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1980 Model 406
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Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler


MERCEDES-BENZ RUTHMANN UNIMOG – THE GREATEST RACE CAR HAULER FOR SALE ON EARTH RIGHT NOW

This 1966 Mercedes-Benz Unimog car hauler is one of the more unusual methods you could use to get your car to the race track, it has a unique rear hydraulic system that moves both rear wheels out from under the tray back, the tray back then lowers down to the ground so cars can be loaded and unloaded.
Underneath the tray back there is an H-shaped brace that lowers to slightly lift the rear wheels off the ground so they can be extended outward, and it’s this H-brace that then lowers the rear of the tray down to the ground. This can be hard to visualise so we found an old YouTube clip that shows the mechanism working on a similarly equipped Unimog and added it below (it may be this same vehicle, but we haven’t been able to independently confirm that).

If you’re looking at these images and wondering how on earth the drive system to the rear wheels works (as I was), rest assured that there is no mysterious rear wheel drive mechanism. This is one of the few front-wheel-drive-only Unimogs in the world. Everything including the exhaust system has been cropped to make room for the unusual load carrying platform and its hydraulic systems.
The designers of this Ruthmann Unimog named their system the “Niederflurhubwagen” (or “low floor elevating truck” in English). There’s no information available on how many were built, though it’s clearly a very rare vehicle – we do know that the bed was added by Ruthmann before the Unimog was first put into service, so it’s not a later conversion.
The Unimog was originally developed as an agricultural vehicle in the years after WW2, its track width was chosen because it would fit neatly between two rows of potatoes, it was fitted with portal axles to increase ground clearance, a ladder-type chassis that was designed to be flexible and act as part of the suspension, and a power takeoff for operating farm machinery.
The remarkable abilities of the Unimog saw it quickly adopted by farmers, but also by militaries, forestry services, fire departments, municipal authorities, aid agencies, and many other groups. The Unimog you see here is a 406 model which was first introduced in 1963 alongside the long wheelbase 416 model.
Mercedes-Benz Unimog
It’s fitted with a 5.7 litre, 6-cylinder diesel with fuel injection and it produces 80 bhp at 2,000 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels (on a normal Unimog it would be all four wheels of course) via a 4-speed transmission with both high and low range, and there are drum brakes on all four wheels.
Unlike many Unimogs this one has a known history from new, after it was originally built it was sent to Belgium, then it made its way to the USA in 2001 before being acquired by the Schnuerer collection in 2008. Mr. Schnuerer commissioned an extensive restoration, the lengthy history file has well over $50,000 USD in receipts for the work performed.
The vehicle is now in excellent overall condition and full working order. It’s hard to argue that this isn’t one of the coolest car haulers on earth, and if you happen to own a vintage German race car of some description you really have no choice but to buy it as soon as humanly possible.
Bonhams estimate that it’ll sell for between $25,000 and $35,000 USD when it crosses the auction block on the 5th of March at the Amelia Island Auction. If you’d like to read more or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler Side
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler Side 2
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler Side 3
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler Tray
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Logo Badge
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler Tray Back
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler Interior
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler Hydraulics
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler Engine
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Car Hauler Interior 2
Images courtesy of Silodrome
 

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Unimog Moderator
250GD Wolf
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Friend sent that to me yesterday, there is a video of it in action, filmed with a potato however:


Really speaks to the true meaning of a Unimog "UNIversal-MOtor-Gerät" , just a motorized platform for building whatever.

It's weird for a traction head for sure, but not the weirdest! (I LOVE the rear bumper on the pic below). I wonder if this one has a steering front (rear?) axle or if all steering is articulated judging by the rams and angles seen:

2621505
 

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2015 Rubicon Unlimited (Let the shame be upon me!)
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Well that's a unique one. Dig the pleather jacket, not a whisper of hi-viz safety there.
 

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'91 U1250 '02 U500NA
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But why it has to be Unimog, not just regular axle MB truck?
What's the reason behind it?
 

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Unimog Moderator
250GD Wolf
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Unimog has all the ancillary's needed. Factory. Need a front wheel drive vehicle with factory hydraulics, factory PTO, factory onboard air, and locking (in this case...only one) front axle to make some weird vehicle hauler, gravel dumper, tunnel cleaner? You start with a traction head, you are 1/2 way (pun intended) there!

Unimog is just a motorized carriage to be adapted to any purpose, AG tractor, municipal workhorse, concrete crusher, whatever you need, and a traction head is...1/2 that with all the goodies besides the rear axle.

Not many devices have that total package, heck even 1/2 that stuff, with factory engineered mounting points, brackets, certifications, and almost world wide support.

The garbage truck that picks up my dumpster is an old Highway tractor, and they cut the grill and moved the front bumper forward to add a PTO driven hydraulic pump on the front because they needed a large volume system to run the dumpster lift and compactor, where if this was Germany, you'd just start with the proper vehicle, a Unimog if needed.
 

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Much much easier when all the hydraulics are already there. Probably set up with a straight non steering axle that driven and the steering wheel activates the manifold for the pivot; a bizarro unimog front end loader sorta

When you think about it, nearly all the working bits of unimog are stuck to the engine, transmission or the bodywork of the cab, a traction head can do all of the power generating and transmitting that a full truck can without the added weight and cost of an axle and frame.
 

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85' U1300L Holset Turbo VA A/C, 66' Propane 404.1 rock mog, 1975 416 Doka, G500, Volvo C303
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Seem to recall a thread about these many many years ago. Maybe regarding traction heads? The article that I read a few days ago was so factually incorrect as usual.
 

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Unimog Moderator
250GD Wolf
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More traction head goodness:


Another (seems we've been down this road a few times ;) )


Traction head with HD rear "regular" rear axle:

 

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'78 Mog 416.141 DoKa
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Personally, I think THIS was the greatest race car hauler of all times - just sayin'
2622023
 

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1976 406 w/ backhoe and dozer blade, a small collection of implements too
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All I got is: WOW

Thanks, that's a cool thing I had not seen or known till right now.
 

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How is this possible? The MB hauler is a perfect silver arrow expression. Right behind it are the Porsche prepared VW transporters. Look up the B32
 
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