Words and pictures by Grant Spolander
A Unimog really is the ultimate 4×4 – no question about it. The new model, the U4000, boasts 500 mm of ground clearance, portal axles front and rear, two PTOs (power take off points), super low-range gearing, coil springs all-round, excellent axle articulation, thrust tubes protecting the prop shafts, diff-locks front and rear, phenomenal clearance angles, and the ability to inflate / deflate its tyres while on the move.
Too bad most of us aren’t allowed to drive them. Nope, you need a Code 10 licence. Get over that hurdle and then you’ll need to spec an outsize
garage / driveway to house this overgrown contraption. But the biggest problem I have with high-and-mighty Unimog drivers – aka moggers – is that they’re all bloody nice people, which makes the matter of disliking them
rather difficult for jealous folk like me.I’ve met the Unimog club members twice now; the rst time was last year when the club was formalised, and again recently when I joined them for their annual get-together. e gathering took place on 17 March this year at De Wildt 4×4 where 14 Unimogs set up camp for the night. But before that, all 49 participants (drivers and their families) went on a game drive on the trail’s challenging track.
Well, there’re wasn’t much the Unimogs couldn’t do… come to think of it, there wasn’t anything the mogs couldn’t do, but it was great to watch the trucks in action nonetheless. For me, the most amazing thing about these 4x4s is the fact that they’ve remained largely unchanged for the last 60 years or so – they were highly capable then and they’re highly capable now.
A er cruising around De Wildt 4×4 for a couple of hours we headed back to camp for a braai and a long chat about all things Unimog … and a wee bit about lesser 4x4s too. I asked Ferdi De Beer, the club’s chairman, what the club has to o er its members. Simply put, it’s all about information. Of course, you get to enjoy the social side of things, but the primary bene t is the ability to share technical information, experience and spares with other club members.
Last year the club had 17 a liated members, now has 35 and counting. The club reckons that there are 100 Unimogs in SA, a number that includes old mogs as well as the new models currently on sale. Despite the vehicles they own, moggers are no di erent to you and me – they love 4x4s and all things 4×4 related. Heck, most of them drive ‘normal’ 4x4s on a daily basis, but in a mogger’s mind there’s no place for restrictions, reservations or limitations – in this land of locked lorries a single phrase prevails: “Bigger is better.” Can’t say I disagree…