Land Rover 130 Vario Mobil

This very unusual 130 camper conversion belongs to the german Emanuel Ebner, a Billing regular for the last few years. It serves as a rolling advertisement for his business FWD, a non-franchised Land Rover dealership in Waake, Germany.

 

The car started its life as a 130 single cab pickup. On this base the well-known german company Vario-Mobil grafted a cabin of their own.

In the back is a comfortable sitting group with an transformable table, giving the possibility to make a double bed. In front of it to the passenger side is a kitchen that contains everything you need. At the other side is a closet and the sanitary cell with shower and a flush toilet. Above the front seats is a large double bed that can be raised and lowered with the assistance of gas struts.. 10 storage lockers are mounted near the roof. Add to this the closet, the kitchen stowage and some room below the seats and you can carry quite a lot of useful and useless stuff.

 

The large passage to the driver/passenger seats can be obstructed by an heavy curtain for insulating and privacy purpose. An special lense in the back window allows the driver to use the inner mirror. The unsusual high window in the side door allows the driver to look to the right at intersections (remember it's a left hand steering). The step has an electric motor that pushes it out and in.

Above the front bed you see a very large (80x50 cm) roof window that can be used to access material on the roof or to simply enjoy open air sleeping. Another roof window is about the table.

All electrics work off the 12V circuit using the twin 70 Ah batteries which are recharged by 110 Watts solar panels when the engine does not run. The 80-Litre fridge can use electricity or gas. The winter-proof fresh water tank holds 122 Litres, the grey water tank 40 Litres. An Trumatic heating, as used in trailer caravans heats the inside using gas. The warm air even flows under the upper bed. The heating also warms an water boiler of 10 Litres, largely enough for a nice shower..

 

All this nice gear certainly puts up some weight so this 130 tips the scales at 3.1 tons with all tanks filled up. The back axle alone has to carry almost 2 tons due to the tanks and gas bottles being stowed there. All this weight and the height of 3 metres (10 feet) adds to an awkward feeling but you get soon used to it. Some care while driving trough fast bends is needed however. Also stormy weather can make long journeys quite intertaining but there's nothing a confirmed driver can't handle.

The rear uses custom made springs and a reinforced sway bar. The high weight gives still a comfortable ride and the articulation is still good with 300 mm, better than an standard unloaden 130. For those special occasions the rear diff contains an ARB locker. 7.50x16 tires give the needed clearance under the axles. The 300 TDi engine got an power cure using an large Allard Intercooler, an modified injection pump and an watercooled turbocharger. This gives an output of 141 horses and 300Nm of torque. The turbocharger also starts 200 rpm's lower than the genuine Garrett blower. The power-to-weight ratio is similar to an unloaden standard 130. Diesel consumption is between 12 and 15 litres/100 km. That's a bit more than the standard Defender but not much

 

if you consider the aerodynamics of a well-built brick wall. Twin tanks of 80 and 68 litres allow an range of well over 1000 km before refuelling. The company that did the engine modifications affirm the longetivity of the engine's not affected by the higher power output.

So now who needs this car? I don't know how it will cope with the dirt tracks in Africa or the water crossings in Iceland. But it's fully capable of coping with everything you wish to drive in Europe. I'd like one, please... if it wasn't for the price. Sure, these types of modifications are never cheap, after all you get what you pay for. The base price for the cabin is around 73000 DM. Add to this the price of an 130, around 45000 DM. Extras are the electric step, water heater, gel-batteries and solar panels, the large window above the bed and the roof rack for the cabin. The available extras for the vehicle include the power cure, tow ball, ARB locker, nudge bar, reinforced sway bar amd coil springs as well as an auxiliarry heater. In the end you have to pay around 140.000 DM for the complete vehicle. Ouch!

But if you compare it to the competition--- which competition? There's almost no vehicle this size around. Sure, you can get an pickup and strap a 'box to it. But you will loose a lot of off road capability if you want to keep an similar inner size. Or you can go to an Unimog and transform it. But try driving such a heavy beast in a normal camping lot... they will turn you around as you will destroy their soft ground. At the end this way will not be much cheaper than this Land Rover. Or buy an similar sized 2-wheel drive camper and stay on the tarmac. Not what you like to do, eh?

For more infos contact FWD GmbH, Markwinkel 3, D-37136 Waake, Germany. Fax 0049 - 5471/1565