That’s the motto that both Peter Buettner and the cross country vehicle type Jeep follow. We had a look at what happens when the two come together at Peter Buettner’s in Wertheim.
“Come on in”, Peter Buettner called from his sitting room. Easy to do if you know that the hip-high bloodhound Froni is, in fact, sunshine pure. For a stranger, however, Froni is first of all huge and the information that we are talking about a pedigree “bloodhound” doesn’t help to instill confidence. Such thoughts are quite unfounded, and as soon as we sit round the kitchen table Froni shows herself to be the biggest cuddly dog in Tauberfranken.
Froni’s owner, Peter Buettner, has never let himself be satisfied with small measures. Despite his thalidomide impairment he has spent his life intent on greatness. Besides his job as staff consultant at the University of Wuerzburg he has also played football for decades, run marathons, taken part in bike and alpine ski races -virtually without arms. Most people wouldn’t dare to do many of these things with two healthy arms. “I can’t do all that anymore”, said the 55 year old regretfully. “My back’s bad after 26 years of office work. After all, I had to bend and lean forward tens of times a day for every piece of paper that I needed from the table. My backbone wasn’t up to it despite all the sport – and when I ended up having to have four injections a week for the lumbago pain I retired from active working life.”
This doesn’t mean that his life is less active. A further hobby is directly related to his bloodhound Froni – the 3 year old bitch is a trained human tracker dog – a mantrailer. And because Peter Buettner doesn’t do things by halves he has been a mantrailer trainer for 11 years and has trained dogs and their owners for the police, fire brigade and rescue service to help them find missing persons.
Things have been getting bigger in his garage, too, since 1988 – and more unusual. “Having driven a normal car using the necessary handling aids, a friend came up with the mad idea that I should try out a cross country vehicle”, Buettner said. “I’d never thought about it till then.” He quickly decided to drive to the local Mitsubishi dealer and just by sitting in the Pajero realized that the dashboard and the steering wheel were much nearer together than they were in a normal car – and thus more easily reachable. Buettner remembers “I was surprised how well it worked”. The first cross country vehicle was bought straight away and the handling as well as the experience when driving made it not only convincing but almost infectious.
Peter Buettner recalls “The wish for an original, really classical, cross country vehicle came 6 years ago. And I came across the four wheel drive Jeep Wrangler. After that I had the four wheel drive fever.” Not only did the Wrangler, with its vertical high rise dashboard and the the steering wheel close in front, present all the instruments within reach but from the start it gave the inspiration to view the car as a new hobby. “One day I saw an elongated Wrangler in sand colour with spare petrol canisters at the front of the car directly behind the mudguards”, Peter Buettner laughed and then became serious. “Since then I wanted that exact car.” He asked the worldwide Jeep boss in America about this Wrangler and got the answer that they were talking about a Concept Car and production wasn’t planned. However, Peter Buettner was never one to give up.
“What else could I do but build my own dream Wrangler”, he sighed. And ,as his wife had always wanted a camper, which he had difficulty driving because of the transporter typical seat position far away from the steering wheel and the instruments – he had the Wrangler individually converted, inside and outside, into a custom-made camper : complete with Webasto diesel heating, a kitchen block, fridge, running water and an outside warm water shower. The double bed was hidden under the rising roof – and even bloodhound Froni has her own place, just behind the driver’s seat – because, after all, she often has to go out mantrailing with her owner.
One of the greatest difficulties with the Wrangler conversion were the two outside petrol canisters. It was necessary to change the contour of the canisters in order to be able to open the doors completely, as the canisters were too near the front mudguards. “Find someone to rebuild a metal petrol canister”, laughed Buettner. In as much as the alteration had not only to satisfy the eye. “I wanted to use both 20 liter canisters for drinking water. So the canisters had to be not only waterproof but also to have a lining which could take foodstuffs. Not easy, but we managed it”, said the happy perfectionist.
The result of many months of conversion is an impressive four wheel drive vehicle which looks asmthough it’s just got back to Wertheim from the north Sahara – or it was just on its way to the Amazon jungle. The outdoor adventurer’s heart beats faster when looking at this absolutely professional vehicle which was built with a love for detail. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which Peter Buettner bought specially for conversion at the end of February 2016, was made 9 cms higher in order to have extra ground freedom when in open countryside. Besides that, the rear of the body was lengthened by 39cms, making room for the camper elements. The roof construction had to be new to take the rising roof made by Gazell, under which the double bed is placed. The Buettners drove on holiday together for the first time to the south of France in May of this year and in June Froni was taken mantrailing to Lago Maggiore.
The only simple things in Peter Buettner’s impressive Jeep are the aids he needs to drive with. Asked, he will produce a wooden spoon from next to the driver’s seat. “I need this to put the day’s kilometre reading back to nought after filling up. Everything else in the Wrangler is so well placed that I don’t need aids”, he smiles.
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