Possible Camper Conversion? 1978 Mercedes Ambulance

This 1978 Mercedes-Benz 250 is a rare, W123-chassis ambulance conversion manufactured by German coachbuilder Miesen. The ambulance is believed to be one of a very small number of W123-based conversions, and with most of the conversions carried out by rival coachbuilder Binz, this is likely one of only a handful ever made. The seller is likely correct that it’s the only one in the U.S., so check it out here on craigslist for $9,200 if you’re looking for an unorthodox camper conversion.

This ambulanized 250 would make for a compelling camper conversion, thanks to its high roof and airy interior courtesy of expansive glass. Think of it as a precursor to the Sprinter conversion vans that are all the rage right now, except with tons more style and arguably greater reliability when you consider the legendary toughness of the W123 lineup. This 250 comes with a gasoline engine, four-speed manual transmission, and a host of other European market-specific components. This includes the smaller European bumpers, which the seller says have been added post-photos.

The seller notes he had to source many of the original, European-specific parts that had been replaced with U.S. components over the years, which begs the question as to how long the converted 250 has been in the States. The interior sports the typically tough W123 seating surfaces, along with numerous features specific to an ambulance model. These include a rear compartment heater; working front ambulance light; recorder/radio with recording function via a hand-held microphone; and functional SLS rear suspension. The interior looks quite tidy, too.

The engine bay is very clean and features air horns. The seller notes that the carbureted inline-six engine benefits from a refreshed gas tank, new fuel lines and filters, and a fresh battery. New carpeting has been installed in the rear section of the ambulance, but the interior otherwise remains untouched. Overall, this is an impressively clean specimen of a seriously unusual W123 Mercedes. I personally wouldn’t have the heart to change too much, but others may see a perfect foundation for a camper. Which side are you on?

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Comments

  1. Mike

    Probably the first comment he gets is “hey, nice hearse”.

    Does it really need that much side glass?

    Like 6
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Unorthodox – yes, desirable – yes, unique – yes. It’s something that many would want to have including me. Really don’t know what I’d use it for but that’s a minor point.

    Like 12
  3. Stevieg

    I never understood why people like ambulances but not hearses. People actually die in ambulances. Rarely does anyone die in a hearse.
    I like both, so it doesn’t bother me. People have also died in my house, & I am not moving until I leave for Arizona.
    Anyhow, those of you that read my little comments know I love unique cars. You also know I like “professional” cars. This is both, yet I am not into it. Sure is in nice shape though. I hope someone buys and appreciates it for the unique classic it is, just I am not that person.

    Like 7
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      I liked hearses especially when I was young, they made great party vehicles, especially the mid 50’s Cadillacs. Friend had one that we used to set up for party’s. Do you have any idea how many kegs of beer you can carry in one of those? A lot more than I could load and unload in a reasonable amount of time. We made the mistake of painting it up with all kinds of images, it was not bad looking but it became instantly identifiable to the police once they’d run into it once or twice. Another paint job restoring it to black, at least it wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb (which it didn’t) and we did our best to disguise it when we could.

      Like 3
    • djjerme

      So, are we just going to skip over his “People have also died in my house” comment?!

      …mind went to torture basement. I need to back off the Haunting on xxxxx street movies on Prime I guess.

      lol

      • Stevieg

        No torture chamber lol. A previous owner, an old lady, passed away in what is now my bedroom back in the 1940’s. My house is also a 2 family & a former tenant passed away in her bedroom from a drug overdose.
        Many of the former occupants are no longer with us, but most passed away elsewhere.
        So, no torture chamber, just an old house with a bit of history.

        Like 1
  4. JRH

    Limo tint the side and back windows then go from there.

  5. JRH

    Limo tint the side and back windows then go from there.

    Like 2
  6. Racingpro56

    One purpose of an ambulance is to get the patient to the hospital as quickly as possible. Not sure this would have been the best vehicle choice for that task. It would however make the trip 300,000 times reliably. I love W123’s but I would rather have the 300TD pictured towing said 250.

    Like 6
  7. Miguel

    The car based example of this Mercedes doesn’t sell for much.

    Does the ambulance conversion add value to the car for most people?

    Like 1
  8. Miguel

    This is an interesting tidbit from the ad.

    “The car has some rust at the jack points and some other places but nothing structural.”

    Wouldn’t the jack point be structural, if you needed to jack it up?

    Like 8
  9. John Member

    Don’t see any emergency lites nor a siren under the hood. Seems like a lot of glass for an Ambo., maybe a “transport” Ambo, lots of glass for the “senic”
    ride home from the hosspital. Make a nice “service’ truck

    Like 2
  10. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice! I’ve always loved this generation Mercedes-Benz, the W123. I’ve never seen a W123 ambulance before, not even while I was visiting Europe several years ago. I can see this being converted to a mini motorhome. I’d want mine with a 240D Diesel engine.

    Like 2
  11. BlondeUXB Member

    Does anyone offer a V8 swap kit ?
    Chevy or MB ?

  12. Karl Sisson

    Anyone know if the vehicle would have to be switched back to USA/Canada safety standards from Euro if brought into Canada ie bumpers,lights etc?

    • Miguel

      Karl, the car is over 25 years old so it does not need to be brought up to US standards.

      Like 1
    • Brakeservo

      Because it’s well over 15 years old, it doesn’t need to be converted to Canadian specs.

  13. Miguel

    The fact that the car is being towed in all the pictures belies the fact that it runs well.

    Like 1
  14. rod444

    https://imgur.com/9hIRo7l

    I dunno, even with a blocked out rear window in the bed area and tinted windows and two tone paint, Im not sure the vibe is “cool camper” so much as “somebody tried hard to make a cool camper”

    Its unique but probably more useful as a handyman’s tool hauler than a camper.

    Like 3
  15. jimmy the orphan

    If a person is in a wheel chair or has a family member who uses one ect. it looks like the inside might be high enough for a person to roll right in and roll right out with some kind of ramp The car is low to the ground so maybe it could work. Later JIMMY.

    Like 1
  16. Stevieg

    Good point Jimmy. I bet it would be good for hauling motorcycles, if it can handle the weight.

  17. K F van der Bijl

    Only a handfull made ? Type in Mercedes 123 ambulance , then pictures . Go . There were lots of them in Germany and The Netherlands and probably Austria , Switserland …….

  18. William K Dellinger

    Rather than a camper I’m seeing this as the worlds coolest wheelchair van

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