Un­i­mog a beaut bat­tler

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By JAMES STAN­FORD

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.

Th­ese mod­els


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

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