Call that a camper van mate? Take a Mercedes-Benz Zetros, kit it out to perfection and THIS is what Tachoblog calls a camper van!
Mongolians love their freedom – and obviously what makes a great camper van too - and greatly enjoy excursions into the varied natural surroundings of their high-altitude homeland.
Whereas only the horse was once a suitable means of transport for this purpose, two businessmen friends in Ulan-Bator – one of them owns a brewery where beer is brewed to a German recipe, while the other became wealthy as a shareholder in coal and copper mines – decided in favour of the Zetros as a more modern and luxurious way of negotiating the terrain.
The two friends use their unique jumbo off-roaders for multi-day excursions into the Altai mountains, for example, where they hunt for wolves with an eagle.
Now click below for more…
As a three-axle truck with a permissible gross vehicle weight of 25 tonnes – up to 27 tonnes for export – the Zetros has a payload (“chassis load capacity” without body) or around 16 tonnes. The powertrain and chassis of the Zetros are based on the Actros and Axor series.
It was developed at the Wörth plant, where it is also built. All variants of the Zetros are powered by the OM 926 LA 7.2-litre 6-cylinder in-line engine developing an output of 240 kW (326 hp) and an impressive maximum torque of 1300 Nm from 1200 to 1600 rpm. A choice of two transmissions is available: the standard unit is the hydraulically/pneumatically shifted
G 131-9 nine-speed transmission (eight forward gears + crawler) with a direct-ratio top gear, with a six-speed Allison 3000 SP/PR fully-automatic transmission available as an option. The VG 1700 transfer case for the permanent all-wheel drive has proved its worth for decades.
It combines outstanding all-terrain capabilities with equally excellent off-road ride comfort, and these advantages also convince private customers looking for a base vehicle with which to undertake longer journeys off the beaten track.
Two Zetros (Zetroses?) have been converted into hunting and expedition vehicles according to customer specifications by the body specialist Hartmann in Alsfeld and the interior equipment specialist Huenerkopf in Neukirchen.
In each case the base vehicle was the Mercedes-Benz Zetros 2733 A with 6×6 drive (wheelbase 5350 mm) and the standard cab.
The cab’s features include a padded sleeping berth for the driver, an air conditioning system, a 24 V audio system with CD player, a CD changer, a Bluetooth hands-free system and a 7-inch touchscreen to which a reversing camera is connected.
A carrier system with a load capacity of up to 100 kg is installed on the cab roof. Four auxiliary spotlights and a twin air horn are mounted on this carrier, and the radiator grille houses four flashlights in red and blue.
At the rear there is a carrier for two spare wheels, with a dedicated lifting system which also enables cargo to be hoisted onto the cab roof. The reversing camera is able to activate additional spotlights at the rear for safe manoevring at night. An adequate operating range in remote areas is provided by diesel tanks holding 300 and 200 litres.
In addition to difficult road conditions, the body and interior conversion work had to take into account the very special climatic conditions in the desert, where the vehicles are to be used.
Extreme temperature fluctuations require particularly good insulation, and all the interior features were planned and installed to ensure that they are able to withstand the punishing conditions of off-road operations. The furniture was specially designed for use in tropical and desert regions.
Both vehicles have substantially identical bodies, though one of the two examples also has a rear vehicle bay able to accommodate a quadbike. The luxury long-distance off-roaders have an imposing length of 10.70 m (plus 60 cm for the model with rear vehicle bay), a width of 2.70 m and a height of 4.20 m.
The living area is a fully-insulated sandwich construction with walls, roof and floor of prefabricated sandwich panels insulated with hard PU foam and bonded together. The body structure is reinforced with additional edge sections.
The floor and roof have a thickness of around 100 mm, while the side walls are approx. 50 mm thick. The complete body structure is painted in the colour of the cab. The 800 mm wide entrance to the living area (710 x 255 x 200 cm) is on the right-hand side of the vehicle.
Entry is assisted by integrated steps and grab handles, and the robust high-security lock with triple action can be operated from both inside and outside. The windows of the living area are double-glazed, can all be opened and are fitted with mosquito nets and roller blinds.
The interior is clearly divided into different functional areas. The bedroom is located in the rear, and the comfortable leather seating group for four to six people is in the front.
There is also a luxurious bathroom with a marble floor and underfloor heating, as well as a large galley.
In addition to the bedroom in the rear there is sleeping space available in the living area itself. The table in the seating group can be electrically raised and lowered, and when lowered it creates an additional, large bed.
Now where did Tachoblog put our passports? We feel a trip to Mongolia to, ahem, road test these Zetros is in order!