Mercedes Benz 608D LF8 Fire Engine Camper Van Conversion | Van Life

Feuerwehr from Düsseldorf | Fire Engine Camper Van Conversion | Mercedes Benz 608D | Van Life UK

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.

Enjoy the video.

#FireEngineCamperVan #608D #VanLife

Citröen AX – Update

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 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.

#citroen #citröenax #voiturefrancaise

Renault 4 Suffolk Lanes

A short Sunday morning video playing with a few cameras and the Renault 4 on a drive over to West Suffolk.

GoPro – Inside Windscreen

DJI Spark – Drone Overhead

iPhone 6s / Rode VideoMicro – Low Level


#Renault4 #VoitureFrancaise #RetroRide

Amsterdam By Bike – October 2019

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.

Soundtrack – Seasons / Magna Carta

#BikeRide #Cycle #Meditation

Long Time Coming

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.

#roadtrip #vwt5 #vwcamper #campervan


Looe Beach – Exploring with Cameras

So, here is the thing, February is in the winter, Looe is in Cornwall, I go on holiday to Looe in February, why is the weather always so good?

Last month I spent the warmest February days on record in Looe walking on the beach and The South Coast Path.

I took a section of my cameras to document things, my iPhone 6 128GB camera with the Rode Micro attached, the DJI Spark drone and an old GoPro Hero3. I have hours of material from the week, this video is from a short section of a walk along the rock pools to Millendreath and the Black Rock beach café.

Look out for more or watch more stuff on the YouTube channel.

Mercedes Benz 608D Camper – Summer Trip 2018

The summer trip is over, it was quite a trip taking in the Port Eliot festival in Cornwall, a ferry from Poole to Cherbourg and then a couple of weeks exploring the Carentan peninsular of Lower Normandy and a drive back across northern France and home from Dover.

Great weather, some good food, some not so good food and a camper that covered nearly 2000kms without a problem.

Enjoy the video.

Mercedes Benz 608D – Summer Update

Wow, it’s been a very busy four or five months. I have been away so much in the fire engine that I have had no spare time to update this stuff, so many conversations with so many people, emails to deal with an the odd show and meet too. I have posted quite a few bits on Twitter and some pics on Instagram too, some more things here, here is the run down….

MOT Test | Feuerwehr Camper | Fire Engine Camper | Mercedes Benz 608D

The registration documents came back before the end of March which meant that I was able to drive the fire engine on the road as a camper van before I had planned, basic idea was to get it road legal for Easter but it was all done early.

Dobbs Weir | Feuerwehr Camper | Fire Engine Camper | Mercedes Benz 608D

First trip was a few days a Dobbs Weir near London, all went well and we tested everything.

Next trip was a few days in Montreuil sur Mer in France in May, a round trip on the Eurostar for a few days, all good too, had to explain the whole idea in French a few times but it was all fine.

Ypres Camping | Feuerwehr Camper | Fire Engine Camper | Mercedes Benz 608D

Late May we went to Belgium by ferry and back through France, this trip was the first time we had rain, good news, no leaks or drips and there was no condensation problems either, the fire engine turned out to be a great place to be when it rains, the sound of the rain on the roof is great.

Vorne Putten | Feuerwehr Camper | Fire Engine Camper | Mercedes Benz 608D

In July I went on a road trip through France, Belgium and Holland via Dover and back from Hook van Holland to Harwich, took the bike and did some rides around Vorne and Putten. The trip was just sunshine and 35 degree temperatures, sleeping in the van was fine and with all that sun the blackout curtains really helped with the early morning sun.

Hook van Holland | Feuerwehr Camper | Fire Engine Camper | Mercedes Benz 608D

Later on in July we set of on our summer road trip, first to Cornwall then over to Lower Normandy via Poole, probably around 1800kms with no real problems, a few little bits to deal with, loose bumper, bent tow bar drop plate but nothing more serious, there is a video of the road trip coming up…

Now back in Cambridge I have Summer Update video…. enjoy.

Look out for more videos soon..

Mercedes Benz 608D Fire Engine Camper – MOT Things

Last couple of weeks has been spend finishing, well, almost finishing the kitchen, beds and as much of the interior as necessary to finally call the fire engine a ‘motor caravan’ in the eyes of the DVLA for import and registration purposes.

Now, a ‘motor caravan’ has a Class 4 MOT, so as the fire engine is 6500kg gross weight it is technically a HGV and would normally require a HGV MOT test. As a ‘motor caravan’ it will become a Private HGV and require only a Class 4 MOT and crucially £165.00 a year road tax, and of course the import fee this time too, £55.00.

The kitchen section is basically complete, just need a few finishing touches, the handles and catches on the doors, lighting and some switches to the pump and fridge would be good but basically that is done. The rear bed is done, mattress on and very comfortable too. Dining area with four seats is complete, I made a new table out of 12mm ply and a 1970s caravan table leg from eBay, that is ‘secured to the wall of the vehicle’ and can be removed if required.

You can watch the progress here, this is not a ‘how to use tools’ video, rather a ‘this is what happened after I used tools’ video.

28 February 2018

The big day. Snow, wind and ice happened this week and all of the advice was to not travel. Thinking about the fire engine, it would be the only chance I had to use the new winter snow tyres that are fitted to their full potential so I just had to go for the MOT.

Setting off it was apparent that the snow tyres did exactly what they suggested, it was if the snow wasn’t even there, up hill, down hill, breaking etc all done without any issues at all.

We arrived for the MOT in good time, in a bit of snow storm, heaters working very well and lovely and dry and warm inside. The fire engine got a lot of attention, lots of photos and the MOT chap even played with the flashing lights and sirens. Soon the test was over, passed of course, why take something that will fail to a MOT? We collected the paperwork and set off for home, another snow covered ride but good fun.

Paperwork has now been completed and send for registration. None of the German efficiency now, we are in the hands of the DVLA, took 5 minutes to register for export from Germany, probably 5 weeks to register for import in the UK, if I am lucky.

More soon….

Mercedes 608D Fire Engine Camper Conversion – Kitchen and Tow Bar

I am loosing count now, can’t keep up with the work that has been done, so much done and so much to do, this time another short video of the work I have done over the last few weeks.

You might think ‘another bloke droning on about his van’, you would be right, but it’s my van and it’s great.

All of the recent work has once again been quite small bits and pieces and largely invisible – except for the kitchen. The basis of the kitchen is complete, just another shelf, some doors and finishing to do.

The exiting tow hitch is off and a new tow bar extender, drop plate and new tow ball with step fitted. On the roof I have replaced the blue caps with new old stock orange caps, found the pair on eBay, could quite believe someone had two the same for my fire truck!

Coming close to the MOT time now…. Then I will be using it….