The Mercedes-Benz Unimog truck is one of the world’s most capable off-roaders, as it is, off-the-shelf and with no modifications. Daimler Benz took over production of the Unimog in 1951, five years after the first prototype had been designed by Albert Friedrich, and built by Erhard und Söhne (Erhard and Sons) in the southern German town of Schwäbisch Gmünd. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Mercedes’ fruitful relationship with the Unimog, the company have developed a radical concept vehicle. And when I say radical, I mean mental.
The concept’s name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. In fact the name “60 Years Mercedes-Benz Unimog” is more of a statement than a title. Putting that aside, the 60 Years Mercedes-Benz Unimog concept is a jaw dropping machine. Based on a Unimog U 5000 chassis, the concept was developed through a joint effort between the Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks (MBS) division, the Daimler commercial vehicle designers in Sindelfingen and an unnamed model designing partner.
The concept’s open air seating arrangement was inspired by the open cab of the very first Mercedes-Benz Unimogs. Bertrand Janssen from the Daimler department for commercial vehicle design said of the 60 Years Mercedes Benz Unimog: “We have taken the Unimog-DNA with its unique concept features to 100 percent into consideration when creating this design concept.”
The color combination of striking green bodywork, and sharply contrasting bright red springs, was inspired by the bright colors of poison dart frogs. The symbolism isn’t just skin deep though, as the designers point out the frogs, just like the Unimog, are extremely mobile on both land and through water.
The compact headlights act like spotlights by providing tightly focused beams of light. The clearly visible, arching lines of the frame have been finished with high-grade trims cut from aluminium blocks. The four massive wheels make a strong off-road statement, although the five spoke aluminium adornments could be considered to be the worlds largest, and probably most expensive wheel covers – as they’re essentially just for show.
Mercedes-Benz have pointed out that while the 60 Years Mercedes-Benz Unimog concept isn’t going to spawn any closely related production model, some of its design details may make it into their existing range in the future. Hopefully that doesn’t mean Unimog is going to sell out and go all vain and blingy. As a cool looking concept the 60 Years Mercedes-Benz Unimog is great. As a rough and ready, go-anywhere off-roader it’s not so great.