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Hi all, brand new member looking to get a unimog. There’s one for sale locally. It’s a 1955 404. The guy I spoke with said it’s a French unimog. So my question is: is there anything special being a French military mog? Everything I’ve read says they’re all basically identical except for Portuguese models. Any info would be great, thanks!
 

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U1450L DOKA
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The French Army was one of the earliest and largest purchasers of the 404 UNIMOG.

As far as I know, they are the same as the German 404’s of that era. I don’t know much, however, when it comes to 404’s.

There is a good UNIMOG website in France,
Called UNIMOG MANIA, and they seem as well-informed on UNIMOGs as any group you are likely to find.

I’d suggest posting the question on their site, in French, and see what they have to say about it. If there are differences, I’d expect them to know.

Importing UNIMOGs to France in this day and age is anything but straightforward.

The ministry of whatever holds sway, and
Simply importing a U1300L, surplus from the
German Army is a tricky or near impossible task.

Even changing the tire size on a UNIMOG that you already own in France is subject to review and approval.

I don’t know if this is just for France, or it is across the EU, but I’m glad that we are not in that box in the US.

I mention this because if there is a difference
Between French and German 404s, I’d expect that the importation rules would be affected by those differences, and the UNIMOG guys on that forum would know about them.

What are the differences in the Portuguese 404’s, just for the forum’s education?

Also, there are the Swiss 404’s which differ from the German version as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The French Army was one of the earliest and largest purchasers of the 404 UNIMOG.

As far as I know, they are the same as the German 404’s of that era. I don’t know much, however, when it comes to 404’s.

There is a good UNIMOG website in France,
Called UNIMOG MANIA, and they seem as well-informed on UNIMOGs as any group you are likely to find.

I’d suggest posting the question on their site, in French, and see what they have to say about it. If there are differences, I’d expect them to know.

Importing UNIMOGs to France in this day and age is anything but straightforward.

The ministry of whatever holds sway, and
Simply importing a U1300L, surplus from the
German Army is a tricky or near impossible task.

Even changing the tire size on a UNIMOG that you already own in France is subject to review and approval.

I don’t know if this is just for France, or it is across the EU, but I’m glad that we are not in that box in the US.

I mention this because if there is a difference
Between French and German 404s, I’d expect that the importation rules would be affected by those differences, and the UNIMOG guys on that forum would know about them.

What are the differences in the Portuguese 404’s, just for the forum’s education?

Also, there are the Swiss 404’s which differ from the German version as well.
Thanks! I’ll try that! I guess I’ll have brush up on my French LOL. I read that the Portuguese 404’s were diesel and not gas. But that’s all I know about the differences in Portuguese 404’s and rest of world 404’s
 

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2015 Rubicon Unlimited (Let the shame be upon me!)
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The infamous moving dune trucks.
 

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1965 404, 1980 MB4/94, 1981 416 Doka, 1983 240D, 1999 E55, 2000 ML55
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635 Posts
IIRC the French ones also have a shorter wheelbase and the windshield has the wiper motors on the top and some have safari windshields.

I can't remember but I also think the hood has 2 knob things to hold it down?
 

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U1450L DOKA
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Two French 404’s.
One refurbished, One in surplus condition,
complete with an inventory tag of the French Artillery.
The unmounted tag is from a different truck,
Included to show the more legible graphics.
Tire Motor vehicle Wheel Automotive tire Mode of transport
Motor vehicle Tire Mode of transport Automotive design Transport
Iron Composite material Metal Building material Mesh
Mesh Paper
Tire Motor vehicle Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle
Mesh
Symbol Shadow
.
 

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1962 Swiss 404 S Troop Carrier, 1968 Swiss 404 S Command Box, 1956 French 404 S SWB Troop Carrier
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I have a 1956 French Unimog 404 S.

As previously mentioned, the early French Army Unimogs have a slightly shorter wheelbase as compared to other NATO 404 trucks. So, that equates to a shorter rear driveline, brake lines and wiring harness.

The dashboard is also a little less cluttered. I could take some pictures if requested. Also, as previously posted, the windshield is slightly different, as is the hood. And for some reason, I have never seen a 1950’s French 404 with a heater and defroster which may be coincidental. Pretty much everything else appears the same as compared to German versions.

Of course, because of its age, it may have the older version of the M180. Some parts are not interchangeable with newer versions of that engine. Others on Benzworld would know far more on this subject.

Because the French pretty much stored their trucks outside in the elements, they went through regular depot rebuilds. Therefore, it is unlikely that French trucks we come across today will have the original body, especially those from the 1950’s,

Otherwise, I have been following a French 404 truck on eBay US in New Jersey. i think that one pops up for sale every five or ten years. The owner is taking offers. Sounds like it may not run. What is attractive is what appears to be a PTO Werner winch and PTO kit. I’d like to get my hands on that stuff.

Maybe the owner of that eBay truck will answer some questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the replies!! Wow didn’t know that they were shorter, which I personally like. The thing I really don’t like is the fact of no defrost! How do you use that in the rain? And I have a vintage air heater defroster that I could install but then I’d have to cut a hole into the cowl, if there room. And how hard is it to locate glass for a French unimog? Or is it just the early French unimogs that were short and had different body work? So would there be a difference between a 56 and say a 62 or a 70 French unimog? Thanks again!
 

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1962 Swiss 404 S Troop Carrier, 1968 Swiss 404 S Command Box, 1956 French 404 S SWB Troop Carrier
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Those old French ones may well have had heat and defrost, but mine did not, nor did the other shorty 404 S trucks I have seen. Perhaps these components had been removed for some reason. Others may know with certainty.

As to glass, I had to replace my front glass in 2020. I went to a plastic glass distributor here in Jacksonville, Florida. I used PoliComp two-sided UV protected polycarbonate. I forgot the thickness, but recall it was a millimeter or so thinner than the original laminated safety glass. I used new rubber sourced from one of our vendors. Hardest thing was figuring out how the windshield came apart. Next time I will buy a complete NOS windshield assembly as it was far too much work doing it my way.

As to parts interchangeability with newer 404 trucks, the back drive line is shorter, so are brake lines, but I learned to make my own. The wiring harness is different too. The truck may also have the old style M180 which does not share 100% parts interchange with the newer version.

There is a person on this forum by the name of MagMog. I think he posted images of what the original 1950’s 404 cab looked like. It was kind of squarish and shop-made looking. Because these trucks went through depot rebuilds during their military time, it is likely few original cabs are around. The hoods and windshields, as described above, seem to be those parts that survived—speculation only. MagMog, like many others, have deep knowledge of early 404 history and engineering. Perhaps they will chime in.

As to your question on what to offer your neighbor, I’d say bring cash, start low, yet be willing to wait it out. Some people (or their spouses) just want these old things off their property, out of their hair & with a minimum of fuss. Maybe your neighbor is that person.... Otherwise, I’d check compression, make sure it shifts, be hopeful and budget for a lot of fuel, ignition, exhaust and brake work in the months immediately after you purchase it. Parts and shipping alone may run well into the thousands of $.
 

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The French Army was one of the earliest and largest purchasers of the 404 UNIMOG.

As far as I know, they are the same as the German 404’s of that era. I don’t know much, however, when it comes to 404’s.

There is a good UNIMOG website in France,
Called UNIMOG MANIA, and they seem as well-informed on UNIMOGs as any group you are likely to find.

I’d suggest posting the question on their site, in French, and see what they have to say about it. If there are differences, I’d expect them to know.

Importing UNIMOGs to France in this day and age is anything but straightforward.

The ministry of whatever holds sway, and
Simply importing a U1300L, surplus from the
German Army is a tricky or near impossible task.

Even changing the tire size on a UNIMOG that you already own in France is subject to review and approval.

I don’t know if this is just for France, or it is across the EU, but I’m glad that we are not in that box in the US.

I mention this because if there is a difference
Between French and German 404s, I’d expect that the importation rules would be affected by those differences, and the UNIMOG guys on that forum would know about them.

What are the differences in the Portuguese 404’s, just for the forum’s education?

Also, there are the Swiss 404’s which differ from the German version as well.
I have a Land Rover Defender ... Just contacted Jaguar-Land Rover France, and they gave a list of tyre sizes that conform to the year and model. You may be surprised how many [legal] sizes there are. I am sure it must be similar for all manufacturers selling in France. If you modify any vehicle, then it's treated as a one off case. It is probably easier to get a highly modified vehicle passed than just changing something minor. BTW, if it's a commercial, then there is usually no [actual] power rating on the carte grise, so you can map it and tweak the turbo to get as much power you like.
 
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