A Unique Vehicle With Over A Thousand Applications
Alex Price of A C Price first started working on locally owned Unimogs over thirty-five years ago as a mechanical engineer. It was during a visit to one of the early APF Exhibitions where Mercedes Benz was exhibiting that the company recognised the passion Alex had for the Unimog brand. Once they had seen the thoroughness and quality of his work, they had no hesitation in offering him a dealership for the Unimog.
Alex prides himself on his knowledge of the history of the Unimogs he buys in for re-furbishing which he can pass onto his customers. His business normally restores around three used Unimogs a year. They are completely stripped down and the cab and chassis shot blasted before being painted in two pack paint in a spray bake oven. The engine, gearbox, diffs and other parts are stripped and rebuilt in a “clean room” facility before being re-assembled with a new clutch, brakes and any other components that are necessary.
The finished vehicle is 100% refurbished and is sold with a dyno report, brake test report and vehicle warranty. All the engineers and fitters that work on the Unimogs have been trained and meet the standards set by Mercedes Benz.
The quality and the standard of work is impressive. I saw a Unimog U1600 at the Royal Yorkshire Show and fell head over heels in love. Stood seductively with her metallic green paint shimming and glistening in the blistering Yorkshire sun was a 1996 model. I found that hard to believe, I would have sworn it was brand spanking new. It was completely refurbished with a full factory 214hp turbo intercooled engine, a 16-speed gearbox with a dual clutch, front and back dual speed pto (540/1000) and countless other extras. It was seeing this that prompted me to visit AC Price’s premises.
Entering the premises was an amazing experience for me; the last time I had seen such a diverse collection of different models was at the Unimog Museum at Gaggenau, Germany. I must admit while it was fantastic to look at all the Unimogs, the highlight of the visit was when Paul Howard arrived with the keys to the U1600 and took me out for a test drive. It was a sleek ride, and the extra sound insulation kept the cabin reasonably quiet but thank goodness it didn’t completely block out the growl of the Mercedes power unit. Driving at just over 80km/hr, there was literally no shaking of the cab or whine from the tyres despite agricultural spec having been fitted.
History Of Unimog
It was back in 1945 that Albert Friedrich, who was previously head of design at Daimler-Benz AG, had the idea of designing a Motorised Universal Working Machine for agriculture. The Unimog name had not been thought of, but he managed to persuade one of his former colleagues at Daimler-Benz, Heinrich Rößler, to join him.
The plan was to design a 25hp four-wheel drive vehicle with four equal sized wheels with a six-speed gearbox capable of speeds up to 0km/hr.
Several features made the new vehicle unique: its relatively high speed, dampened axles with coil springs, four-wheel drive with differential locks at the front and rear, a frame construction comparable to trucks and cars, mounting facilities for implements at the front, rear and centre and finally a track width of 1270mm, the same as two rows of potatoes.
To the present day this basic concept has not changed in any way but everything else about the Unimog has, from the headlight to the rear axle.
Around the turn of the year 1950/51, the Unimog team and production equipment moved from Göppingen to Gaggenau, where production of the Unimog began during June. The Unimog was only allowed to bear the Mercedes star in its radiator grille from 1953, and it was not until 1956 that the Mercedes emblem replaced the earlier ox-head trademark. In 202 Mercedes-Benz “Universalmotorgerät,” or Unimog, moved to their factory in Wörth.
In 2005 the Unimog Museum was founded by private citizens in Baden, Gaggenau and opened in 2006. The museum is an enjoyable day out for all the family as you can see the history of this unique vehicle throughout the decades. Film footage and documents provide a unique insight. A fantastic range of Unimogs and a variety of attachments showing the full range of uses are on display. Ride on Unimogs are available for the younger ones to keep them amused. For the youthful amongst us, a definite highlight is being driven around the extreme off-road track just outside the museum. The vehicles are taken nowhere near the limits they are capable of, but they are certainly put through their paces. Manoeuvring over the obstacles is a rough and fun ride and demonstrates just how stable and robust these vehicles are.
The museum combines pure Unimog action – thrills, experiences and activities for all the family – with top-class cuisine, tourist information and a shop.
For more information visit www.unimog-museum.com
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