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
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
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