Mercedes-Benz LPS 333
“Rare” is not the right term for Heinz Kempf's LPS 333 – he owns the only roadworthy “millipede” tractor unit in the world.
If you want to know now what will be in demand in 20 years, it is perhaps a good idea to call on Heinz Kempf and ask him. At least if you want to take the story of his LPS 333 as the standard to go by. When he bought the tractor unit 20 years ago, it had been in an accident and was dented and the worse for wear, as it had been abused as a dumper. So initially the millipede just stood around and waited.
It took about 15 years for Kempf to get around to finding the time to work on it, but then things really started to happen. “We bent new sheet metal pieces and where we could we organised parts and fitted them. We left nothing untouched. Now the 333 has been completely rebuilt. It was one hell of a job,” said Kempf. One glance at the vehicle is enough – the filigree trim elements alone account for a good amount of work. “We painstakingly restored them all. From the ones that were still there and others we managed to get from somewhere,” said Kempf, who is a trailer builder from the Westerwald. And then he waxes lyrical about the details, and all of them are correct – no air vents in the front of the vehicle, they only came in a year later with the 334. Small exterior mirrors and not the larger ones, two small roof hatches and not the larger, more effective single one, the right indicators, the right switches. “We went through all the literature there was. It's all as it was in the original, right down to the very last little detail,” said Kempf.
Only the engine is not. “The original prechamber diesel had 192 hp and the revs were far too high. Almost all of them only lasted for two or three years. Then there was a goodwill arrangement that they were replaced by a new 200 hp direct-injection engine. That's what is in here,” said Kempf, who owns the only drivable LPS 333 in the world. The other one still in existence – not roadworthy – is in Norway. Now the only thing that needs to happen is that the local District Administrator must overcome his misgivings and give permission for the old number plate lettering of the Westerwald area to be used. That way Kempf can register his 333 with his personalised number plate “WEB-HK 333” (WEB for Westerburg, a former administrative district in the upper Westerwald). But with Kempf's good feel for futuristic topics, that is nothing to worry about. Perhaps the District Administrator should just pay him a call.