Unimog Donald was established in 2006 by Donald Verdonk. Through his hobby, he developed an interest in tinkering with Unimogs. He was so good at it that more and more Unimog owners started asking Donald for help. This resulted in him establishing his own business, Unimog Donald. Since then, his Unimog repair services have increased steadily; Unimog has its own workshop at the Engelenburgstraat in Twello, and the company has six employees.
The name Unimog is short for Universal Motor Gerät, a small truck produced by Mercedes Benz. The designs date back to just after the Second World War. The Unimog was initially meant as a slow-moving agricultural vehicle for working the land and transporting and powering farming equipment, but it could also be used as a car. It has a very tall ride height and a flexible frame, making it suitable for highly rugged terrain. That’s why Unimogs are so popular with fire brigades, forestry departments and armed forces. Unimogs are also used for working in mountainous areas and for ploughing snow (with a snow plough).
Today, the agricultural segment has been phased out and Unimogs today are solely built for municipal services (the ‘Kommunal’) and as an expedition vehicle (‘UNICAT’) UNICAT is, thanks to its participation in the Paris – Dakar rally, highly popular with adventurous travellers looking to travel the world in a mobile home. Many of these purchased vehicles eventually end up with the Unimog Donald team. The owners come with all sorts of requests ranging from modifications to improve driving comfort to complete make-overs. Donald: ‘We service dozens of Unimogs every year, and no two requests are the same. It is all bespoke work. Requests can include anything from different chairs, a lighter transmission, stainless steel exhausts or an extra fuel tank to a complete chassis revision with an entirely new mobile home built on top.’
Donald and his team also buy up used Unimogs that they then restore and resell on the market. About 80% of these vehicles are exported abroad. Donald usually delivers the Unimogs personally to his customers in Europe. Donald: ‘This is the best part of our work. Our team puts their heart and soul into restoring and modifying Unimogs, which can sometimes take up to a year. Seeing how much pleasure our customers take in driving their fully customised Unimog is priceless.’
Unimog Donald | Donald Verdonk