The owner of a 1949 Unimog tractor has been driving it all over Germany to collect donations— at last count, he’s up to 10,000 Euros ($11,000)— in support of a nonprofit hospice. Jan Peters, an agricultural and economics journalist from Hamburg, inherited the historic all-wheel-drive, all-terrain workhorse from his grandfather.
Peters’ vehicle was built as part of pre-production of the first Unimog “implement carrier,” which was produced for agricultural applications by the Boehringer manufacturing firm starting in 1948. In 1951, Daimler took over Unimog production and began selling it as a Mercedes-Benz model, which it continues to do in various global markets. Alas, as of right now, the Unimog is not sold in the U.S.
Unimog is an acronym for the German words "UNIversal-MOtor-Gerät,” with “Gerät” being the German word for gadget.
The Unimog is arguably most renowned for its “outstandingly torsionally flexible vehicle frame,” as Daimler breathlessly puts it. It’s also touted for such capabilities as an “off-road climbing capability of 100%” and being able to ford waterways as deep as 1.2 meters (4 feet).
This seventy-year-old model is powered by a Mercedes-Benz OM 636 diesel engine. The OEM notes that the modest powerplant “manages to develop 25 hp from its 1.7L displacement – a sizeable figure for vehicles at the time.”