We’re used to seeing ads touting vintage Chevy or Ford pickups still in use decades after they first hit the road, but this example takes the cake:A 57-year-old Mercedes-Benz Unimog -- built in the second year of production -- is still regularly used as a commercial vehicle in Germany.
<;P class=MsoNormal>Production of the Unimog -- essentially a mixture of truck and tractor -- began in Gaggenau, Germany, in January 1951; this first-generation model (U-2010) rolled off the line in the December of 1952. Its original owner was a trout farmer, who first registered the vehicle in the January of the next year.
<;P class=MsoNormal>Since then, the ‘Mog has changed hands only twice -- once to a gentleman who used it largely as a hunting vehicle, and once to its current owner, Christof Kammerdiener. Kammerdiener, who owns his own construction firm, purchased the Unimog 20 years ago and has only performed light maintenance tasks (e.g. new tires, touch-up paint) ever since. The truck is still registered as a commercial vehicle, and spends approximately 300 hours annually as a street sweeper at various construction jobs.
<;P class=MsoNormal>The first-generation Unimog made use of a 1.7-liter diesel I-4 from Mercedes-Benz’s passenger car portfolio, but was restricted to 25 hp, nearly half of its original output. At the time, engineers believed the reduced power would help increase the engine’s operating life, and if Kammerdiener’s example is any indication, their hypothesis was right on the money.