Consequences Be Damned: 1968 Unimog 404S

CaffeineFuelled and I have something of an understanding; we each have a list that we refer to as our “free pass”. It is a list of celebrities who we each consider so attractive that we would not fault the other if we ever found the opportunity, against all odds, to get it on with that person. She, for instance, has Ryan Reynolds and Dolvett Quince on her list, and I have Christina Hendricks and Scarlett Johansson on mine.

There is another list, however. This list comprises things we would each do, knowing full well the other would not approve, but we’d incur the wrath — and the penalty of sleeping on the couch for the next few months — because we just couldn’t turn it down. Very high on that list for me is ownership of a Unimog; it’s not that she’d disapprove, she admires them as much as I do, but we have no place to put it, and it is about as far from practical as you can get.

And I don’t care one bit.

So it’s understandable that this Unimog sends me into a frenzy of desire and conflicted emotions. At its $18,700 price point, it’s extremely cheap for a good-quality Unimog. I’ve seen many examples at that price point that were nowhere near this pretty. And this one is owned by an obvious enthusiast, who has done every detail exactly right. But rather than summarize, I’ll share the entire ad here:

What you get for $18,700:

Truck: $12,900
Winch/PTO: $4000
Spare parts: $6800

Total replacement cost: $23,700

Unimogs are multipurpose, all-terrain, utility vehicles built by Mercedes-Benz. In addition to extreme off-road capabilities, they are designed to be operated in some of the harshest conditions. Unimogs are widely recognized as the most capable off-road vehicles in the world. Few stock vehicles even come close to a 404 off-road and nothing the big three has made even comes close. The 404 has all the ultimate ingredients for truly awesome off-road capability, including unsurpassed ground clearance (portal axles with gear hub reduction), an extremely flexible suspension, crawler gearbox ratios, locking differentials, and a virtually bulletproof drivetrain. Because the 404 was engineered by Mercedes-Benz with these features as standard, Unimogs don’t break on the trail like most heavily modified 4x4s which were never intended to run big tires, crawler gearboxes or diff locks. 

The condition of this particular 404S is unparalleled. It is an ex-Swiss military truck and it has about 28,000 original km’s on it. It is a 1968 build year.

On this particular truck, the front and back canvas are in brand-new condition. I have completed many upgrades including new Continental MPT 81 tires, powder coating the rims, refurbishing and powder coating of the gas tanks, installation of a civilian Petronix distributor, installation of a snorkel, installation of a 2400 Watt inverter (120V AC), upgrade of the 24V headlights to quartz halogen bulbs, removable steel frame steps and handle to access the truck bed, and adding a zippered back canvas to completely close off the rear truck bed. Some of the restoration projects I have completed include replacement of multiple rubber components, addition of a fuel gauge, addition of a dash-board operated back-up light, rebuilding of the carburetor, complete rebuild of the cooling system (e.g. replacement of the hoses, water pump, radiator cap), replacement of the original seats (which were wearing out) with original NOS (new old stock) seats, new NOS starter, and complete overhaul of the braking system (new hoses, wheel cylinders, and brake linings). The transmission, clutch, pressure plate and associated bearings have all been replaced.

The Winch. Ahhhh, the winch! The Mercedes Benz Type C winch is legendary and extremely rare. I painstakingly sought it out, imported from Germany, and restored it. It is PTO driven and has 3.5 tons pulling capacity before the slip clutch disengages. It has a rated 6 ton pulling capacity but experts have estimated its real capacity to be far higher than this. It has about 220 feet of 5/8 excellent condition cable. The front springs of the truck have been upgraded to NOS heavy duty springs which are designed to carry this 500+ pound behemoth.

This truck comes with MANY brand new spare parts. My intent was to do a full restoration on the truck and hence my extensive 10-year collection. Here are some of the larger items you will get with this truck: a complete set of front and rear NOS axles in factory wrapping and crates, a complete NOS replacement exhaust system, a full set of NOS rims, a full set of NOS wheel hubs, a NOS braking vaccuum assist, a NOS master brake cylinder, a NOS fuel pump, a full engine gasket and seal kit, spare carburetor rebuild kit, spare jets, spare NOS cooling system hose kits, NOS clutch/seals, NOS wheel cylinders, spare breakers, NOS sealed-in-factory-box windshield wiper motors, multiple spare windshield wiper blades, new fuel filters, oil filters, drain plugs, portal axle drain plugs, and so on. In addition I have a 3’x3’x3′ crate of miscellaneous assorted unimog parts (e.g. gun holders, pressure plate, cables, etc).

They don’t get much better than that. If only it weren’t about $18,000 above my budget.

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