While I was on Hyundai’s Ioniq 6 press event, I got to drive their new EV all over the Phoenix area. I’m not allowed to tell you what it was like to drive until April 3, but what I can do is show you something remarkable I found while whizzing around in that car: this Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406, brutally frankenstein’d into some sort of bucket loader. It’s pretty great.
I can’t really tell exactly what year this one is, partially because of how modified it is, and partially because Unimog 406s hardly changed at all, at least visually, during their lifespan from 1961 to 1989. I can tell it’s a 1965 or later one, because it no longer has heater/ventilation grilles outboard of the headlights. Beyond that, I’m really not sure.
I’m not sure if the missing hood is part of the conversion to bucket loader work, or if it’s just gone now. Those fuses look really and alarmingly exposed up there, though, right below the windshield:
A new set of well-protected headlights and indicators have been added, to replace the ones blocked by the loader arms, and, interestingly, there also seems to be some kind of blackout light on the driver’s side, which, along with the camo paintwork and stenciled text, suggest a military origin for this beast.
There’s not really all that many Unimogs in America as it is, so seeing one is a treat. Also a sign of good luck, right? The unusual upside of unexpected Unimogs, right?
I cant believe how awkward the loader conversions looks!
I’m sure they built it right but it looks like it would snap off trying to lift a cat
Actually, that is factory. They had a front loader, a rear arm, and a whole toolbox of neat hydraulic implements like chainsaws and hammer drills. Coolest Off-road vehicle ever madss produced.
A friend our ours had at least three Mogs. His daily was a bright yellow pickup body and the other two had been bought from a local railroad at a surplus auction. Each of those two had train wheels that could be lowered after you drove into the tracks. It then drove along like a little yard engine, except that you could raise the train wheels at any time and just drive away. Super fun and useful extras!
This would be a great swiss army knife farm vehicle.
That was the original idea for the Land Rover. (There were a few landies with bucket excavators on the back, but none with a front bucket as well.)
Almost looks like there is some sort of crane/backhoe in the back. Looks like an extendable arm in the back for a stabilizer. I would totally have loved having one of these on the farm when I was a kid.
Yep, these have a folding backhoe on the back. They are versatile rigs.
The version I really liked but can’t seem to find back had a tiny side mount gradall excavator for ditching from the road. There were 3 in a depot yard when I was helping a friend pick up a couple 5 ton trucks and I’ve never seen one since.
Judging by how green it is, looks like you were out by the superstition mountains, or Cave Creek/ Carefree area.
I’m putting this on my bucket list.
I pronounce this the Snuffalupagus.
I have driven one, I thnk maybe because we do not get them here, we idolize them more than we should. but they are hard not to love. the portal axles are pretty interesting, the engines are weak, but so are most Hummers up until the civilian 6.6 was installed.
I felt like i was going to tip over everywhere, but the narrow thing just went over stuff.
A friend of mine’s dad had a flat fender Unimog 411 when I was in high school. That thing was so much fun. When you jammed on the brakes, you could get the rear wheels to come up off the ground. We’re lucky we didn’t roll it over.
Hey I thought about buying one of these from IronPlanet a few years ago, pulling the implements off of it and building a camper on the back. They were going for a couple thousand at that time. Cheap foot in the door for overland
It looks like you need to pass the location of this fine ride along to DT. This would work perfectly as his daily until his i3 is back with a new battery. It has just the right “patina” and presence for SoCal traffic. Get an offer in… don’t miss out.
That one is in sad shape and, unsurprisingly, missing it’s hood. Often the hood would be damaged during loader operations and just never be right ever again; sheet metal work isn’t in most Soldier’s wheelhouse. Those poor SEEs would get so overused because they just worked (unlike my M9 Armored Combat Earthmovers) and worked well. So many good times with the SEE. Best operator I ever watched was actually one of my KATUSAs, he was magic with the backhoe. Back to the topic though, like Skwimjim said, the Army ones were built by Freightliner using Mercedes components and, if well maintained, would never let you down.
That part of Arizona is — or at least used to be — a haven for oddball vehicles, as well as being a heckuva popular site for automotive press presentations.
I remember seeing a derelict Studebaker Scotsman sitting abandoned in the desert not far off Route 60 back in the day, several Citroen Meharis (Meharii?) in the wacky town of Jerome, and a litter of two-stroke Saabs stashed around a house trailer near Highway 17. Which, by the way, is maybe one of the best places ever to wring out someone else’s new car.
Jerome AZ would be a fantastic location to shoot a modern western. It has a great look.
Man all of AZ looks like an old Western.
There are 8 of these for sale now at Gov Planet (https://www.govplanet.com/jsp/s/search.ips?m=Freightliner&sm=1&mf=1#m=Freightliner&sm=0&mf=1).
They typically sell for $15-20K.
A tractor is what the Unimog is. That one has seen better days, still good to see.
That is the Freightliner Small Emplacement Excavator. Last time I was at Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, TX, there were hundreds of them parked out in a field gathering rust. I would gladly have one of these in my stable.
Here’s a video: https://youtu.be/FMLcPN-8snA?t=141
In fact, there are several up for auction at Red River Army Depot presently: https://www.govplanet.com/jsp/s/search.ips?t=1105&sm=0&m=Freightliner&mf=1
Yep. Unimog 419/Freightliner SEE. Many have been surplus’d out with all of their cool hydraulically powered gear. Chainsaw, impact wrench, jack hammer, hammer drill…