1970s / 1980s / German / Mercedes-Benz / Rust in peace

Rust in peace: Mercedes-Benz 407D

A detour to avoid construction work led us to the Mercedes-Benz 407D featured here. It’s sitting on a vacant plant of land in a rural part of south-eastern France, trapped between a small country road and a creek. There was a set of three-lug Renault wheels not far from the van, though the rest of the car was nowhere to be found.

A majority of the 407Ds built were panel vans with two side doors, but this one started life with a third door on the passenger side and, consequently, two rows of seats. Today, it’s set up as a camper. The three additional side windows and the vents in the roof were added during the conversion.

The 407D’s four-cylinder diesel engine has a reputation for being bullet-proof if it’s properly maintained, so we don’t think this one was parked due to a mechanical failure. Rust issues most likely sealed its fate. We’re pretty sure it spent a significant amount of time near a salty body of water. The sticker on one of the rear doors suggests the owner is either from Brittany, or a big fan of the region, which adds credibility to our theory.

Some of the rust has been poorly repaired — if you strip the paint and remove the bondo, this camper probably looks like Swiss cheese, an alleggerita variant of a slow-revving, toaster-shaped Benz. Its wandering days are over.

2 thoughts on “Rust in peace: Mercedes-Benz 407D

    • Ha! I can see that. Luckily, I’ve never found anyone dead in an abandoned car.

      There have been a few times when I’ve thought “this is it, I’m gonna look inside and there’s gonna be a dead dude with a bullet hole in the head” but nope, hasn’t happened. May it stay that way.

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