Unimog off road 404 and 406

 

Unimog model designations can be quite daunting, especially for the uninitiated. Each Unimog has two different types of designations: the model number designation and the sales designation. Sometimes people refer to the sales designation while other times the model number maybe referred to.

The sales designation starts with a “U” which indicates it is a Unimog. The U is followed by a number which loosely indicates the horsepower. For example, a U1100 is a Unimog with 110hp (an extra 0 is usually added to the designation). In addition the sales designation may be followed by a letter such a T (traction head), L (LKW/lorry), or S (quick).

The sales designations are not very descriptive and not even very indicative of the horsepower or chassis configuration. For example, there are U1100’s with 90hp. Furthermore earlier Unimogs such as the 401, 411 and 404 did not use this type sales designation until later in their production. The 404 sales designation is usually referred to as the “Unimog S” although later in its life it had a sales designations such as U60/404, U82/404, U110/404 depending on engine and cab specifications.

As a result, the sales designation has to be looked at as a very general description and one that has a lot of variation. So, for example, U1300 can actually refer to a short, medium or long wheelbase vehicle with 130hp or 170hp and with two or four doors. All U1300’s will have similar cabs and will have more in common with each other than say a U900, but they will not all be the same vehicle and can actually be very different.

In addition to the sales designation, each Unimog has a model number designation. This is a much more descriptive designation and is actually part of the VIN of each Unimog. Except for the very early models, this is a three digit number which starts with a “4”, such as 404, 406,416 etc. This three digit number is followed by a period and referenced with another three digit number (that usually starts with a “1”) such as “115.” These six digits are in turn followed by even more digits which give even more specific details of the vehicle. The entire series of numbers makes up the VIN. It is the first six numbers however that reveals the most about the Unimog.

The first three digits refers to the type. Unimogs that are in the same type group will all be similar. This is comparable, for example, with the Defender line of Land Rovers or the Wrangler line of Jeeps. A Wrangler can have a wide range of engines, gearboxes and options just as a a Defender can have different wheelbases, can be a hard or soft top and can also have different engines etc. However, you would not confuse a Defender with a Discovery or a Wrangler with a Grand Cherokee. So within any given Unimog type, there may be soft tops, hard tops; short or long wheelbases; two or four doors; and different engine and drivetrain options but overall they are very similar.

The next three digits refer the specific configuration of the chassis, cab and engine. For example, 435.115 refers to a U1300 which has a 130hp normally aspirated engine. 435.111, on the other hand, refers to a U1700 which has a 170hp turbocharged engine. Both these Unimogs could be loosely referred to as 435’s although they have different sales designations and have different specifications.

Finally, in addition to the sales and model designations, there is sometimes reference to the term “DoKa.” This is short for “Dobbel Kabine” which means double cab in German. Many Unimog configurations were made as DoKa although they are much less common than the two door cabin configurations.

This is just a general overview and as with any detailed classification system, there are exceptions to the rule. Furthermore the classification system has changed over the years so what applies to one model made in the 60’s may not apply in the 80’s. For example U900 can refer to a 417 type in addition to a 406 type and a U1300 could be a 425 in addition to a 435. However what is most important, is to get an idea of each general model range in terms of both its sales and model designation before trying to figure out all the exceptions and oddball variations.

So, to take a few general examples of Unimog types one might encounter in the USA:

Sales designation Model designation
Unimog S (U82) 404.1xx
Unimog S (U110) 404.0xx
U600 421.xxx
U800 403.xxx
U900 406.xxx
U1100 416.xxx
U1300 435.xxx (usually .115)
U1700 435.xxx (usually .111)

This website primarily covers the Unimogs generally referred to as the Unimog S/404, the U900/406, the U1100/416 and the U1300/435 because these are the most practical and versatile models available in the USA.