If the end of the world came today and we had to pick a vehicle to brave the post-apocalyptic world of tomorrow, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog is close to the top of a very short list. Having proven itself through use in military, agricultural, commercial and even racing applications, the Unimog remains one of the most capable vehicles on the planet even 60 years after its introduction. In those 60 years of production, the Unimog has gone through many design changes and has spawned dozens of variations, further lending to the vehicle's versatility. To celebrate the Unimog's 60th birthday, Mercedes-Benz is hosting the largest gathering of current and historic Unimog vehicles at the vehicle's birthplace, the site of the first Unimog plant in Gaggenau, Germany.
Given the name "Universal-Motor-Gerät" in 1951, meaning universal motor machine in German, the name has since been shortened to just "Unimog." While the vehicle has seen a long career of service in commercial, military and agricultural use, the Unimog is also enjoyed and celebrated by enthusiasts around the world for its off-road capabilities and overall ruggedness. Seeing as the Unimog has a relatively large fan base, it makes sense that Mercedes would open up the event to enthusiast participation. Expected to attend are 60 classic Unimog owners, taking part in a rally that spans from the Unimog's birthplace to the plant where it's currently built in Wörth, Germany.
Beginning Saturday, June 4 at the Unimog Museum, located on the site of the original plant in Gaggenau, rally participants will make the 25-mile pilgrimage to the current Unimog plant in Wörth. Once there, a collection of historic vehicles will be put on display, followed by a driving demonstration on an off-road course. Owners will then be invited to tackle the course with their vintage Unimogs for the "Old against New" challenge, which aims to demonstrate versatility across all models, both past and present. Finally, participants will get the opportunity to tour the plant where new Unimogs are produced.
The following day, the Unimog Museum will host activities open to the public, including demonstrations, book signings and presentations by specialists, just to name a few. Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts are invited to display their collections of Mercedes memorabilia and scale models, while the museum itself will exhibit its collection of historic vehicles.
Although the design has gone through a number of revisions, the philosophy of the Unimog remains unchanged. As long as the Unimog retains its capabilities, simplicity of design and sheer utility, we see no reason why it won't enjoy another next 60 years of production.