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.