With the support of RTP’s museum in Lisbon, BTS broadcast technology solutions will exhibit a fully functional vintage OB van, built in 1957, at IBC this year. This will be quite a change from IBC2012, during which BTS premiered its new OB unit for Qatar TV, the 555th van built by the company.
The historic van to be showcased this year was ordered by Portuguese public broadcaster RTP and built in Darmstadt, Germany. A Mercedes Benz Model LP-312/36, the vehicle has a six cylinder Diesel engine with 110 horse power and a maximum speed of 76kmph. Designed specifically to cover outside events, it was equipped with the most advanced technology of the time and, being a truly mobile studio, was the first vehicle of its kind in Portugal.
The first broadcast was made from the Mercedes on 9 February 1958: a football match between Sporting Lisbon and FC Austria, held at the José Alvalade Stadium. The van was in service until 1980, and was completely renovated in 2006, as a result of an agreement between RTP and Mercedes Benz Portugal. It still contains the majority of the original televisual equipment and has been on display at RTP’s Museum and Document Office.
The restoration took over a year to complete and involved most of the interior and exterior appliances being restored or substituted. RTP’s Engineering and Technology Directorship later supplied the TV equipment, being faithful as much as possible to the era. The aim of the RTP was to preserve an important piece of the BTS’ historical, technical and cultural heritage.