A short history of the Mercedes-Benz 321 bus
My friends think I'm crazy when I say that I'd gladly use a bus or a truck or a van as a private and personal vehicle but the truth is, provided you live somewhere where parking space and road width aren't an issue, owning a big VAN for personal use can be fun. The vehicle you see here is a Mercedes-Benz O 321 H/HL Bus I can totally picture removing (nearly) all the seats and using this as a vintage mobile home.
The O 321 was introduced in 1954 and, over ten years of production, Mercedes sold 18,083 of them in over 60 countries including Middle Eastern countries and Latin America, thus becoming a bit of a brand ambassador for the Mercedes. It paved the way for the 302, its successor, which was even more popular with over 32,200 units sold.
It was launched in 1954, Germany was still going through a rebuilding process after WWII, meaning this was essentially was one of the first commercial vehicles designed after the War was over. It borrowed many of its design features from passenger cars like for example a subframe front axle suspension with coil springs. It was stiffer than most commercial vehicles at the time and stronger, and the rear axle had been fitted with leaf springs integrating a torsion bar.
Despite the size (over 9 metres in length), its turning circle was only 16 mt which helped drivers tackling the narrow streets of Europe and the winding mountains passes of the Alps and the Andes.
It was powered by an OM 321 6-cylinder 5.1-litre diesel engine producing 110 hp, good enough for a top speed of 95 kph (around 55 mph).