Mercedes-Benz Unimog conquers the world

Mercedes-Benz Unimog conquers the world

When Peter and Jennifer Glas were unable to completely rebuild their mobile home in time for their travelling honeymoon around the world, they started looking for an affordable and robust solution. The answer to their problem came in the form of a 1986 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 1300 L.

The “Glaarkshouse” has been on the road with its owners Jennifer (36) and Peter Glas (41) on a protracted honeymoon trip, since April 2013. The couple decided that if a vehicle was to take them to the roof of the world, it had to be a Unimog and duly opted for a Unimog U 1300 L (model series 435) dating from 1986.

They combined their surnames Glas and Parks (which is Jennifer’s maiden name) and came up with the name “Glaarkshouse” for their trusty new home on wheels. The grand trip began in April 2013, leading through south-eastern Europe and the frequently rough terrain of the Anatolian highlands. No trail was too rocky, no river too deep and no track to steep. After this initial minor test in Turkey, the journey continued on into Iran.

The sand dunes in the Dasht-e-Kavier desert posed a somewhat greater challenge. But much more impressive, than the ease with which the 435-series Unimog cruised through sand and rock, were the shining eyes of the Iranians at the strange sight of the Unimog. There were countless occasions on which Mercedes-Benz fans took the opportunity to scrutinise the vehicle from below and take a peak into the engine compartment.

Mercedes-Benz Unimog conquers the worldAfter spending a number of unforgettable weeks in Persia, the couple finally had a chance to really put their four-wheeled travelling companion through its paces in Oman. Here again, no dune was too steep, no desert too vast and no beach too far. The desert-savvy Omanis were also delighted to encounter the Unimog – which even pulled a number of stranded sports utility vehicles out of the sand.

But what makes the Mercedes-Benz Unimog so perfect for this kind of expedition? Unimogs have very high ground clearance; made possible by portal gears that allow the axles and transmission to be higher than the centre of the tyres. Unimogs also feature a flexible frame that allows the tyres a wide range of vertical movement to allow the truck to comfortably drive over extremely uneven terrain, even boulders of one metre in height. They are also equipped with high-visibility driving cabs to enable the operator to see the terrain and more easily manipulate mounted tools.

With a full tank of 540 litres of diesel and 180 litres of fresh water on board, the Unimog weighs around seven tonnes and, thanks to differential locks and portal axles, it remains safe and astoundingly light-footed in all situations to this day. The Unimog’s incomparable reliability, the size of the tanks, the solar power supply and a small sanitary area make the “Glaarkshouse” a genuine round-the-world trip mobile home, which also lends itself to self-sufficient trips over several days in rough terrain far away from any form of infrastructure.

The globetrotters are currently in India, where the Unimog’s seat height is proving particularly advantageous in offering good visibility in the bustling traffic on India’s roads. The couple will soon be moving on to Nepal, Tibet, China and Mongolia. As yet, no end is in sight on this thrilling adventure, but we will keep you updated on their exciting journey.

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Key players in the FOCUS editor’s quest to go trucking! From left: Janke van Jaarsveld (IDes Driving Academy), Alexander Taftman (Scania), Charleen Clarke (FOCUS), John Nelson (Scania) and Shane September (Scania).
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