Unimog a beaut battler
YOU don’t have to join the army to drive an army truck. The Australian Defence Force is overhauling its fleet and selling its old stock, including iconic Unimogs, unique Land Rovers and classic Mack rigs.
Anyone can buy the exmilitary machines, which still wear camouflage paint, at a series of auctions.
Batches of military vehicles will be available for the next few years as the ADF changes over its stock, and the next round of auctions will be held in several states this month.
The vehicles are handled by Australian Frontline Machinery, which offers them for sale through Grays Online. The vehicles can be in- spected at various sites including theAFMwarehouse at Minto, south of Sydney.
Some of the mighty machines have seen active duty in war theatres around the world, while others have done all their duty on Australian soil.
One of the most soughtafter ex-army vehicles is the Unimog, a truck made by Mercedes-Benz that can go almost anywhere.
These 4x4 trucks are capable of climbing extreme gradients, with super high ground clearance thanks to special gear design that allows for axles to sit higher than the wheel centres. Unimogs were developed after World War II as a replacement for tractors, so an emphasis was placed on traction in slippery conditions.
They are the most widely used military vehicle on the planet, with Turkey, Pakistan, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Great Britain and Indonesia all using Unimogs for defence.
The ADF has decided to phase out the versatile Unimogs and won’t be directly replacing them, although MAN has won the contract to supply new heavy trucks to the force.
These Unimogs were produced between 1985 and 1989 and the interior has a retro look, but some of the mech- anicals are much the same as today’s model.
They run 6.7-litre in-line turbo diesels, which power all four wheels.
Civilian Unimogs are still very, very rare in Australia, so the release of ADF models is an exciting prospect for aspiring owners.
The prices of the Unimogs depends on who else is bidding on the trucks, but most have sold for a bit more than $40,000. Some of the first models released to the public were sold for $70,000.
The Unimogs aren’t the only trucks available, with Mack bonneted prime movers also available.
Mack is also represented with rigid 6x6 trucks produced from the early 1980s through to 2005.
de- signed to carry eight tonnes of payload off-road. Some have a flat tray, while others are for water carrying.
The Japanese are also represented with Mitsubishi Fuso and Hino 4x4 models also on the list.
The Canter 4x4s, which are popular bases for goanywhere motorhome projects, are fitted with either an ambulance body or a cargo body.
There are also Hino GT models for sale, with 4x4 and a flat-tray.
The ADF is currently replacing its Land Rover models with Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen models, so there are plenty of the old British off-road machines for sale.
Land Rovers for sale include those built between 1987 and 1997.
While they may not be the most luxurious models out there, the Land Rovers are tough, simple and easy to repair, while parts are cheap and plentiful. Most are 4x4, but there are also some stretched 6x6 models which have increased carrying capacity.
They all run superreliable Isuzu 3.9-litre diesel engines.
The Land Rovers, available with soft and hard tops, usually end up costing somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000.
This represents a bargain for those prepared to live with the unique paint job.
The auction began on Thursday and ends on Wednesday. Look for Australian Frontline Machinery in your search engine.
The ADF is auctioning off much of its old fleet including the Unimog, a truck made by Mercedes-Benz that can go almost anywhere and is the world’s most widely used military vehicle