Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG

Overview of the UNIMOG models made during the 1953-1962 period

Universal Motorized Implement

Universal-Motor-Gerät (UNIMOG)

The Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG is a four-wheel-drive, all-terrain vehicle with high ground clearance and a power take-off (PTO) at the front and rear. They are highly adaptable and can be customized to support any type of auxiliary equipment. The UNIMOG was developed after WWII as a specialized agricultural vehicle. Not quite tractor and not quite truck, it would be an aid to farmers who needed something that could plough the fields and bring their produce to market. In 1945, prototypes were built at a factory in southern Germany. In 1948, a 25 hp Daimler-Benz OM 636 diesel engine was added. In 1951, production moved to Gaggenau. In 1953, the UNIMOG was being developed and built by Daimler-Benz. Today, new UNIMOG models are still being built at the Gaggenau factory and are in public, private and government (military) service all over the world.

Between 1953-1962, there were three distinct UNIMOG body styles, which can be defined loosely as...

  1. Angular, with Soft Top (1951-1963)
  2. Streamlined, with Enclosed Cab (1953-1956)
  3. Military Specification, with more Power (1956-1980)

UNIMOG Body Style 1
Angular, with Soft Top (1951-1963)

These models used diesel engines and traveled at speeds from 0.5 km/h (0.3 miles/h) in low gear up to 52 km/h (32 miles/h) in high gear.

Table 1
UNIMOG Type Produced Engine hp
U2010/1 to 8 6/1951-8/1953 25
U401.101 to 103 8/1953-8/1956 25
U402.101, 103, 105 11/1953-10/1956 25
U411.110, 112, 116 8/1956-10/1961 25/30/32
U411a (U411.110, 112) 10/1961-2/1963 32

England, circa 1957: Demonstration of a Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG U401 hauling 3.5 tons of timber along a muddy forest road

Indonesia, circa 1957: A Mercedes-Benz Ponton sedan encounters a UNIMOG Type U401

Finland, circa 1957: UNIMOG shipment arrives in Helsinki

Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG Type U401.101 with a variety of implements at an agricultural exhibition in Madrid, Spain, circa 1957

Using the UNIMOG U401.101 as a fire fighting pump
Madeira, Portugal, circa 1957

1963 Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG Type U411
owner: Josef Steiner / Bavaria, Germany / June 2000

Table 2
UNIMOG Type Year Built Engine Engine hp Top Speed
U411.110 1963 OM 636 30 53 km/h (33 miles/h)

UNIMOG Body Style 2
Streamlined, with Enclosed Cab (1953-1956)

In October, 1953 the second Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG body style began production. It was produced by Westfalia. The radiator grille and fully enclosed cabin were more streamlined than the 1946 UNIMOG prototype and included the following models.

Table 3
UNIMOG Type Produced Engine hp
U401.104 to 106 10/1953-9/1956 25
U401.111 and 113 ?/1956-8/1957 30/32
U402.102 and 104 11/1953-8/1956 25

Two streamlined Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG U401 models in Germany. The closed all-steel driver’s cabin, which was produced on commission by the Westfalia company, is affectionately nicknamed “Froschauge” (froggy eyes) by German UNIMOG enthusiasts.

Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG models introduced to members of the Texas agricultural community at the State Fair in Dallas, Texas, circa 1957. The streamlined U401 body is at the far left.

Denver, Colorado USA, circa 1957: A streamlined Type U401.111 (30 hp)

Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG-S Type U404 (left) and UNIMOG Type U401 in the Rocky Mountains of Vancouver, British Columbia, circa 1957

UNIMOG Body Style 3
Military Specification, with more Power (1956-1980)

The third Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG body style of the 1953-1962 period was the Type U404. It was introduced in 1956, and production ran until 1980. Also known as the UNIMOG-S, it used a 24 volt electric system and had a 2.2 liter (134 cubic inch) 82 hp, 6-cylinder gasoline engine (also found in the Mercedes-Benz Type 220S Ponton sedan). Fuel consumption on the UNIMOG-S models ranged from 18.5 liters/100 km (12.7 miles/gallon US = 15.3 miles/gallon Imperial) to 60 liters/100 km (3.92 miles/gallon US = 4.7 miles/gallon Imperial).

An early (circa 1956) UNIMOG-S Type U404 during a demonstration for the media

1969 Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG-S Type U404 (1956-1980) – Swiss or Belgian Army troop carrier

A Swiss pattern vehicle used as a Belgian Army troop carrier

Photo courtesy: Jeff Miller / February 15, 1995

Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG Type U404 dashboard and cabin — parked at Ron van Seventer's home in Palo Alto, California.
owner: Michael Smith / Palo Alto, California

M180 engine for Type 404S Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG

There are differences between the M180 engine shown here and the M180 used in the Type 220S Ponton sedans, coupés and cabriolets. For instance, some early M180 engines have the large bolt-on side panels. All of them (like the one pictured) have the early 7.0:1 compression ratio. All of them have military grade flywheels, carburetors, generators, short water pumps (three hole), oil pans, and front end counterweights. This one has probably been overhauled by either of two very competent German concerns (FWN and IWS are the prominent ones) who routinely overhaul all sorts of equipment for the German military.

Photo courtesy: Jeff Miller / October 27, 2008 / Nikon Coolpix 990

Dinky (France) model 804 / Diecast (1:43 scale replica) of UNIMOG Type 404S troop carrier
View more Mercedes-Benz Pontonobilia

Photo courtesy: Jeff Miller / August 17, 2017 / iPhone 7

Dinky model 567 / Diecast (1:43 scale replica) of UNIMOG Type 404S troop carrier with "chasse-neige" (snow plow)
View more Mercedes-Benz Pontonobilia

Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG-S Type U404 airport crash tender – circa 1960

1964 Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG-S Type U404.113 fire truck
circa November 2002 / Owner: Pat Potucek

The important thing to mention about this truck is that it is a Metz van body style — one of about 20 made
Courtesy: Jeff Lenzner August 23, 2003

UNIMOG Type U404 "Radio Box"

1966 Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG-S Type U404 "Radio Box"
owner: Martin Moerman (PD1AJE) / Scheveningen, Netherlands

Amateur ("HAM") radio operator, Martin Moerman (PD1AJE) works from the enclosed area of his 1966 Mercedes-Benz Type 404 UNIMOG, which affords ample protection from the outside elements. View more photos by following the link in the "References / Acknowledgements" section at the bottom of this page.

1968 Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG-S Type U404.113 with a Westfalia hard cab

Outside the strict 1953-1962 "Ponton era" range, this Type U404 UNIMOG was built in 1968. Recall the Type U404 was made from 1956-1980. This vehicle was converted from a single cab to a double cab by Lesonal Werke in Munich. It has an extra high windshield, heater in the rear cab, and better seating for the driver. The double cabs were all made for the German post office (Deutsche Bundespost) and this one retired from DBP in 1978 when the Berchtesgaden fire department picked it up. It is one of about sixteen that were produced. Courtesy: Jeff Lenzner August 23, 2003.

1970 Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG Type 404S

This 404S is factory fitted with the DOKA (a.k.a. DoKa) body style, which stands for Doppelkabine (double cabin) – German for “crew cab." This example features a rare three-door cab built for the civil defense organization in Scandinavia.

Painted international blaze orange for easy identification (blue civil defense triangle still visible on the roof). Triangles on side were over-painted for sale on the civilian market. Rear cabin was originally constructed without rear seating, this was added later. It is just a bench seat, raised so it can double as a litter/bed. Although it does not have a raised ceiling, it is actually slightly longer than the Lesonal variant. Snorkel kit visible on the right with a dust pre filter. The snorkel bolts directly onto the air intake. Photos of this UNIMOG taken during the weekend of April 10-11, 2004 / Courtesy: Jeff Lenzner / April 18, 2004

References / Acknowledgements

Created: May 25, 2002 / Jeff Miller
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