope you like the video and the camper, if you do please subscribe on YouTube for more content from me and my collection of things.
In 2017 I took a bike ride from Düsselfdorf along the Rhine, on the way I found a Mercedes Benz fire engine in a park up. At the end of the summer I travelled back to Germany to collect a Mercedes Benz Fire Engine to convert in to a camper.
The initial project took six months to complete, turning a working fire engine into a family camper, a basic conversion but a working one none the less.
During the conversion I made some rough videos that explained what what was going on, these videos form the basis of the film that I introduce here. This film takes me from a trip to Kempen, Germany, to collect the Mercedes Benz 608D Ziegler LF8, a drive across Holland to the ferry at Hoek van Holland and back to the UK to Hundon and the workshop, this is where the work took place.
Forget what you might have seen on the TV, this one works well.
If you see it come and say hello, take a look around and hop in.
The first MOT and registration was completed by the end or March 2018 and the Fire Engine Camper Van took to the road at the beginning of many adventures, and may more to come.
We have been to France and Holland many times, Belgium and Germany too as well as a few trips around the UK. When I collect the Düdo it had 19,000kms on the tacho, now it is reading 29,500 or so, over 10,000kms in two years, here comes year three.
I took a mountain bike from Sawbridgeworth to Brick Lane almost entirely along the rivers and canals that lead from the countryside into the heart of the city. From rural Sawbridgeworth through Harlow along the River Stort to Dobbs Weir and the River Lea. Following the River Lea through Enfield and over Hackney Marshes to The Olympic Park, onwards on the Hertford Union Can to Victoria Park and weaving between the walkers and strollers on a bright winter morning. Joining the Regents Canal through Hackney to Dalston, up onto the roads and finally, via Columbia Road to Brick Lane.
Guided by RideWithGPS and a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt The GoPro kept going but the main camera battery ran out, so not much talking on this one.
29 December 2019
#bikeride #cycletour #riverlea
Video of the morning is on YouTube, if you like it please subscribe and hit the like button too.
Last year was about gathering all of the bits together to return the Citröen AX known as the ‘Turkey B’ into a working car. Most of the works are done, the car starts, runs, drives, stops and just about all of the electrical items within the car work too.
The AX had a pair of old but not original door speakers, missing the front grills. I have found a pair of replacement grills, speakers work perfectly well. I have fitted a Aigoss Car Stereo with Bluetooth, Car Radio with USB/SD/AUX Port from Amazon, works really quite well, including iPhone hands free.
In a nod to the special edition Citröen AX 11 K-Way I have found a 1980s K-Way sticker direct from France, placed on the boot lid and looking great, picture in the black and white section below…
There are a few more bits to sort out before the MOT, the clutch cable return spring and the windscreen washer switch need some attention, the interior needs a really good clean, I may remove the seats and carpet to see what is what there.
I have recently come across some original Citröen AX advertising material online, some at www.citroenet.com and some from general searching for information. The black and white publicity shot of the AX 11 shows the 5 door model at the time of launch. My black and white attempts show my AX exactly as it is now at it’s time of relaunch.
Here are a few pictures taken with a 1980s camera and some expired black and white film that I developed at home.
In October 2019 we set off for Amsterdam, choosing bicycles we made our way along the cycle routes of South Holland. Travelling slowly, cycling is meditation, a way of life and a way to reconnect.
From the early morning ride through the dunes towards Scheveningen with the lycra-clad speed freaks on carbon machines. Onwards to Den Haag and the cycle-shoppers with their baskets. Along the long straight roads that lead towards and past Schiphol airport and the deafening noise of planes from who knows where, into Amsterdam and Vondelpark and the chaos of cycling inner-city style.
A day to explore, the Jordaan of course, walking the streets and talking, making pictures and plans.
Leaving Amsterdam as the sun comes up, the wind is a mighty 45km/h full on headwind, 100km to go. Onwards towards Leiden, Den Haag and through the carefully constructed urban wilderness of the Haagsee Bos with commuters and prams. Approaching Hoek van Holland as the sun goes down, exhausted from the relentless wind. Satisfied.
This short film was made from the handlebars, conceived as a memory but so much more. Riding fills our heads with thought and mine with music, I remembered Seasons, this is Autumn but there are always thought of Spring and Summer. The serendipitous juxtaposition of the visuals with the early 70’s soundtrack is magical, at every musical juncture there is an extraordinary synchronicity with the hypnotic visuals, press stop at any point for a still, a silent moment in time on the journey.
The ‘Turkey B’ project continues. Over the past few weeks I have managed to install the repaired Citröen AX GT dashboard in the AX 11, all cabling, switched and other associated plastics have been located, cleaned and installed. EVERYTHING works!
The dashboard speedo unit is now refitted complete with speedo cable and all electrics, all lights work as they should. There is a little more cleanup and tidying work to do but for now it is looking really good and great to have it all functional.
The outside is coming on too, the bumpers have been cleaned and treated to some boiled linseed oil to bring them back to the correct colour. I think that the front bumper is missing one of the hidden steel supports towards the right hand side of the car, will need to see if I can find any reference to one being there, if there is a reference then my one is missing.
All exterior lights now work, the front has later model indicators with orange bulbs. The two rear light clusters have been refitted with new bulbs and all work. The rear wiper even works.
I managed to find a set of four genuine Citröen ZX 13″ wheel trims that almost identical to the original AX trims. The wheels have been cleaned and painted inside and out.
The front right hand wing had to be wrapped as the damage was such that it would have been impossible to repair and not that easy to find, if one comes along it will be swapped out.
Next job is the interior, the seats need to come out, carpet up and a thorough clean. Next time I am in France I will pick up some seat covers from the supermarket, I am sure I can find something there that will be fine.
This update has been a long time coming but I have had so much to do over the spring and summer I have had no time for updates, everything of interest has been on Instagram and Twitter, videos have been a bit slow to appear but as the nights draw in towards the closing of the year time becomes available to sit down and review things.
The first video update is from a trip we took to The Haut Languedoc at Easter this year. We took the VW T5 and spent 8 days travelling across France and back.
This is not a Van Life Video though, this is a document of a road trip. I like to see VanLife videos on YouTube and stuff on Instagram with people doing things and travelling with their chosen vans though these have become something of a cliché these days, the pained expressions of those who are catastrophizing about the worst case scenario of the predicament they find themselves in, the ‘big deal’ about travelling Europe in an old vehicle, perhaps even 30 years old, well I have a couple of those and it doesn’t phase me, I have probably been doing it too long, once upon a time we were called ‘New Age Travellers’ I suppose. How to ‘make the most of a small space’, simple, get rid of your stuff. The worst is probably the ‘chavs in vans’ type thing, no interest to me, I like to travel and see stuff, no supermarket Park4Night for me.
It has been a long spring and summer and most of it has been spent travelling around France, Belgium, Holland and Germany in the VW T5, the Mercedes Benz 608D Fire Engine Camper and the Renault 4, some work on the Citroen AX and a cycle around Benelux.
This is the first of a number of films made while travelling.
In this short film I document the main points of a road trip we took to the Haut Languedoc in April.
Leaving Cambridge and travelling through the Channel Tunnel onwards to Amiens for La Grande Réderie d’Amiens, on around Paris to Orleans, driving through the centre of France to Clermont-Ferrand and finally to the Haut Languedoc and Sète and the Mediterranean. Heading back we spent another day in Amiens and then the final afternoon and evening in the citadel of Montreuil-Sur-Mer.
This film has no talking, no explaining or how to information, it is just a document of 8 days spent travelling and being in France, April 2019.
Early April 2019, the Mercedes Benz 608D Fire Truck has been parked up for most of the winter months in Suffolk. We decided to take a drive around the Suffolk countryside to test everything.
A cloudy day but dry and ideal for a short shake down drive towards the fuel station to get a full tank of fresh fuel.
There have been a number of modifications over the winter, most significant is the new storage in the bedroom area, the main unit has been adapted from the original Fire Truck hose reel holders using the original 1980s hardwood marine ply with the addition of some other pieces of pine as trim. Here is a picture of the unit before it was adapted.
There is quite a lot of this plywood left over, the truck had two of these hose reel boxes so I have disassembled them both and now need to find useful homes for it all, more to come on the bedroom area and additional storage and lighting.
Check out the video of the short drive, some good engine sounds too.
It is only the second time I have done this, last year for the first MOT we had a very snowy day, no such luck this year.
We set of early so we could get to the MOT station as soon as it opened, we had an 8am appointment. I knew there was nothing to worry about but with all MOT visits I am always reminded of the past and the very poor vehicles I have take in the past.
The MOT tested required some assistance with the basic controls of the converted fire truck, ‘Where are the lights?’ and ‘How do I start it?’ shortly followed by ‘How do I stop it?’ This year though there didn’t seem to be any need to test the flashing lights and siren, shame.
The MOT tested had several comments such as ‘Its like new isn’t it.’ and ‘It is in fantastic condition.’ Then, after a swift exchange of the fee and I now have another years MOT. It will only require 4 more then it will qualify for exemption as it will be 40 years old. Still only showing 24,000kms on the speedo.
German Fire Truck Camper Conversion | DIY Camper | DIY Campervan