Funkwagen (1965 S404.1 Radiobox)

History of the Funkwagen


How I Found and What I Found

My 1965 S404.1 Radiobox (Funkwagen). I purchased this vehicle from Craigslist.org from a local guy who had it stored in a covered storage facility near Sherwood, OR. Previous to his ownership, it had been driven regularly by an older gentleman and then parked for 5 years (reason unknown). Later, the owner attempted to revive the vehicle only to find that a couple cylinders had collected moisture and thus the engine was seized. A spare engine (although a M129 2.5L and completely incompatible) was found and thrown in the back of the truck before it was sold. On to the next owner.

Meeting after work on a Tuesday night I brought some down-payment cash incase it was exactly what I wanted. I met at the U-Pull-It on 99W and we headed out from there. Three minutes later I was looking at what would become my new Benz. The truck was dusty but not mudded or off-roaded heavily. Excellent seats and almost completely rust free body had me sold. The engine had the covers off but it remained fairly untouched. At a mere $3800 for a rust free 404.1 Radiotruck, I was going to overlook this stumbling block. Threw down some cash and it was mine. Two days later it was at the shop where I work and the next night it was running and driving under its own power.

Getting the engine to turn over was a bit of a task. Removed the spark plugs, filled the cylinders with some Mystery Oil and waited. I got impatient and decided that tugging on this thing with Zesty was the best idea for freeing the engine. With the truck in 6th gear and the bus in first, a few running clutch drops along with a very good strap got the engine to roll over enough to eject oil all over the drivers seat/window/door/roof/exterior. I cleaned this mess up, cleaned up the plugs, poured in some gasoline, threw in two batteries and after finding a crimped fuel line (someone attempted removal of the steel hardline at one point and twisted a closure into it), I had it running.

Next on the list was to change all the fluids, set the point gap, change the spark plugs and set the timing. Once this was done all that remained was a couple electrical gremlins and to see if the engine had a popped head gasket. It didn't. The non-operational brake lights were tracked down to a bad connection in the 4-way flasher switch and after some cleaning/tuning...the truck was driving wherever I pointed it.

Options/Specifications 404.1 Radiobox

  • Introduced 1955
  • Discontinued 1980
  • Width 2130mm (84in.)
  • Length 4900mm (190in.)
  • Height 2190mm (86in.)
  • Wheelbase 2900mm (114in.)
  • Turning Radius 13m (42.6ft)
  • Empty Weight 7450lbs
  • Gross Weight 9700lbs
  • Fuel 2x60L (15.9 US gal)
  • Ground Clearance 400mm (15.7in.)
  • Fording (w/o equipment) 800mm (31.5in.)
  • Transverse Angle
    • On Side Slope: 42 degrees
    • Approach: 45 degrees
    • Departure: 46 degrees
  • Climb 70% grade
  • Descent 90% grade
  • Average Fuel Consumption 10-14mpg
  • Engine
    • 2.2L Inline 6-cylinder M180 (80HP)
    • 24 Volt Electrical System
    • 2 Barrel Zenith Ndix-32 Carburetor
    • Modified distributor/cap/rotor/plugs/wires for civilian 220S
  • Transmission
    • 6-speed Forward 2-speed Reverse Full Syncro
    • Forward: 14.93/8.23/4.47/2.46/1.52/1.0
    • Reverse: 20.12/11.09
  • Radiobox
    • 6-window 3-door Radiobox w/ Desk & Storage Cabinets
    • 24 volt independent eletrical system with interior lighting
    • 5 exterior antenna ports
    • 2 pop-top vents
    • Blast shields for windows