Truck Stop Classics: Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles – Three-Pointed Star Trucking

Throughout its post-World War II history, Mercedes-Benz has been offering an almost unbelievable range of commercial vehicles. Just name it, they build it; from the mid-size Vito (Metris) panel vans to the gigantic Actros SLT heavy-haulage tractors.

Mother Daimler Trucks has become the world’s largest manufacturer of heavy trucks. During the company’s growing process, multiple renowned names from the industry have been swallowed by Big Mama Benz. Hanomag-Henschel, Freightliner, Western Star, Mitsubishi Fuso and Detroit Diesel were all chosen from the menu at some point in the past, to give you an impression.

Order a Benz truck and you get a genuine Benz truck. The frames, cabs, engines, transmissions, transfer cases and axles are all in-house products. Over the last month I found a handful of classic representatives of the venerable truck manufacturer.

Starting with the oldest, a 1957 Mercedes-Benz L 311. This truck model dates back to 1949, it was initially marketed as the L 3250. Worth mentioning is that this series replaced the “Opel Blitz by Mercedes-Benz”. From 1945 to 1949 the first generation of the Opel Blitz was built by Mercedes-Benz, the truck was offered in both Opel and Mercedes-Benz variants.

From 1953 onwards the company also offered the L 312, which was an L 311 with a higher payload capacity. AWD and forward-control chassis were also available. In Europe, conventional trucks and tractors were still the norm in the fifties, but that would change drastically in the following decades.

The truck’s OM 312 diesel in all its glory. An inline-6 with a displacement of 4,580 cc. Initially good for 90 DIN-hp, from 1956 onwards 100 DIN-hp.

Look, real wood! But that’s about it. The transmission is a 5-speed manual.

Another L 311, a 1960 flatbed truck with dropsides and a truck bed canopy; a highly common set-up.

Here’s the famous Düsseldorfer Transporter, a 1979 Mercedes-Benz T2 409 (former) fire truck. No capital D on this one, as it’s powered by a 2.3 liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a maximum power output of 90 DIN-hp. Or in Mercedes-Benz language: the M 115 V 23 engine.

It’s quite logical that a fire truck had a gasoline engine, even in Europe. They don’t drive that much, luckily, and the ability of picking up some speed -all relative- is a big plus for an emergency vehicle. Saving fuel costs just isn’t a priority.

The first generation was introduced in 1967. In 1996 the second T2 generation (launched in 1986) evolved into the Mercedes-Benz Vario, which was sold till 2013. Not a Düsseldorfer anymore though, as it was built in Ludwigsfelde.

This model of light and medium duty trucks was commercially highly successful; the 1983-1998 LK-series, aka Ecoliner or Econoliner, internally known as the LN2. Its design still looks surprisingly fresh and modern, 35 years after its introduction.

Although it says 820 (as in 8 metric tons GVM, 200 DIN-hp) on the doors, this truck is registered as a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 817. Originally powered by an OM 366 A diesel engine with 170 DIN-hp. That’s a turbocharged inline-6 with a displacement of 5,955 cc.

There was an 820 alright, but only from 1994 onwards. It had the same engine as the 817, yet with an intercooler (OM 366 LA).

The LK-series’ cab was also used by Freightliner, pictured a 1986 Freightliner FLC112 wrecker (photo courtesy of

Agreed, this 2017 vehicle isn’t a classic (yet), but the G-Class as a whole certainly is. It’s a G 350 d, there’s a 3.0 liter V6 diesel under its hood with a maximum power output of 245 DIN-hp @ 3,600 rpm.

After a van-conversion it got a registration as a commercial vehicle, as indicated by the letter V on the license plate. I’d say a perfect professional trailer tower, clearly it’s also used as such.

I’ll get back later on with much more three-pointed stars, yet not on trucks or vans. I just leave this here for now, as a sneak preview.