1968 Mercedes-Benz MB O317
Premium Classixxs - 12206 (diecast)
By 1968 Porsche was thoroughly and very successfully in the racing business, therefore they needed a transporter to haul their race cars around Europe. But, with no trucks or buses of their own, they went to Mercedes-Benz and ordered two O317 (“O”, not zero) bus chassis.
The O317 was introduced in 1957 as a “full size” city bus. Produced until 1977, later models had in all-air suspension. On request they could receive the OM 355 engine, bedded between the axles. It was a 11.6 liter flat horizontal direct-injection diesel engine producing 230 hp*.
Both buses were delivered as bare chassis with engines to Robert Schenk, a company also from Stuttgart. Robert Schenk then made all the bodywork to specs from Porsche. He had an eye to fit the big Carrera 6 LH.
This particular bus was in terrible shape until acquired by the American racing team (and Porsche dealer) Brumos. They restored it to original specs, and is now in the Brumos museum. After it was ready it received the nickname “Buster”. The model surprised me when I opened the box. Honestly, I was expecting a much more subdued detail level. This is easily what I saw in an at least decent (if not downright good) 1:18 model!
Unfortunately no shots of Buster with a car on the ramp. That’s because I’m too much of a pragmatic bonehead to use a car that isn’t historically accurate. And I don’t have (yet!) any car that would be historically right. So, that shot (to my total grief) will have to wait some time to come to fruition.
This is a true “nice” 1:43, and will appeal to Porsche collectors in general. Premium Classixxs have a few O317s in period-correct team liveries (like the Rothmans). Granted, it is BIG, therefor you need a lot of space to display it. So all in all Buster is a terrific model, just not perfect because I don’t have a proper car to display on the ramp yet…
*: I’m basing this info on tidbits of facts that I was able to round up from many sources. Very differently from race cars, there isn’t much info on old buses on the web. And about race transporters, even less. So even though (I think) the information is factual, I can’t be certain that these were the actual specs.