The 2022 World Cup kicks off in Qatar on November 20, 2022. Mercedes-Benz uses the big event as an opportunity to highlight one of its special buses from the 1974 World Cup in West Germany (the country was still divided at the time).
Back then, just 16 national teams participated in the tournament, rather than 32 today. Mercedes supplied the buses for transporting the squads and painted each of them in this vibrant shade of yellow and the color of the respective country's flag. In addition to the bright exterior, the '74 World Cup mascots Tip and Tap are on the rear window.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz O 302 Bus From The 1974 Football World Cup
Inside, Mercedes-Benz loaded these buses with amenities to keep the players comfortable while traveling to games, some of which wouldn't be appropriate today. Every seat had an individual ashtray. Also, there was a beer tap in the back. The amenities included a Blaupunkt stereo with a cassette deck. Air conditioning kept the teams comfortable.
The upholstery color scheme is a very 1970s mix of red and orange fabric. A white cover is over each headrest. According to Mercedes, all of the players on the West German squad had assigned seats on the bus.
The West German team won the 1974 World Cup by beating the Netherlands 2-1 in the final. Maybe the comfy bus helped them stay relaxed before the game so that they were able to score the big victory.
The World Cup bus in the Mercedes museum isn't an authentic example. After the tournament, the vehicles lost their special exteriors and went back to regular service. It was impossible for the brand to track down an original, so the company built an exact replica to put on display.
Mercedes introduced the O 302 bus in early 1965 and built over 32,000 during the production run. Customers could order a variety of four- and six-cylinder naturally aspirated diesel engines with outputs from 125 horsepower (93 kilowatts) to 236 hp (176 kW). An air suspension became standard in 1971 after previously being an option.