Its not often that you find a car that is cool, cheap, vintage and zombie proof, not to mention highly useful! But this 1967 Mercedes Bus O309 fits the bill and is for sale in Los Angeles, CA for $8500 via craigslist. The O309 (O stands for Omnibus!) was the Bus version of the Mercedes Düsseldorfer L406D van and this one was converted to an RV by a thoughtful previous owner.
The O309 looks very much like a city bus with its huge front greenhouse and form follows function layout. You won’t find anything that isn’t strictly necessary for getting people or products from one place to another – except maybe the dinner plate sized Mercedes emblem on the front. The O309s were sold all over the world and have super simple mechanical components that can be fixed with simple tools – many still run to this day in remote villages in South America and Africa without needing to visit a Mercedes Stealer.
This thing should be powered by a 55 horsepower 2.0 liter diesel engine taken from the 200D sedan (the OM615) but the seller states a 5 cylinder, so it could have been upgraded to a later 3.0 liter OM617 inline 5 diesel putting out 80 horsepower. Either way, this thing should be able to live up to its Bus-heritage (Vancestry?) and clog up the roads with black smoke and slowness like nothing short of a tractor. Mercifully it has a manual transmission – an auto in this thing would be downright masochistic on hills. Please upshift…upshift…no no too slow…downshift downshift…too noisy…upshift…rinse and repeat.
The inside has been converted into a simple RV setup – which should allow your passengers to walk around and risk dismemberment in a crash. As always with RVs – be sure to give everything inside a good dousing with toxic chemicals before sitting/sleeping/etc. Don’t check it with a black-light unless you want nightmares and never ever ‘rent’ an RV.
Even with the colossally slow MBZ diesel engine we think this thing could pull a track car around…albeit slowly – but you don’t need to go fast until you get to the track. Expect fantastic fuel economy compared to a modern 400 horsepower diesel pickup and this thing has more style than any RV this side of a Airstream. We think this would be a good deal if the paint is high quality and the price could be negotiated down a bit.
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