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The Trucktor That Spanned 3 Decades

Unimog 406 Ag Spec Still Used as Intended

We caught up with Matt Whittle of Whittle’s agricultural services a little while ago to talk about his restored 1979 Agricultural spec Mercedes-Benz Unimog U900 406 he purchased from Atkinson Vos. Matt is based in the Cotswolds and carries out all sorts of jobs for local estates including Badminton house.

As many will know the Germans were not allowed to produce military related machinery after the war. Although the Medium truck was produced from 1948 it wasn’t until 1951 that Daimler-Benz took over production for what was going to become a very successful vehicle.

Unimog U900

The 406 shape we have here was first produced in 1963 and was so popular, production ran until 1989 with a longer wheel base 416 also available. Despite mainly being designed for agricultural use it was inevitable that the Unimog would make its way onto the battlefield at some point, and used by many countries to ship troops and goods around the world. In the year this particular truck was built 1334 Unimog’s were built.

The trucks today are very popular amongst forestry workers as they are included in the loop hole to be able to drive them on a normal car license despite their size and potential towing weight. Designed to go pretty much anywhere with portal axles and air lockers front and rear you can’t go far wrong.

Agricultural spec trucks were sold from the factory with all the add-ons to allow farmers to use almost any sort of tooling for any kind of farm work. Features included two speed PTO gearboxes with shafts sending power to front and rear, two step clutch to separately disengage engine and PTO, three way tipping rear bed and 3-point rear linkage. Documents suggest that the price in 1980 for an Ag spec vehicle came in at a basic price of £16,521.

There are other additional cost extras on this particular machine including the large roll bar that cost an extra £1037, Hard top and rear banana box for converting PTO direction. You also had the option of two further gearboxes with alternative ratios and gear sets. In short purchasing a Unimog over 40 years ago certainly wasn’t cheap.

Matt uses his 406 for a number of jobs including harrowing, topping and running his chipper off the rear PTO, he reckons a full day using the chipper means about 40litres of diesel. The truck spec includes front and rear three-point linkages, two speed PTO with front and rear shafts, Cascade gearbox 16 forward, 8 reverse gears, Three-way tipping body and factory roll bar. Matt has also made some additions for modern day use including a reversing camera as well as front and rear LED lights. The truck also benefits from a recent custom stainless stack exhaust system to keep those fumes up and out of the way.

Having one ourselves there is certainly nothing more enjoyable than seeing a 40 year old machine still worked daily as intended.

Tell us what you think...

  1. A 406 was the very first Unimog I drove doing Ag Contracting in West Wales I went on to spend the next 30yrs driving Unimogs including 23yrs as Demonstrator/Driver Trainer with Mercedes-Benz UK.Still the best Off Road truck there is.

  2. Now that sounds like a fantastic Job! We bought one on a whim and although i love it i have no reason for owning it, we don;t even have any land haha.

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