The most Frequently Asked Question is probably "What is a Unimog?".
A Unimog is a truck/tractor built by Mercedes Benz. The earliest ones were built in 1946, and were designed to be
a tractor that the farmer could use to take his goods to market. The intention was to have a 4 wheel drive tractor
with same-sized tires on all four wheels. The original model 2010 was built until 1953, when
the model 411 started production. The 411 was equipped with a 25hp 4 cylinder Diesel. The 411 stayed in production
until 1974. In 1955, Mercedes introduced the model 404.1. It was quite a bit larger than the earlier models, and
had a much larger cargo capacity. The 404.1 came with a 2.2 liter 6 cylinder over-head cam gasoline engine, and
was capable of much better highway speeds than the earlier models.
Subsequently, Mercedes has released a lot of different Diesel engined Unimogs. They are in use around the world
in such diverse services as the military, municipal, fire fighting, construction, snow removal and mining.
There is no such thing as a standard model of Unimog. Each truck is custom built to the customers' specifications.
Therefore, there are tons of available options.
I have owned my Unimog since 1991, and driving it around town has always brought lots of curiosity from
people who have never seen a Unimog before. This often leads to some interesting conversations, such as:
|?: What the heck is that thing?
!: It's a Unimog.
?: That doesn't tell me anything! What's a Unimog?
!: Well, it's one of these trucks...
Many other Unimog owners have reported similar conversations, and many of the questions seem to be universal. The standard questions I get are:
|?: What is it?
!: It is a Mercedes Benz Unimog, a one and a half ton four wheel drive truck. It used to be a fire truck.
?: Is it four wheel drive?
!: Yes, that's why there are drive shafts to both axles.
?: Will it go anywhere?
!: Almost anywhere there is a road.
?: Does it float?
?: Is it an Army truck?
!: No, the army doesn't usually have red trucks. It was a civilian fire truck.
?: How fast will it go?
!: About 55 or 60mph on a flat road.
?: What mileage does it get?
!: The worst I've gotten is about 7mpg, the best about 12mpg. That's about the same as an old Blazer.
?: Where do you find parts?
!: Auto parts stores, and sometimes Unimog parts dealers.
?: How much did it cost?
!: About $10,000.00.
?: Have you ever gotten it stuck?
!: Oh, yeah.
?: What engine does it have? Really?
!: A 2.2 liter overhead cam straight six, with about 90hp.
Jim Molloy reports these questions:
|-"Who makes these?/Is it really a Mercedes?"
-"Is that a gun turret?"(we have a hardcab with a hatch)
-"Is this thing Diesel?"(scary when it comes from an attendant already pumping gasoline into the tank)
-"Does it float?"
-"Is it four wheel drive?"
-"Is this...uh...like...uh...an early Hummer?"
-"What does your license plate mean?" ( L F ANT on a big, slow, tall gray truck)
-"So, will this go where...like...Jeeps go?"
but the all time favorite to date came when we took our 22nd anniversary
camping trip to Vancouver Island. I was standing on top of the VLF securing
some surplus metal boxes I had just purchased from a shop in downtown
Victoria. A bystander walked over, looked up for a few moments then asked,
"Is that truck yours?" I should have used Hakan's response but I really am
married and my wife was just around the corner.
Håkan uses this standard answer sometimes:
|My favorite reply is, "Sorry, it belongs to the Wife, I don't know too much about it."
Not really married,
|Well, the usual question I get is almost always "Just what do you call that thing?"
I usually answer, "I usually call it a truck", and walk away....
Some other questions reported by other Unimog owners:
|"Is that an old Power Wagon?"
|The one that really struck me was,
"What did you go and buy that thing for?"
|I get that too... to which I look at their vehicle and say,
"Why would anyone buy a minivan (or a Ford, or whatever they are driving)?
I try to mirror their dumbfounded look.
|"What do you do/Where do you go with that thing?"
"Anything/anywhere I want."
I also make a point of pointing out that I always wanted a classic Mercedes convertible.
|I get a variation: "So....., what do you do with it?"
|My favorite line is "If you think a Swiss Army knife can do anything, wait until you see what a Swiss Army truck can do!"
Tramm Hudson provides his standard answers:
14 MPG at sea level
8 MPG at 1500m
None of your business.
No, not a Hummer.
Yes, it is legal.
Between $5,000 and $15,000
800-4-UNIMOG sells parts
And that answered just about every question that they would ask.
And for the infrequently asked questions, well, those are always
Ron Miller provides many possible answers to this question:
|What's the top highway speed of a 404?
A1: 95 dB
A2: Under its own power? Or on a trailer?
A3: Uphill or down?
A4: Sea level or 10,000' ?
A5: African or European? (for the Monty Python fans)
A6: Most owners aren't real comfortable with steering, ride, and braking
above 50 mph. At sea level with a radio truck in a good state of tune
this can eventually be achieved on level ground. Above 10,000' top speed
on level ground might be as low as 35 mph. (but you don't find much
level road above 10,000') BTW- there *is* an engine redline and
that has a bearing on the answer as well though some owners push
beyond it sometimes.
1964 404.113 named "Mogbert"
I forgot to record who sent these questions in:
|Should a lead additive be used in the fuel?
Can you put in a V8 for more power?
Not with out a heck of a lot of work, and then a blown tranny.