A Couple Explore Europe in a Converted 1987 Mercedes-Benz Fire Truck

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By Kate Reggev
Leaving their home in Berlin, a couple and their dog journey through Europe in a revamped fire truck purchased for about $14,670.

In 2014, Anna and Sebastian, with their dog Lotta in tow, decided it was time for a change—one that would take them around Europe on four wheels. Lovers of travel and classic cars, the couple spent nearly two years figuring out the perfect travel vehicle, ultimately purchasing a 30-year-old Mercedes-Benz fire truck from the German city of Bad Oeyenhausen and dubbing it Bombero, the Spanish word for "fireman." 

The top was lifted off the truck, and extra storage for items like bikes was added to the exterior.

The top was lifted off the truck, and extra storage for items like bikes was added to the exterior.

After about a year of demolition, design, and construction—which included emptying out the interior of the truck, opening the roof, and adding a lift-up top to accommodate standing height inside—the former fire truck was nearly ready for its adventure.

In the summer of 2017, Anna, Sebastian, and Lotta hit the road, leaving their native Berlin to visit the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece, all while traveling and living in their fire truck. Their renovation included lifting up the ceiling in the cab of the truck, rewiring for electricity and appliances, installing a small but efficient kitchen, and crafting a tiny bedroom with storage.

The truck underwent about a year of transformations before it went on the road.

The truck underwent about a year of transformations before it went on the road.

A fire truck proved to be an excellent candidate for a rehab project—it was affordable at only 12,500 euros, and had relatively few kilometers on the speedometer. What's more, it was looked after with utmost care, functioning much better than most 30-year-old vehicles.

A fire truck proved to be an excellent candidate for a rehab project—it was affordable at only 12,500 euros, and had relatively few kilometers on the speedometer. What's more, it was looked after with utmost care, functioning much better than most 30-year-old vehicles.

The interior features a compact layout with a wall oven, cooktop, bench seating, and bathroom.

The interior features a compact layout with a wall oven, cooktop, bench seating, and bathroom.

The kitchen countertops connect the travelers to their former residence in Berlin; the wood was taken from a neighbor's house and was slated for the dumpster. The pine was instead rescued and used to create the kitchen countertops and cabinet doors.

The kitchen countertops connect the travelers to their former residence in Berlin; the wood was taken from a neighbor's house and was slated for the dumpster. The pine was instead rescued and used to create the kitchen countertops and cabinet doors.

The couple sleep in a lofted bed with storage directly adjacent.

The couple sleep in a lofted bed with storage directly adjacent.

Efficient storage in the kitchen included shelving that double as areas for display of travel memories and photos of family and friends.

Efficient storage in the kitchen included shelving that double as areas for display of travel memories and photos of family and friends.

Project Credits:

Interior Design: Anna Schlüter

Engineering & Construction: Sebastian Schlüter

Advisor & Carpentry Support: Peter Lenz

Advisor & Electrical Work: Franz Schlüter