1966 Mercedes Unimog 404S 4×4

This classic Unimog is described as a 404S model that previously served as a radio box truck. The armed forces entity it served with is not disclosed, but it doesn’t really matter for a vintage military rig like this – you’re buying it for its raw capabilities, not its history. Surprisingly, the go-anywhere Unimog has found its way into all sorts of civilian uses given its relatively modest asking price and tendency to end up in the hands of municipal agencies, and this one could go cheaply. Check it out here on eBay where bidding has reached $6,100 with no reserve.

On more than one occasion, Unimogs have been used as plow trucks, salt spreaders, or just general heavy-duty highway maintenance vehicles by individual cities and towns. After the military had their way with them, they’d end up in government surplus auctions where they may have seemed tempting for any gearheads working at the DPW, but these German-built off-road workhorses were also far more complicated than a comparable Blazer or C10 pickup. For smaller communities, the potentially high maintenance expenses were a definite determent.

As far as this Unimog is concerned, the seller notes that he acquired it out of long-term barn storage. His business is trading guns, not cars, so the listing reflects a general unfamiliarity with a vehicle like this. Still, he does a decent job of sharing what he knows, which includes that this gasoline model (many were diesels) will likely need its gas tank cleaned and sealed due to sitting, along with new spark plug cables and batteries for the radio box. The seller also notes the engine oil is still clean and free of any milkiness.

Speaking of the radio box feature, what do you suppose this Unimog was used for after it left active duty? I could see it being an epic zombie apocalypse escape vehicle, or really anything of a “bug out” nature. Or, strip out the comms gear and make it a perfect-sized camper out back. The possibilities are really endless with trucks like these, which will always make great off-roaders at their most basic level of utilization. Finding one going as cheaply as this one is doesn’t happen often, so bid now, and bid often.

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  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Now that’s one you don’t see very often. I watched a video on the new ones, they even have the ability to swap the drivers controls from one side to the other, very impressive. Have no use for it but would like to try it out and see what it’s like to drive one.

    Like 3
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    First Unimog I’ve seen that wasn’t diesel-powered. A few ranchers out west have them and I’ve had the ‘assignment’ to work on them. Not a good time but not impossible either. One local rancher had one that he used regularly. It was very much underpowered; it seems to me that it had the same engine as the 190D. It was top-heavy and eventually got rolled; the top of the cab came off but otherwise little damage. He just put it back to work for a few years, but then, after his activity slowed considerably, it sat in his boneyard for several years before someone inquired if it was for sale. It got promptly moved into an abandoned sheep shed. Eventually, the old guy passed on and very soon after that the Unimog disappeared.I don’t think that everyone in the family knew what happened to it…

    Like 3
  3. Jimmy

    My kid installs and repairs elevators in Chicago, I’m sending him the link that he needs this and then fully armor it to drive into the city to work.

    Like 10
    • Ike Onick

      Why “armor” it? Is Chicago dangerous?

      Like 4
      • AMCFAN

        Maye you live under a rock. An armored vehicle is needed in all big cities at the moment. Everyone out of work……getting paid with nothing else to do but jump on the band wagon. Everyone rob, loot and steal from those that had NOTHING to do with “current events” There I said it.

        Like 6
  4. Richard

    Top speed around 35 mph, I believe. Would be a good question to answer before you commit

    Like 4
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      The one that the sheep rancher near my place had had the speedo go up to 100 kph. You would be real lucky to see the needle to see 60, which is somewhere around 40 mph. I tuned up a later version with the six-cylinder diesel and when I was done, the customer reported just under 65 mph…

      Like 6
      • Richard

        Thanks. My bad. My total experience with them is a car tour a few years ago. The unimog was screaming at 35 mph. I thought it was going to blow up. I have experience with slow cars (Isetta, Messerschmitt, NSU, Nissan Figaro, Model T. Lot’s to consider regarding practical use.

        Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        The way I read it, the Unimog was designed not to get you there FAST, but to GET you there. Some had a PTO on both ends and even provisions for a 3 point hitch in case you wanted to do some farming while you were at it. Plow you fields in the morning and take your produce to the market in the afternoon. That was a Unimog’s purpose. Quite a following they had…

        Like 4
  5. Richard

    That should read cruising speed, not top speed

    Like 1
  6. TimM

    If these were a little faster it might make a good bike or ATV hauler!! But at top speed of 45 mph I can’t see a good use for it!!

    Like 1
  7. Bob S

    They are a great piece of equipment for plowing or off road use, but slow on the highway. Not really much different, with the exception of the higher CofG, than the 1960s Series II Land Rover. They are slow on the highway, but that is just because of the gearing. They are a little complex, but very well built, and in the hands of someone that is not abusive, they will work hard and last forever.
    I have always loved them, and the only reason I never purchased one, is that I was always able to buy a Land Rover or Toyota for much less, and although each of the other vehicles has their advantages, I preferred the Toyota because the running gear was virtually indestructible.
    My neighbour has an ex-military gas version of the Unimog, and it is a fun little truck. Another friend went on a different path, and swapped in a Ford 302 six banger. That is the truck I liked the most.

    Like 2
  8. local_sheriff

    Considering its army heritage it’s actually quite surprising to see it has a gasoline engine, especially since both 4- and 6 cyl diesels were already available. Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything but diesels in Unimogs.

    As for the lack of speed people complain about we must realize exactly what kind of vehicle it was supposed to be – Unimog stands for Universales Motorgerät ( universal enginepowered apparatus) indicating it’s designed more as an agricultural device rather than a truck. I was on holiday in the Mosel Valley in ’97, a massive wine district with multiple small farms outside every village. Apparently every farmer in the region owned identical Unimogs of this vintage – short WB, canvas top, PTO in the typical MB green hue – doubling as an agricultural tractor and the preferred go-to-town vehicle

    Like 4

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