Automotive

Puch G-Class mini-RV trots the globe as a literal Swiss Army camper

Puch G-Class mini-RV trots the...
Lorinser goes beyond a basic restoration, turning this Puch 230 GE into a full mini-motorhome
Lorinser goes beyond a basic restoration, turning this Puch 230 GE into a full mini-motorhome
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It looks like a Mercedes-Benz G-Class right up until you get close enough to see the Puch badge
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It looks like a Mercedes-Benz G-Class right up until you get close enough to see the Puch badge
Lorinser goes beyond a basic restoration, turning this Puch 230 GE into a full mini-motorhome
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Lorinser goes beyond a basic restoration, turning this Puch 230 GE into a full mini-motorhome
External hookups
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External hookups
The 230 GE comes powered by a 114-hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder
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The 230 GE comes powered by a 114-hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder
Lorinser swaps in a modern RV window that opens
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Lorinser swaps in a modern RV window that opens
The original rear door design serves as the motorhome entry
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The original rear door design serves as the motorhome entry
Most of Lorinser's work was in the back, but it did add leather upholstery and refurbish the
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Most of Lorinser's work was in the back, but it did do some cab refurbishing
The divider keeps things neatly organized without blocking p
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The divider keeps things neatly organized without blocking passthrough
The camper conversion includes a convertible sofa-bed, kitchen counter with sink and storage
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The camper conversion includes a convertible sofa-bed, kitchen counter with sink and storage
Inside Lorinser's Puch G
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Inside Lorinser's Puch G motorhome
No fancy multifunctional steering wheel; Lorinser maintains the original
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No fancy multifunctional steering wheel; Lorinser maintains the original
Instrument panel
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Instrument panel
No stove, but campers can do their cooking the easy way - in the microwave
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No stove, but campers can do their cooking the easy way - in the microwave
Sink with adjustable faucet
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Sink with adjustable faucet
There's not much extra space for storage, but Lorinser does its best to keep things organized
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There's not much extra space for storage, but Lorinser does its best to keep things organized
Removable dining table
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Removable dining table
The bed technically sleeps two, but we'd be inclined to pack a tent in case things get too cozy during the trip
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The bed technically sleeps two, but we'd be inclined to pack a tent in case things get too cozy during the trip
Look from the front end of the bed
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Look from the front end of the bed
Lorinser also sells hardtop Puch 230 GE models without the motorhome love
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Lorinser also sells hardtop Puch 230 GE models without the motorhome love
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Usually the term "Swiss Army camper" denotes a multifunctional camping vehicle (or kit) with swiveling and folding components meant to quickly transform on the fly. Such designs rarely ever have any material connection to Switzerland's actual armed forces. But in the case of this Lorinser Puch 230 GE, the term comes to mean a motorhome with verifiable Swiss Army roots. After finishing its military career in Switzerland, the 1993 G-Wagen becomes a worldly adventure rig, marrying an ornate high-roof camper body with a super-efficient two-sleeper interior complete with solar-backed power and microwave.

As G-Class aficionados know all too well, Mercedes' rugged 4x4 is built by Austria's Magna Steyr, previously Steyr-Daimler-Puch. It was originally sold as the Puch G in several markets outside of Germany, including both Austria and Switzerland. Earlier this year, Germany's Lorinser Classic got its hands on a few dozen ex-Swiss military Puchs and began selling them. The high-roof models look something like this in basic form:

Lorinser also sells hardtop Puch 230 GE models without the motorhome love
Lorinser also sells hardtop Puch 230 GE models without the motorhome love

While customers can pick up a basic high-roof 230 GE starting around €15,500 (approx. US$16,825), Lorinser goes much further with #25881, transforming it into a compact off-road motorhome perfect for open-ended adventure trips. The map covered bit isn't a motorhome module, just a redecorated original body with fresh paint on its lower section.

The camper conversion includes a convertible sofa-bed, kitchen counter with sink and storage
The camper conversion includes a convertible sofa-bed, kitchen counter with sink and storage

Inside the rear door, Lorinser rips out all remnants of the G's utilitarian military past and refills the interior with a full motorhome floor plan that includes a long kitchen countertop with sink, sofa/fold-out bed and even a microwave. A detachable table clips to the kitchen block to create a cozy dining nook in conjunction with the sofa. The narrow space between the kitchen cabinet and passenger sidewall necessitates a bed that looks much more comfortable for solo adventuring but does include two separate mattresses to accommodate two people (snugly).

From the outside, the high roof resembles a sleeper roof design with built-in bed, but Lorinser sidesteps any temptations to make its mini-motorhome a four-sleeper, dedicating that upper space to cabinetry and open headroom. That's just as well because the two-door G cab only seats for two people.

The bed technically sleeps two, but we'd be inclined to pack a tent in case things get too cozy during the trip
The bed technically sleeps two, but we'd be inclined to pack a tent in case things get too cozy during the trip

Other camper amenities include solar panels, a command center, internal electrical outlets, auxiliary heating, external hookups and an awning. To help use every bit of the G's limited available space, Lorinser divides the rear cabinet into neat cubbies and hangs soft-sided wall organizers across the way.

The mil-spec 1990s G certainly didn't arrive at the shop with all the creature comforts of a modern gen-2 G, but Lorinser does its best to improve long-distance driving comfort. It reupholsters the cab seats and door panels and refurbishes the dashboard to make the whole cabin look and feel more like new. A half-height divider wall splits the driver and camper areas while still allowing for movement between the two.

Most of Lorinser's work was in the back, but it did add leather upholstery and refurbish the
Most of Lorinser's work was in the back, but it did do some cab refurbishing

New to the outside of the vehicle are LED headlights and BFGoodrich All Terrain tires around the 16-in steel wheels. Power comes from a 114-hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine mated to four-speed automatic transmission. The mini-camper has 88,000 km (54,680 miles) on the odometer and prices in at €69,900 (US$75,900).

Between its military heritage, Puch badge, incredibly efficient packaging and gorgeous map-covered body, we'd say this Lorinser G surpasses the likes of the Desert-Tec high-roof Land Cruiser camper van and Ex-Tec pop-top Land Rover Defender as the coolest little German-designed 4x4 motorhome we've covered this year.

Source: Lorinser Classic

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1 comment
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really neat. It is more than I really want to pay but it would be cool to drive one in an adventure.