Fourteen years after he began trading, an agricultural and equestrian contractor is running his first Mercedes-Benz Unimog – but it’s unlikely to be his last.
Luke Finney is based in Leicestershire, and bought his Unimog from Dealer Arthur Ibbett, based in St Neots.
It is now hard at work undertaking groundworks and building contracts for farms and rural businesses, most of them within a 20-mile radius of home.
His U530 model is powered by a 7.7-litre six-cylinder engine which produces 220 kW (299 hp) and 1,200 Nm of torque, and drives through a 16-speed electro-pneumatic transmission.
Permanent all-wheel drive, impressive ground clearance, and uprated portal axles that have differential locks and offer extreme levels of articulation, all contribute to the truck’s cross-country capability.
Luke said: “Having experienced the vehicle’s amazing range of abilities, I can’t understand why anyone in my line of work would choose anything else. There’s no turning back now.”
Its specification includes the optional Central Tyre Inflation (CTI) system. This technology enables the driver quickly and easily, and without leaving the cab, to lower tyre pressures, thereby minimising damage to particularly soft ground.
VarioPilot, meanwhile, allows the steering wheel and instrument binnacle to be slid from one side of the cab to the other in minutes: an advantage, for example, when cutting verges.
The vehicle is also equipped with front and rear electrical and hydraulic connectors, a front implement plate, roof-mounted beacons and main beam lights, with others covering the rear working area, and cameras at both ends.
The U530’s ability to tow trailers at a gross train weights of up to 36 tonnes is another key attribute.
Luke’s Unimog is often paired with a tri-axle low-loader by Chieftan, which carries plant including his Takeuchi excavator, or a Broughan dump trailer.
He said: “It can tow any equipment I need to move around, while its own load bed with dropsides is ideal for carrying tools and other gear.
"Crucially, as well as being highly capable on any off-road terrain I need to cross, my truck is equally happy on the tarmac at speeds of up to 56 mph, where it’s far more fuel-efficient than an agricultural tractor.”
Luke added: “The customer service from Arthur Ibbett has been excellent as well. I contacted the Dealer initially, because I was looking for a used model.
"However, when Tim Ibbett told me he had this new vehicle available, with a specification that was perfect for my needs, I jumped at it.
“Tim brought the truck over to show me, and I didn’t want to let him take it back! He also put together a five-year extended warranty package that was reasonably priced.”
The agricultural contractor employs four full-time operatives and provides work for a number of local sub-contractors too.
Since he established his business in 2006, Luke has focused on providing a service for high-end customers – and his choice of tools for the job reflects this.
“All my equipment is the best available, and the Unimog is definitely a case in point,” he added. “The Mercedes-Benz brand image reflects perfectly the premium service that I provide to our customers.”
All Unimogs have 4x4 chassis with single rear wheels, while gross weights vary from 7.5 to 16.5 tonnes.
There are two core variants: an implement carrier with front, side and rear attachment points, and an ultra-high mobility truck with extreme torsional flexibility, which can accommodate a range of bodies. Both are adaptable to a variety of roles.