Why would anyone be swayed to buy a Mercedes over one of the other models available on the market? I am acutely aware that buying a Mercedes usually costs more than buying most of the other brands of van, so what is it that makes them so desirable, and roughly how much is a Mercedes Camper Van going to be?
We’ll answer these questions and many more that you might have by taking a deep dive into all things Mercedes Camper Van related, read on…
What Types Of Mercedes Camper Van Are There?
Mercedes have a long and successful history of making powerful and reliable high quality vehicles, both cars and vans. Throughout that history a selection of their vans have been converted, both by dedicated coach builders and by individuals into Camper Vans.
Mercedes Vans come in all shapes and sizes, from the car sized vans known as Class B vehicles, to proper working sized vans, known as Class C vehicles.
Like anything in this world, some models of Mercedes Van are better suited to be converted to Camper Vans than others. Here are the models of Mercedes Van that have been converted the most, and far more importantly, these are the ones that have been converted the most successfully.
Mercedes Vans have a long history of being converted into Camper Vans. I thoroughly enjoyed researching it an marveled at some of the older images or early Camper Vans that I came across. I hope you will too.
The Mercedes Benz 319 L
This 1964 Mercedes Benz 319 L is one of the oldest models that I came across, although I am aware that there are some older ones. The 319 was (I believe) Mercedes’ first model of this class of vehicle, evolving in response to the the success of VW’s Panel Van which evolved into the now world famous VW Camper.
It is such a thing of beauty that I simply had to include it here. The Mercedes 319 L was built as a light commercial vehicle between 1955 and 1967, it was available as a Van, a Truck or a Minibus during it’s manufacture.
The original 319 L van came with a 43 HP engine that was used in the manufacture of the Mercedes Benz 180D car, so it wouldn’t have packed much power once fully loaded as a commercial van, or kitted out as a Camper Van.
Despite the lack or power it certainly has a beautiful design and it paved the way for the subsequent line of Mercedes Camper Vans of the future.
The Mercedes Benz T2
The successor to the 319 was the T2. The first Generation of T2’s were produced fro 1967 to 1986, they came in multiple configurations but importantly had a far more powerful engine, the the OM314 or the OM352, providing 79 HP and 84 HP respectively.
The T2 was a solid, spacious, powerful and reliable vehicle that can still be seen pounding the roads worldwide as we speak. They were ideally suited to being converted to Camper Vans and many models are still surviving.
A close friend of mine bought an extremely low mileage T2 Ambulance from a German Airfield that had spent most of it’s life fully serviced by the Military and sat on stand by.
He imported it and converted it himself into a Camper Van, which he then toured and climbed most of the peaks of North Africa in with his family, 2 Dogs and a Cat!
The 2nd Generation of T2’s were introduced and produced from 1986 to 1996. The 2nd Generation T2 was a serious upgrade on both power and design. Turbocharged engines of between 105 to 140 BHP were fitted along with a multitude of other features.
The Mercedes Benz Vario and Sprinter
The Mercedes Benz T2 was eventually replaced by 2 different vehicles. The Vario was meant to replace the Passenger Carrying capability of the T2, and the Sprinter was introduced to replace the Cargo Carrying capability. However, as we can see from the images below, their roles became interchangeable. Here is a Vario Cargo Vehicle and a Sprinter Minibus!
The Vario was produced from 1995 to 2013 but the iconic Sprinter which also began production in 1995 due to it’s versatility and reliability is still produced today.
Interestingly, the Mercedes Sprinter was so successful that the design was sold to VW where it was re-badged and re-engined into the VW Crafter and the VW LT.
We’ll discuss the suitability of the Sprinter as a Camper Van in more detail later.
The Mercedes Vito
The Mercedes Vito which came into production in 1996 is the Van offering from the Mercedes V Class range, a range which also includes the MPV the Mercedes Viano.
The Vito and Citan are in my opinion more suited to being Day Vans for the odd visit to the beach or overnight stay. I believe that more space is needed if you are going to have a dedicated Camper Van.
However, some people can get by with less space than I can, so I thought i’d include all the variants of Mercedes Vans for information purposes.
The Mercedes Citan
The Citan is advertised on the Mercedes website as a Panel Van and Leisure Activity Vehicle. It is a re-badged variant of the Renault Kangoo.
It is certainly large enough to be a good Day Van, but again I am not convinced on it’s suitability as a fully fledged Camper Van.
During my research on the Citan I did come across this extremely innovative idea of a modular conversion from Simple Camper Vans. Prices start at just £459 for a kit, which is a bargain in my opinion.
The module simply slots into the back of the Citan when the rear seats are dropped. It also folds away and stores in the boot space allowing the rear seats to be used too. According to the website, the installation time is around 5 minutes.
The Mercedes Bus Range
Mercedes manufacture a large range of Buses. There are quite a few Coach Built and DIY Built models available. If you are someone who feels the need for more space, and you have the necessary driving licences and of course the funds, a Mercedes Bus Conversion might just be more suitable for you than a Mercedes Camper Van.
Unimogs have been in production since the 1940’s and they have been used in Agriculture, Heavy Industry and the Military ever since.
Modern versions of the Unimog have the Mercedes Badge as Daimler-Benz took over manufacture of the Unimog in 1951, and produced it in their Gaggenau plant in Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany until 2002.
The Unimog is a vehicle that I am pretty familiar with as we had variants of them in service as All Terrain Military Transport Vehicles when I served in the Royal Marines.
They are a good size for a Camper Van and come in multiple configurations giving plenty of scope for you to get creative with Camper Van layouts.
More importantly for Military use and for that of the Off-road enthusiasts are their 4×4 and cross country capabilities, which are nothing short of excellent.
I think that just about covers all the variants of Mercedes Camper Vans that I have been able to unearth. The next logical step is to work out which variant is the most suitable for becoming a Camper Van.
What Is The Most Popular Mercedes Camper Van?
It appears from my extensive research that the most popular model of Mercedes Camper Van is the Mercedes Sprinter.
The Mercedes Sprinter is more than likely the most commonly used Mercedes Variant because it ticks so many of the boxes that are required when looking to convert a vehicle into a Camper Van.
- The Mercedes Sprinter has sufficient head room to allow standing without the need to add a pop top.
- Multiple Wheelbase, Cab and Passenger Configurations are available.
- Mercedes vehicles are known for their reliability.
- The Engine choices provide plenty of Brake Horse Power (BHP).
- Multiple Engine and Gearbox Combinations are available to suit most demands.
- A Worldwide Mercedes Maintenance, Repair and after Sales Service set up exists to support owners.
- There is a plentiful supply of Mercedes Sprinter Vans available on both the new and second hand markets.
- There are always plenty of completed Mercedes Sprinter Camper Van Conversions, both Professionally Coach-Built and DIY models available for sale.
- Unconverted Mercedes Sprinter Vans can be affordable, or at least good value for money, if you know what you are looking for and do your due diligence.
- Converted Mercedes Sprinter Campers hold their second hand price well, so you should be able to get a decent trade in value or sell on price.
How Much Is A New Mercedes Camper Van?
I have to admit the I was somewhat astonished when I saw some of the eye watering prices being demanded for professionally Coach Built Mercedes Sprinter Camper Vans.
It appears that a Top Spec’ Mercedes Sprinter Camper Van can easily cost over £160,000 or $200,000 depending where in the world you are reading this. This Winnebago Revel below comes in at a staggering $175,000 new!
However, more affordable new Camper Van versions of the Mercedes Sprinter are available direct from coach builders and can be picked up for around the £50,000 or $60,000 mark.
Like anything, if you want more features, you are going to have to pay for them, so think carefully about what sort of configuration you really need. There is no point in paying out your hard earned savings for lots of features and gadgets that simply won’t get used.
Check out the promotional video of this beautiful 4×4 Sprinter Conversion by “Advanced RV”, based in Cleveland, Ohio:
How Much Is A Used Mercedes Camper Van?
Used Mercedes Sprinter camper Vans are where you can pick up the best value for money in my opinion. However, buying anything “used” is always a case of “Buyer Beware” too.
There are lots of genuine, honest sellers of Camper Vans in the world, however there are a few unscrupulous ones too, so you will have to be on your toes if you don’t want to get stung by one.
Good quality, used, Mercedes Sprinter Coach Built Camper Vans can be picked up for around £15,000 ($18,000), where as a good quality DIY Build can be picked up for as little as £5000 ($6000).
High mileage Camper Vans can be even more affordable as this puts many buyers off, but in the case of buying a Mercedes Sprinter with higher mileage than usual, it isn’t such an issue, as the Mercedes engines seem to go on forever.
As I mentioned earlier, used Camper Vans manage to hold on to their price quite well, especially Mercedes ones, but there are always bargains to be had if you spend a bit of time researching and viewing what’s available on the market..
With the current financial squeeze providing plenty of motivated sellers, and what looks like Covid 19 and the explosion of the “Staycation” coming to an end, there are plenty of Used Camper Vans available, so it’s a bit of a buyer’s market, which puts you in a good position if you are on the lookout for a used Camper Van.
Is It Worth Buying A Mercedes Camper Van?
In my opinion, Yes, it is worth buying a Mercedes Camper Van, and especially a Mercedes Sprinter Camper Van.
The Mercedes Sprinter is still small enough to be used in most places that a car can be used, although the height restrictions on some Car Parks need to be considered. But the Mercedes Sprinter is also large enough, and maybe even more importantly, tall enough, to provide ample space to be used as a dedicated Camper Van too.
How Much Is A Mercedes Camper Van? – Summary
We’ve discussed the variants of Mercedes Vans that are available, both Classic and New, what is currently available in the New and Second hand markets, both in professionally Coach Built variants and DIY Projects, and how much you should roughly be paying in each market for them.
I think that sums up the Mercedes Camper Van Market pretty well, but if there is anything you think I might have missed or should go into in more detail, please drop me a message on the Contact page and I’ll consider it.