In the rearview mirror: Unimog – the all-rounder turns 70

Careers do not always go as planned. At the beginning of the universal motor device was the actually rather provincial idea to develop a versatile vehicle for German agriculture after the Second World War. Nobody could imagine the worldwide success of this unique construction for rural areas seven decades ago. From the rather bulky name quickly became the Unimog, which soon became an indispensable companion for his users and in the course of time to a kind of family member.

The story of the all-rounder began 70 years ago, when the first still-hand-made series Unimog left the production of Boehringer Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH in Göppingen. There were already 150 orders, which had been collected half a year earlier at the first appearance of the vehicle at an agricultural fair in Frankfurt.

Behind the Unimog was the former chief designer and technical director at Daimler-Benz, Albert Friedrich, who had to vacate his job after the Second World War on instructions from the Allies. Already in 1945, he convinced the US military administration to allow him to develop a vehicle for agricultural use. However, the Americans then made the condition that the Unimog could not be used for military purposes. The man knew exactly what the farmers needed, since he had spent his youth on the farm of his family.

He incorporated these experiences into the concept of the Unimog and ultimately developed a mobile device whose versatility far surpasses the famous Swiss army knife. There are 60 different applications in the Unimog prospect, and there are likely to be a few more. The areas of application range from the surface mulcher to the field sprayer and trimmer mower to the planting hole drill.

For work in the track, the Unimog can be converted to a rail vehicle, and the optional Vario Pilot variable steering system enables the change from left-hand to right-hand drive. The gauge of 1270 millimeters was initially based on two rows of potatoes, and at the same time owned Frederick development four-wheel drive with differential locks, helical gantry axles for unrivaled high ground clearance and protected drive shafts in push tubes to protect against damage in use and a cargo area for a ton of cargo. The universal character also met a towing device at the rear, so that the Unimog could also pull a plow and the ability to drive several agricultural equipment. The top speed was 50 km / h.

Since the start of production 70 years ago, the Unimog principle has not changed, and incidentally, the military soon discovered the all-rounder’s universal capabilities. Already in September 1950 the Swiss military attacked and secured a small Unimog fleet. Thanks to the special chassis, the bulky Unimog mutates into a climbing artist who does not fear terrain. And that without any electronic support in the field. “Electronic gadgets we do not need in the field. We only need four things: differential locks, four-wheel drive, throttle and clutch, “explains a Unimog spokesman, which of course also helps power transmission, in which six of the current eight gears can be used forwards and backwards.

So is there anything that the Unimog can not? “He can not fly,” Karl Josef Leib, head of the Unimog Museum in Gaggenau, answers succinctly: “And how long does a Unimog last?” You can not say it’s been built for only 70 years – a Unimog it is not scrapped, it is inherited. ” In fact, the all-rounder genes of the universal power unit have not changed in the past decades. The impressive demonstration drive in a gravel pit near Gaggenau completes a 41-year-old Unimog as confidently as later on a current model, which can transport firefighting water 4000 (four-seater) or 6000 liters (two-seater) in its tank. Only comfort has improved significantly in recent decades,

And if the ingenuous passenger thinks, now it’s over, he can not do it, climb the old as the new just up the 80-degree slope and lie down at the water passage with relish on the side, so you inside already on makes a refreshing dip. Then it happens – nothing. Thanks to the flexible chassis, the Unimog regains its upright position and rolls confidently over the next obstacle.

“We have not changed the original genes until today. We do not need that either, “says the Unimog spokesman: the Unimog has been part of Daimler since October 1950 and is now produced at the Wörth truck factory, producing around 2,000 units a year, with a total of around 400,000 Unimogs to date There is no end in sight – only one thing is certain – an electrified Unimog will not be available in the foreseeable future

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