The Sprinter Van’s Glamorous Turn

When Kendall Jenner attended the 2022 Met Gala in a Prada gown with an enormous flowing skirt, getting her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art required special transportation. A limousine would not do, nor would an SUV — walking in the dress was a challenge; sitting, impossible. The solution: Ms. Jenner would be driven, standing, in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.

On the way to the event, as a way to relieve her anxiety about running late, Ms. Jenner relieved herself in an ice bucket while standing in the van. “Best decision I ever made,” she said of that moment in an episode of “The Kardashians” on Hulu.

The Sprinter van, a towering box on wheels with nearly six-and-a-half feet of head room, is a direct descendant of the earliest motorized caravans developed by Karl Benz in 1896. (Some 30 years later, he and Gottlieb Daimler founded the Mercedes-Benz company.) The Sprinter, first released in Europe in 1995, started being sold domestically in 2010. Last year, Mercedes-Benz unveiled an electric version.

The van — which can be used to transport up to 15 passengers (or cargo) — is appreciated by automotive enthusiasts for its build quality, reliability and versatility, as well as for the thrust and longevity of the diesel engine in most versions.

But other people have come to recognize the Sprinter for different reasons, among them its proximity to celebrities. The van has become a preferred mode of transportation for actors, singers, athletes and “Real Housewives,” and is now a staple in streets outside star-studded events like the Oscars and the Met Gala.

Sprinter vans, like the one behind Amber Valletta, a model and actress, have become a staple in streets outside red carpet events. Credit…Neil Rasmus/BFA
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