Surrey Off-Road Specialists Limited

When Mercedes-Benz opened Mercedes World at Brooklands, they needed to provide fire cover in the event of an accident.

We have been making one off equipment used on Mercedes off-road support vehicles for a few years, so our name apparently came up to address their fire truck needs. We had a meeting and the decision was made to equip a Mecedes ML with a Thunderbird 2 style pod that would hold all the equipment that they needed to comply with Health & Safety and some recovery equipment. I designed a basic aluminium shell with pigeon holes built on a steel ladder frame that attached to the vehicle by bolting through the standard flip up tie down points built into the floor of the ML. This provide 4 substantial attachments that would avoid any drilling or modification to the ML, meaning that it could transfer from one to another easily and would not damage the interior.

I contacted Chubb to seek advice on what would be the best range of extinguishers to use (for years they equipped most of the trackside support vehicles found at race meetings etc) and to arrange a support contract and all the necessary paperwork for the H+S end of things.

We fitted some tie down points on the top to allow light equipment such as coats and dungarees to be bungeed on. The pod has sponge-lined pigeonholes at the rear with the extinguishers laying flat inside. They are not secured and are easily extracted when needed. The tailgate acts as a door to pod keeping them all in contained safely. There is a bulkhead at the front that prevents them travelling forward under hard braking etc. In front of the extinguishers there is an open fronted locker for fire helmets and the other equipment needed when putting out a fire. Tipping the middle row of seatbacks forward accesses this area. When the seats are locked back in their usual upright position, they provide a secure bulkhead for the gear stowed in there. Hopefully it will not see any action, but if it is needed it has a wide range of extinguishers for pretty well any eventuality. Each pigeon hole has a sign explaining which extinguisher lives in there and what sort of fires it will work on, so in a panic, it should be easy to select the right one for the job.

The next stage is to fabricate some adapters to enable it to fit into other vehicles in the Mercedes range to widen the scope.

Another interesting sideline project that has been fun to do.