Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: Brent Co | posted May 29, 2012 15:48
23 years. 800,000 kilometers.
Gunther Holtorf, a retired German national, has just completed the Philippine leg of his around the world road tour... a drive that began in 1990.
Herr Holtorf, a former executive of Lufthansa Airlines, has been at the wheel of his 1988 Mercedes-Benz G300 GD with serial number 460333-17-061564 for over 20 years now, covering nearly 800,000 kilometers. His car, nicknamed “Otto”, is mechanically stock as it was in 1988, but the interior has been converted for long drives and tailgate camping with two beds in the back, novel storage ideas and basic cooking and camping tools.
To date, Otto and the Holtorf family (his son joins him on his trips, though previously he was accompanied by his wife, who passed away some time ago) has made 198 stops, with the Philippines being 199. They have toured places in the Philippines such as Mt. Apo in Mindanao, the Mayon Volcano, various beaches and other destinations.
Daimler AG pledged their support for Holtorf and his G-Class, promising to cover repair costs where ever he may be or even replace the engine, if need be. However, as a testament to the reliability of Mercedes-Benz, Otto's stock diesel engine is still running strong, and has not been replaced since it left the showroom in 1988. Holtoft also added that even the transmission and transfer case of Otto remains unopened. Negotiations are ongoing for Otto to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
After Holtorf leaves the Philippines, he is bound for Korea and then Japan to continue his world tour.