Many companies in the automotive sector have to do during the war with the aircraft construction or at least with the production of aircraft drive trains and in particular Mercedes-Benz. Albert Friedrich is as an engineer for this area responsible and he can already calculate that, when the Second World War is lost for Germany, that the production of aircrafts will be forbidden by the Allies at first.
It gets even worse because the Morgenthau Plan of the Americans states to deindustrialize Germany and from this to make a pure agricultural land. Logical consequence of Mr. Friedrich, he constructed instead of airplane parts already during the war a useful vehicle for agriculture. The fact that this once incredibly many other areas would open up, at it he probably did not think.
First, he must deal with the difficulties after the war. There is in addition to the general shortages even economy of scarcity in the industrial sector. The factories of Mercedes-Benz are destroyed at high percentages. The remaining values threatens dismounting and transport in the countries of the occupiers. In the corporate management there is chaos, too.
Dr. Haspel is still boss, but he will be removed as part of the denazification from this
function for 3 years. He can not support the project of Mr. Friedrich and the new management is not to convince, because they has made bad experiences in this area. After all, he will receive from the military government green light for his work.
Wherein differs now the newly designed vehicle from the tractor? A tractor is usually built-on his actuator, thus has only suspended his complete drive as a chassis and at best the front axle. The vehicle later baptized Unimog has a ladder frame and a corresponding spring system for all four wheels.
Although the wheels are much smaller than the tractor, it comes through special gears in both rigid axles on at least a similar ground clearance. Typical for the Unimog is also a cargo area for things and maybe persons and also the opportunity to achieve a higher speed at first up to 50 km/h.
The former membership of Mr. Friedrich to Mercedes-Benz is proving to be favorable, although he soon cooperates with theErhard & Sons in Schwäbisch Gmünd, with him several with co-workers, there form an effective team for the construction, adaptation to the agricultural needs and for later testing within a test department.
But so far it is not yet. Initially there is a lack of money and investments. Although there is a great pressure to act fromindustrial sectors, which are forbidden directly after the war, but also some dissonance regarding the conditions. So quit again the aircraft manufacturer Heinkel after initial interest.
There remain the company Boehringer, whose production in engine construction is no longer possible and Friedrich's own money, to advance the matter. The middle of the year 1946 can be seen as the final date for the approximate determining of the onstruction and the name Unimog.
It follows the by no means easier procedure to procure material for the first prototype. Thereunder one may not imagine a finished vehicle, but only frame, drivetrain and underbody. The cab tarpaulin is slightly later finished and a fully enclosed cab will have to wait until 1953.
Again due to the never-ending relationship with Mercedes the vehicle is driven by a gasoline engine of the 170V. The absolutely necessary for this use diesel engine is still under development and is available just from 1947/48. So one fortunate circumstance leads to another, e.g. the currency reform in June 1948.
Very early the target group will be provided with information and demonstrations, to allay there the existing doubts. The vehicle is therefore provided soon with all sorts of extra equipment, of which in the beginning is probably the most spectacular the plow, the Unimog must master even under difficult conditions.
In this context it is interesting that the track gauge of the first Unimog is oriented to the plant rows of potato fields. Therefore it will be primarily thought at the agricultural use, particularly during the participation of Mr. Friedrich in the project. As this will change later on towards a military use, Friedrich bid farewell.
But so far it is not yet. First of all after a long period of testing, meanwhile with five prototypes and various demonstrations at agricultural organizations and public authorities, in 1949 the start of series production of the Unimog with a diesel engine of the 170V comes (but with 18 instead of 28 kW), six forward and two reverse gears, all-wheel drive, differential locks and rigid axles with coil springs and shock absorbers.
Meanwhile, there is thus a society with well-defined percentage and also a a purchasing and sales department, without their preliminary work would not have been saleable the pre-series of 600 units. It is also called the Böhringer-series, until 1951 the production is taken over of Mercedes Gaggenau.