A German fire truck that has been converted into a world-travelling skiing expedition vehicle!
Fabian Lentsch is a professional skier, traveller and explorer. He’s the one with the crazy ideas who initiated Snowmads! Together with his friends, they travel the world skiing the slopes, paragliding, biking, surfing, and mountaineering! You can check out their website here.
It all started when his good friend Markus Ascher rolled up in an amazing 4×4 camping car, which inspired Fabi to built his very own tiny home on wheels! About a year later, they got together to plan the perfect skiing expedition vehicle! They needed a large, strong vehicle that could travel almost anywhere whilst accommodating several athletes and a media crew at the same time, and after two months of intense research, they bought a Mercedes 1113 LAF. The vehicle was built in 1985, and it was originally used in a German fire brigade.
They began the project by fixing as many things as possible, which involved demounting the flashing blue lights, removing any unnecessary cables, rebuilding the engine, and a lot more! Next, they took the truck to Lagermax, a company that provide a number of different automotive services, such as transport and logistics solutions, warehousing, and vehicle remodelling and processing. Fabi said that they were the real experts when it came to rebuilding the truck, and they played an invaluable role in the success of the project.
Fabi said he totally underestimated the scale of the project from the very beginning, and that the building of the truck was by far the craziest and most complex thing he had ever been through! Even just deciding on the size of the cabin and the positioning of the windows took several weeks! Nevertheless, they tried to move the project along as much as possible by polishing the raw cabin construction themselves, and by painting it, mounting the outer shell, adjusting the floor, and lots of other things. Fabi said they had to gain lots of knowledge in order to make it happen!
After this, they took the truck down to southern Austria, where they completed the interior design of the truck with the help of Infracom, and a company called Tschetschonig wood work. Even just insulating the metal construction of the van took over a week! They mounted a few wooden constructions on top of the Armaflex insulation, which they used to attach their furniture. This helped to eliminate any dew points inside the cabin, and they used Austrian sheep wool to insulate any gaps between the metal construction.
The truck was then driven back to Lagermax, where they finished the electronics and the priming of the cabin. They also mounted a skybox, put the reserve wheel on the front of the truck, installed a domestic generator underneath the cabin, and much more! When it came to the exterior design of the truck, their friend Julian Vogel spent a lot of hours painting it, which was done entirely with spray cans! Fabi says his work is unbelievable, so make sure you check out his website here.
Just before Christmas, they drove the truck back to Infracom, where they finished the entire interior design of the cabin in three very long days. All of the furniture was built with Austrian pine, and the truck has 8 official beds! There are 4 beds above the drivers cabin, 2 bunk draws, and a big fold-out bed in the back that sleeps 2 people.
At some points Fabi didn’t think it was worth finishing, as he had to spend months without going climbing, paragliding or going for a run, and they often worked several weeks straight, starting at 6am in the morning and finishing at 9pm in the evening, with just a quick lunch break in between. Over the course of the build he lost 7kg and went through a relationship crisis, but he said it was well worth it now that he can travel the world in a self-constructed truck and go skiing with his friends!
Our small wood burning stove has been used to keep the occupants of this incredible van warm and cosy during the colder seasons, and the truck has been altered and updated over time since these pictures were taken. Here, our tiny Salamander stove has been painted in a steampunk finish, and it’s been completed with a log store stand, a silver gallery rail and a direct air intake system, which helps to improve the draw of the stove if it’s going to be installed in quite a small airtight space.