Ford Every Stream: 1973 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 406

Not all off-roaders are created equal. The Unimog has a strange name, but it doesn’t let that fact get in the way of it climbing every mountain and fording every stream (I can feel a song coming on!). Equally at home on rough terrain, soft sand, and, it appears, water, they have developed a solid reputation for being virtually unstoppable. This 1973 Unimog 406 is a tidy vehicle that has a lot to offer its next owner. It seems to be in excellent condition and could be perfect for the enthusiast who craves a quirky classic that will take them beyond where a regular 4×4 will go. Located in Coloma, Michigan, you will find the Unimog listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $44,000, although it appears that he will consider offers.

The Unimog 406 is a two-seater with many ingenious design features. The owner has fitted this one with a front-mounted winch, but if you take that out of the equation, you can’t help but be struck by how short the front and rear overhangs are. This gives it a climbing and departure angle far beyond what most off-roaders offer, allowing it to climb in and out of some steep terrain with ease. This one obviously sees service on beaches and in saltwater, but it doesn’t seem that it has suffered unduly because of this. The body looks clean, and there’s no evidence of rust on the frame. The nature of the vehicle’s construction makes the vehicle’s underside, including the floors and frame, easy to clean. That means that if the sand and salt are rinsed away promptly, rust should never be a problem. The owner has kept it in a climate-controlled garage since 2000, which will undoubtedly help its cause. The paint presents well, and the panels look straight. In addition to the winch, the Unimog is also equipped with front and rear PTOs, which further adds to its versatility. The enormous wheels and tires should allow it to effortlessly cross soft surfaces like sand, although the owner includes a second set of wheels and tractor tires if the buyer suddenly hears Mount Everest beckoning.

We don’t get a close look at this Unimog’s motor, but if it is original, it should be equipped with a 5.67-liter six-cylinder diesel engine that produces 83hp and 199 ft/lbs of torque. Neither figure sounds that impressive, but thanks to a sophisticated transmission arrangement, it is sufficient to allow the vehicle to crawl over some pretty harsh territory. You gain an insight into the vehicle’s gearing when you learn that its top speed is under 50mph. It seems that this Unimog is in sound mechanical health. The owner doesn’t report any issues, and the photos suggest that it is ready to tackle whatever the buyer throws at it.

Life inside a Unimog is not what you would call luxurious. In keeping with the Mercedes design brief, interior trim needed to be waterproof and hard-wearing. Therefore, you won’t find any cloth seat upholstery, carpet, or anything that isn’t waterproof. The vinyl covering the seats is in good order and should be quite comfortable off the beaten track. The painted surfaces look reasonable for a vehicle of this type. The buyer might consider repainting some of the hard surfaces, as they are showing their age. However, it is not something that would demand immediate attention. If you’re looking for power windows, a stereo, or air conditioning, you’ve come to the wrong place.

This photo sums up the ability of the Unimog 406 better than most. Any vehicle that can tow a boat this large across soft sand is one to be reckoned with when the going gets tough. This is not a classic that would serve as a cross-country tourer, but not only would it get you into locations that others can’t, it’s a safe bet that it would also get you back out of those spots. Placing a value on this one is pretty tricky due to its relative rarity. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the owner achieves the BIN before the listing ends.


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  1. alphasud Member

    Personally I would think it’s going to take the right person to purchase this for the asking price. I would prefer an enclosed cab where I live and the low top speed is going to keep this an off road vehicle. Huge following for Unimog trucks and they can be equipped for just about any task. Mercedes designed the frame to actually twist to aid in off road articulation. In a lot of ways a better vehicle than the Hummer H1

    Like 10
  2. Raoul-F Raoul-F Member

    UNIversal-MOtor-Gerät…. Universal ( multi purpose) motor device ( machine, apparatus)…

    Like 7
  3. Donnie

    It’s fjord a stream! But super cool either way :)

    Like 2
    • BravoCharleyWindsor

      Sorry to seem like I’m nitpicking but one does ford a stream. A fjord is a body of water (such as a stream).

      Which brings me to my real purpose for this post of saying that one could “ford a fjord”. Perhaps even in a Ford…affordably…

      Ok, I’ll go back under my rock now…

      Like 12
      • Shaun Martin

        In England (English) it’s ford a stream, in fact you will often see the (triangular) road sign for it in the country lanes over here.

  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I’ve only seen one once in person, and it was on display at a show. I know it’s not a speed demon, but I’d sure love to have the chance to try one out some time if for no other reason than to say I had.
    Don’t have a use for one, but I love the character of it.

    Like 2
  5. Chunk

    I hate to break it to you, author, but the beaches in Michigan are fresh-water. Those beaches are found on the shores of Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and, well… MICHIGAN. No salt there.

    Like 4
  6. local_sheriff

    Though I’ll admit the scenery in the background may look coastal, I’m just curious when the waters in the Michigan area became salty?

    Like 7
  7. Malcolm Boyes

    Just back from that are..that is definitely Lake Michigan and definitely not salty.

    Like 4
  8. Howie Mueler

    Yes super cool, if you think this is pricey, take a look at the sellers other ads for furniture.

    Like 2
  9. kaf

    Many years ago Car and Driver magazine did an amusing write up on these.

    The most memorable part was the guy couldn’t get it to move–when he read the operators manual, he discovered he had it in super-duper low and it was, indeed, moving but at .49 mph or something, and he just couldn’t tell.

    Like 5
  10. Martin Horrocks

    Sounds expensive, but you never know….

  11. BR

    Kinda reminds me of my M37, although not in the same league.

    • HpLisa

      I had an m37 and I am sure it would go places the unimog wouldn’t. Just like the Jeep could go places the M37 and unimog couldn’t.

  12. Ward William

    This is a steal at this price. Look what it comes with. This from the Ebay description: “WITH WENCH ON THE FRONT.” What’s not to like. ;-)

    Like 1
  13. Thom Griffin

    As I recall, these were designed to be forestry vehicles. They could even be equipped with an agricultural three point hitch on the back.

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