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Hagerty Employee

This restored Mercedes-Benz O 319 bus is a true labor of love

Though Volkswagen's Transporter would be the one to take the world by storm, it wasn't the only German automaker to produce such buses, vans, and small trucks in the 1950s. While the VW Type 2 Transporter arrived in 1949, Mercedes-Benz entered the fray in 1955 with the premiere of the L 319 trucks and vans, as well as the O 319 omnibus. The 319 line was Mercedes' first such offering since World War II, during which time the company was tasked with manufacturing the Blitz truck of its chief competitor, Opel.


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Can you tell me where I can find this vehicle for sale? Looked at Craig’s list but no listing. 

New Driver

Pit Crew

I was in the Army in the very early 70,s as an enlisted man attached to the Embassy in Bangkok Thailand and the motor pool had one of these that we would be provided on the weekend (or whenever we wanted it) with a Thai driver to almost anywhere we wanted.   Mostly used it for long weekends (we got lots of days off) going to the beach front resort owned by the US Government (military) where we would rent rooms or bungalows for a $1.50 a person per night.  90 kilometers south of Bangkok.  We would fill it up with Army, Navy, Airforce and Marine enlisted men and too much beer and have a good time.  Tell the driver what day and time we wanted to be picked back up and keep on with the party.   Did this probably 2 or 3 times per month.  The best part was it had embassy plates on it and all the occupants had full diplomatic immunity which means we would just get waved through road blocks,  no speeding tickets, no worries.   We all loved that bus, very nice ride and it was free.....  No air conditioning that I remember but when your wearing nothing but a swim suit and you got mega cold beer nobody cared.  Not to mention we probably needed all the ventilation to clear the air.   I will let your imagination fill in all the stuff we did in that bus considering we were all very young guys with get out of jail free cards... 

Intermediate Driver

The bus is on, has 2 days left on the auction, and the latest bid that I saw today is for $50K.  Good luck!.


Thank you for this great article about my 1961 Mercedes-Benz o310 Omnibus. The story and sentiments are pretty accurate. The bus sold for a respectable $82,500. Even at that whopping sum, I am still upside-down financially. I am at peace with the loss though. This is a pretty common theme among auto enthusiasts who go down the 'restoration' road. The difference is, this bus made a big splash and caused a stir in the international auto community when it hit the market. I even got a cool article written about the bus and my efforts in Hagerty magazine! How many people can say that?

Sal Orlando / Sitting Duck