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KÜHLmog

KÜHL's Eco Alpine Truck

The Challenge

Take the ultimate off road vehicle and restore it to redesign and integrate a military inspired body based on an original light reconnaissance vehicle that seamlessly looks as if it was factory OEM: Original Equipment Manufacture. With these inspirations of military vehicle functionality, KÜHL sought to take a 1972 UNIMOG to a new aesthetic height without compromise to a UNIMOG's orignal intended capabilities: The UNIMOG is a vehicle designed to accomplish almost any task. This is the meaning of its name, if you will excuse our German: UNIversal-MOtor-Gerät-- universal motor equipment. A UNIMOG drives itself to wherever and whatever the job requirement put before it. With all the attachments available to its front/rear power take offs (PTO) a Mog can operate any implement design from snow plows, hydraulic arms, harvesters, and forestry tools.

The machine needed to be able to power itself anywhere, anytime. The UNIMOG is capable of crossing over the roughest ground attempted by any four by four. It has unrivaled traction properties due to its flexible frame ensuring tire contact.

The UNIMOG is a 4x4 vehicle with exceptional ground clearance due to its unique portal gears. The cab design provides a driver with unprecedented visibility in order to navigate and to operate auxiliary equipment. The gearing assures success in any endeavor, climb, or crossing, including impressive abilities in fording water. Many alpine towns use the UNIMOG for an impressive list of the municipalities needs, not the least of which includes snowplowing clear the mountain roads. It is not an exaggeration to say that a UNIMOG is truly the quintessential mountain vehicle.

A KÜHL Styled Alpine Truck

"A happy fusion of mechanics and art which contributes to render life in our present time easier and more ennobled than at any previous time." The first step of an original design is a sketch, in ink or colored crayon, on a piece of nine-by-12 paper. Then to work: We stripped it down. Next, we welded and soldered into place the metal framework of the new cab fairing and the cube truck body. The pièce de résistance of the KÜHLMOG is the coachwork, but keep in mind... an automobile has many parts.

The Chassis

In restoring the KÜHL UNIMOG's drive train, we put it into working order with a specific modification. Unimog's do suffer one complaint from four by four and military vehicle enthusiasts: The upright driver position and awkward gear shift location.

Due to a production UNIMOG transmissions' placement towards the rear of the cab, changing gears is almost behind the seat! This is acceptable when driving in either a single gear for a long time (as when an implement might be used) but not for the needs of driving from mountain town to mountain town with long mountain passes. (It is also not convenient or comfortable for any one during off road challenges with their inherent gear shifting requirements.)

We used the MB 300E steering shaft and spider gears and seamlessly integrated this to the UNIMOG's spider gearing. Along with the accompanying 300E's steering wheel, we successfully moved the driver's position well back. The transmission stick shift now resides rightly in a favorable shifting position.

The Steering Wheel

The padded steering wheel comes from a Mercedes Benz 300E and links to the extended steering column from the MB 300E.

The Seats

The adjustable performance bucket seats provide needed comfort to drivers as tall as six feet four inches. The KÜHLMOG makes a driver comfortable and relaxed, keeping the driver from needless fatigue.

The Tires

KÜHL chose the Continental 365/80 R 20 MTB Radial for better transport and comfort and improved gas mileage due to their large diameter. Nevertheless, make no mistake; these tires are stock UNIMOG off-road tires on 9 x 22.5 steel wheels.

The Body

People think the body was factory spec! Some guess that Farina, Ghia, or another legendary coach-builder may have developed the body for KÜHL. No, it clearly demonstrates KÜHL's original and authentic aesthetic sensabilities, using an innovative design that is subtle yet clean, functional, and timeless.

"A car's elegance must be a symbol of nobility of soul. It must be the means of elevating human spirit, a conquest of heart and mind over matter."

For our inspiration, we looked to the Willys-Overland's Jeep and its iconic successor, the Toyota Land Cruiser. These vehicles and their military specifications provided ideas and direction we put to use in the KÜHLMOG's bodywork. Using the inspiration that the truck should disassemble to change its configuration, the KÜHLMOG's truck body comes in removable panels and doors. Though each part is custom made, this facilitates replacements due to damages incurred in off road endeavors, and allows it to transform into a flatbed configuration. It is also convenient when encountering obstacles where height or width considerations occur that the truck needs to surmount. In short, it is among the ultimate expeditionary 4x4's.

"We are going wherever the motors take us, and we are going as elegantly as we can."

The Cab

In order to extend the driver's position rearward and install performance bucket seats, we blew out the cab towards the back. To insure structural integrity we meticulously and painstakingly reinforced the roof and rear of the cab. In joining the rear of the cab to the truck body, a fairing designed to aerodynamically stream the wind and channel water away from the cab shows a fluent purity of line: the coolest curve on the KÜHLMOG. This fairing's gusseted joinery provides the flexibility between the cab and body necessary for the off road performance capabilities provided by the flexible frame.

The Body

Following military-type specifications for transformation, and interchangeability, we designed the truck with removable panels. First, the custom-made black aluminum roof rack and ladders disassemble. Next, the roof lifts off. With the doors lifted from their hinges, we may remove the front fairing attaching the cab to the truck body. The two piece seal becomes water tight when the body is together but easily comes apart with one piece staying with the truck cab, and the one with the body-fairing staying at behind. Thus, the KÜHLMOG transforms from a hard body truck into a pickup style truck capable of hauling larger payloads where there is no concern for inclement weather.

Mountain Men needed to be versatile: the ultimate Mountain Expeditionary 4X4 should adapt, transform and transcend all obstacles. Exhaustive detail work completes the KÜHLMOG: accessories, seating, instrumentation.

Custom built aluminum roof rack: heavy-duty roof rack with cargo basket and ladders. Adding capacity to carry enough cargo for any enterprise.

The Headlights

The OEM high headlights operate by flipping a fuse. The placement of them high above the everyday running lamps makes the use of a forward implement (such as a snowplow) operable at night by providing driving/operating lights when otherwise the implement obscures them.

The Power Take Off

The Power Take Off's in the front and rear as shown in this illustration can power a wide range of instruments manufactured by many companies.

The Fuel

We use biodiesel to preserve the alpine environment when we drive the KÜHLMOG. During the winter monthes we run a blend B-20 diesel and Bio-fuel and in the summer we switch to the highest Bio diesel blend available.

Bio Diesel

Bio diesel is available to us locally just down from KÜHL headquarters in SLC, UT.

Hydraulic Awning System

There is one other design on the KÜHLMOG you might be interested in: Our hydraulic awning system: it raises and lowers with the sun. We followed windsurfing kite designs.

Look for the KÜHLMOG in Utah at Wasatch mountain ski resorts, notably Snowbird (home of the KÜHL Haüs) and Alta, and at various events such as the Telluride Blue and Brews in Telluride, Colorado, or when the KÜHL bike team is racing. If you see us, stop by.

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