With an extensive history dating back to 1946, the Mercedes-Benz Unimog is seen by many as the world’s best off-road vehicle. It was conceived by German engineer Albert as a multi-purpose vehicle that can go anywhere and do anything.
Born in an era when Germany was recovering after WWII, the Unimog was envisioned as a truck that could be driven hard on any terrain in order to serve in both agricultural and industrial tasks. Throughout the years, it has served successfully in a wide variety of applications, including fire trucks, military vehicles, towing machines, road maintenance, and more. And the original off-road capabilities and drive-hard principles are still obvious in today’s production Unimog.
The first Unimog models were built with portal axles to provide it that extra ground clearance, which, combined with a high ramp angle, a powerful Mercedes engine, and coil-sprung suspension front and back, makes the vehicle a highly-capable mechanical ox. And that is the formula Mercedes is still using to this day.
The Unimog 404 variant was the most successful model, with over 64,000 units produced, but the Unimog 435 introduced in 1974, also known as the U1300L, was equally popular. One of its strongest points was its adaptability, offering a wide range of body configurations and specialized equipment options.
Due to its high versatility and excellent trail capabilities, the off-roader also lands itself well for camper conversions, as proved by this 1987 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U1300L that has been turned into a potent overland camper suitable for expedition-style trips.
This professionally-built overlander is the work of Wabi-Sabi Overland and is now being offered for sale out of Portland, Oregon. It is finished in a green body and is a fully self-contained home on wheels that includes everything one needs for a pleasant experience on the road.
The camper cabin, mounted on a modified Mercedes-Benz subframe, is accessible from the cab, but there is also a side ladder that allows easy entry and exit. Though the exterior looks rugged and impersonal, the interior is surprisingly inviting and comfy. The camper is equipped with its own kitchenette, dining area, sleeping space, and bathroom, so prolonged trips off the grid to almost any corner of the world are possible with this motorhome.
The interior combines a white and blue color palette with natural wood for the countertop and dinette, and despite the compact footprint, it does not feel cramped at all. Decently-sized double-glazed windows on the sides and in the sleeping area allow natural light to come in and also help optimize ventilation.
The small kitchenette inside the camper is equipped with a dual gas burner stovetop, a refrigerator, and a sink with running water. The counter space is kind of limited, but not many people plan to cook complicated meals on their exploration trips, so it should suffice for basic meal prep. Plenty of cupboard and storage space is available throughout the mobile home.
The dinette combines natural wood with blue upholstery and offers seating for four, so even though the camper is suitable for a couple, there is space to have friends over for a nice dinner or a board game.
The bathroom is not something to write home about, but it does include a toilet and a shower, plus additional storage space.
The sleeping area is fitted with a two-people mattress and some overhead storage units. It looks like a comfortable and intimate space to rest your bones after exploring the great outdoors.
Inside the vehicle’s cab, you will find two air suspension seats upholstered in black cloth. There is sound-deadening material throughout the cab, as well as sound-deadening floor mats. The rear panel has been modified to provide access to the living quarters.
The vehicle is powered by a 6.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six engine paired with an eight-speed manual transmission, a dual-range transfer case and, obviously, the famous portal axles front and back with locking differentials. It also has a 600-watt solar panel system on the roof to feed all the electricals and a Planar 2D diesel air heater that comes in handy when traveling to areas with cooler climate. The Unimog camper also comes with a 30-gallon freshwater tank and a 16-gallon gray water tank, as well as a General Ecology water filtration system.
Additional handy equipment when going on exploration trips off the beaten path include a spare wheel and tire and Marston Mat sand ladders attached at the back. Roof racks with ladders, an ARB awning on one side, a rearview camera system, four under-mounted steel storage lockers, a roof turret hatch, and a front winch are also part of the package.
Wabi-Sabi Overland turned this 1987 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U1300L into an off-grid camper in 2017, and the motorhome was acquired by its current owner in 2019. It is now up for auction with only one day left to bid and is offered with recent service records, a full set of shop manuals, and a clean Carfax report. Considering Unimogs are a rare sight in North America, the future owner will surely turn some heads with this build.