The decision was made – we going for a Unimog from the 435 seriers. Within the price range of 8,000 to 12,000 EUR, most trucks had a wheelbase of 3250 mm, but there were some rare ones with 3700 mm. All of them had the OM352 engine, but while the ex-army U1300L only had 130 HP, the U1700L had turbocharger and 168 HP. The U1350 with 3700mm wheel base and the newer OM366 engine was sadly outside the budget, but would have made an excellent base vehicle it we could only afford it.
While most ex-army U1300L have standard 6-bolt axles, which are known for expensive breakdowns due to oil evacuating out of the portal gears, the U1700L have reinforced heavy duty axles with larger oil reservoir, and thus does not experience the same problems. The downside of the heavy duty U1700L is that the added weight and stronger suspension make it less capable in off-road situations compared to the lighter and more flexible U1300L.
For some months we looked all over Europe for used Unimogs within our price range, and even made several trips to Denmark and Germany for inspection and test driving some of the top candidates. After a lot of consideration we arrvied to the conclution that the heavy duty U1700L would be the right Unimog for us, as we didn’t consider the limitation in off-road capability as a big setback compared to the possibly expensive gear failures on the more nimble U1300L.
Eventually, we found a promising U1700L from 1980, with wheelbase of 3250 mm, 168 HP, reinforced axles, and a big functioning Atlas hydraulic crane mounted on the support frame. It did look a bit worn-out and was in desperate need of some caring hands, but otherwise it was well functioning, and the seller even promised that it would receive a new EU-inspection before it was passed on to new owners!
After inspecting the Unimog at the dealer, somewhere in the Bavarian Alps, the deal was made. Money and papers switched owners, and suddenly we were proud owners of a 35 year old German work horse!